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Thornton says Sharks will have '23 captains:' report

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Joe Thornton is no longer captain of the San Jose Sharks, but said he will be one of many.

"We're going to have to have 23 captains on the team this year. It doesn't matter who has it or who doesn't have it. We all have to come together and be leaders," Thornton told the San Jose Mercury News on Wednesday. "It's up to Todd and Doug who they pick and we'll end up supporting whoever they choose as captain."

Sharks coach Todd McLellan and general manager Doug Wilson stripped Thornton of the captaincy on Aug. 20, about four months after San Jose blew a 3-0 lead to the Los Angeles Kings and lost its Western Conference First Round series in seven games.

Thornton said he did not plan to alter his approach after the demotion.

"You've just got to compete hard every day and I've always done that," the 35-year-old center told reporter David Pollak. "I'm not changing a thing."

Thornton said he and his teammates went to Lake Tahoe, Nevada, in early September to bond in advance of the start of training camp Thursday. McLellan said he will name the next captain (and alternate captains) based on how the players conduct themselves over the next three weeks.

The roster that lost to Los Angeles in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is virtually the same one that will be in camp, with defenseman Dan Boyle the biggest exception. Boyle signed with the New York Rangers as a free agent.

Pollak wrote that the trip was used to address problems that arose in the locker room at the end of the season.

"We've always had a good group of guys," Thornton said, "but the way we lost last year, everybody was kind of bitter at the end of the year. That's just competitors being upset when you lose like that."

San Jose opens the 2014-15 NHL season Oct. 8 at Los Angeles.

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