VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Joe Thornton participated fully during the San Jose Sharks' morning skate here at Rogers Arena on Tuesday. Afterward, he kept his answers about his potentially injured shoulder far more brief.
How do you feel out there?
"I'm fine," Thornton said.
Any limited mobility?
"Nope. One-hundred percent," he replied.
Any doubt you'd be able to play in Game 5 against the Canucks?
"None," he fired back.
Thornton's reputation is that of a deft passer, but he clearly wasn't putting everything into his shots during Tuesday's drills. There was no grimacing in pain but no taking it easy, though, and coach Todd McLellan said he was surprised by the attention Thornton's injury was getting the past two days.
"He looked real good out there and he will be on the ice," McLellan said. "He's played extremely well in the playoffs. He's our leader. I think we're going a little overboard as far as him being injured. I'll leave it at that."
Only Thornton knows exactly how he feels entering Game 5 Tuesday (9 p.m. ET, Versus, CBC, RDS), but there's no doubt he wasn't feeling great after Vancouver's Raffi Torres knocked him out of Game 4 with a shoulder-to-shoulder hit during the third period. Thornton did not play the final 10 minutes of the 4-2 loss that left the Sharks in a 3-1 series hole, and he did not participate in the team's optional practice the following day.
Whether Thornton's shoulder barely is in the socket or just a little sore, any notion of an injury could be added incentive to finish checks. Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa, whose 60 hits during the playoffs are second in the League, said he'd be looking to hit Thornton no matter what.
"I don't think we really focus on his shoulder too much," Bieksa said. "He's a pretty hard guy to hit as it is, pretty slippery. If I get a chance to put him through the boards, I do that regardless if he has a sore shoulder or not."
Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle agreed that if he was wearing the blue and green, he'd be looking to put a shoulder into Thornton if given the chance.
"Yes. For sure," Boyle said. "He's one of the top guys in the League. Yeah, any time there's somebody that's hurting a little bit, you want to try to be a little extra physical and I'm sure they will be. "
If anything, Thornton's presence will give a lift to a Sharks team that needs something positive on which to build as elimination looms just one loss away.
"If there was any possible way to play, he would," Clowe said. "Seeing him yesterday and talking to him today, I knew he'd be out there. He said he felt good. It's nice to see him not only out there, but feeling good."
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