Joe Thornton is one happy camper and also one happy captain. Once a captain in Boston, the mantel has now been passed to him in San Jose.
“I want to be captain, I feel like I am the captain of this team,” said Thornton. “The players voted and management and everybody had a say and they chose me. I think I’m ready for it. There are only 30 in the league, so it is a huge honor.”
The players had a major role in the decision making process and are excited about Thornton being awarded the mark of respect.
“He is an elite hockey player,” said Devin Setoguchi. “The guys in here respect him a lot for what he does every night. He’s a well respected person on and off the ice.”
“He is the face of the franchise and he has been since he got here,” said Boyle. “He won’t do it alone. We have a leadership group and we’ll all make sure we’re pointed in the right direction.”
Marleau, who knows the captain’s tasks first hand likes what Thornton will bring to the table.
“Joe has a way with people and is always positive,” said Marleau. “He touches everybody in the room in a different way. He makes everybody in the room feel included and that is the uniqueness he brings.”
“You could say as Joe goes, we go as a team,” said Clowe. “Joe loves the game. When you get inside the dressing room and see him on the ice and on the bench, he’s got a lot of fire. He doesn’t like to lose. He loves to win and he’s got a lot of drive. We’re super excited for him.”
Thornton says the captain responsibilities will depend on the situation.
“When something needs to be said, you say it,” said Thornton. “You work hard each and every day on and off the ice. The captain is the head of the team and the vocal leader of the team. I like to keep it light and easy in the lockerroom, but once we get out on the ice, there is a serious part. I do play with some passion on the ice.”
Thornton will rely on his alternate captains and others in the room to help guide the way.
“We have a leadership group and five or six guys that have a say in what goes on in the lockerrrom,” said Thornton. “
Thornton has also grown into the role quite extensively since he held the honor in Boston.
“I think the last time, I was just young,” said Thornton. “I was a shy kid and really didn’t know how to express myself. Now I’m a man at 31 years old. I’m a much different person than I was when I was 23 years old.”
There won’t be a dramatic change from the Thornton who wore the A to the Thornton who will wear the C.
“I’m going to be the same guy,” Thornton. “That is why they chose (me). I don’t think it would be right for me to change as a person.”
ALTERNATES There is a reason the alternate captains were selected as well and Boyle will wear the A for every game.
“Danny has been though a lot in his career and I’m sure if they gave two C’s Danny would be wearing one as well,” said Thornton. “It’s great that I can lean on him when I need some guidance as well.”
As for the other A, it will alternate (pun intended) between Marleau and Clowe with Marleau wearing it at home and Clowe on the road.
The full time leadership honor and responsibility has been there previously for Marleau and Boyle, but for Clowe, who has filled in occasionally, it is another huge step in his career.
“In the AHL and junior I had an A and last year for a period,” said Clowe of his leadership past. “First of all it is a huge honor. I’ve been around (here) a bit. I’ve got a lot of pride in this organization. You grow a bond with the organization. I don’t think it will change how I play.”