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Jumbo's captaincy started last spring

by Dan Rosen / NHL.com
VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Todd McLellan gave a bit of an explanation as to why Joe Thornton was named the Sharks' captain prior to this season when he was asked a question about Jumbo Joe on Monday.

Here is what he had to say:

"I thought last year he showed real good signs of growth, the ability to lead the team. As a result when we were looking at our vacant captaincy, he proved to us in the playoffs last year that he was a real good candidate. We picked him and throughout the year he's had an excellent season. Many will say his numbers are down, which they obviously are, but ultimately I think the results are up when you look at Jumbo's play. That may sound strange, but I truly believe he's come a long way. His leadership ability in the locker room is very strong. I think he does it as much by example now on the ice as he does it verbally in the locker room, so he's come a long, long way."

Thornton had a goal and an assist in Game 1 and now has 13 points in 14 playoff games this season. He finished the regular season with 70 points in 80 games, his lowest offensive output since he had 68 points in 2001-02 with the Bruins.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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