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Thornton Tops The NHL Playoff Producers

by San Jose Sharks Staff / San Jose Sharks
With so much being made this regular season and the playoffs about Joe Thornton’s Selke like performance on the defensive side of the puck, another part of his game has gone overlooked. His offense has not suffered at all in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the all-everything center was sitting atop the playoff scoring leader board on Saturday with 17 points.


It’s just another example of how Thornton’s all-around game is among the NHL’s elite.

“Jumbo, I think all of us are very knowledgeable hockey people. You can see how he's elevated his game, how important it is to him, the impact he has on his teammates in the locker\room and on the ice. That's a sign of leadership,” Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan said.

Marleau and Setoguchi are enjoying the fruits of Thornton’s hard work as 14 of his 17 points have been helpers.

“He’s such a big guy, he’s tough to stop,” Setoguchi said. “A lot of guys would kill to have that vision and those hands and when he’s at the top of his game, no one can stop him. He’s got it all. He’s rounded his game off completely. He’s playing great.”

When Thornton goes like he is, the entire car moves much more smoothly.

“It’s no coincidence the way things are working out,” Marleau said.

“It makes it easier,” Setoguchi said. “You’ve just got to do get open and get him the puck. Patty and Jumbo are two of the top players you’d want to play with.”

The points simply don’t matter to Thornton as long as the Sharks are winning.

“For him, it’s not a big deal leading the playoffs in points,” Setoguchi said.

The bigger deal would be winning Game 4 on Sunday.

NO SUSPENSION
The NHL decided there was no need for further discipline against Sharks winger for his hit on Vancouver’s Aaron Rome

“I’m just focusing on tomorrow’s game,” McGinn said. “I think I’ve looked at the hit 100 times. I don’t want to hurt anyone and I hope for a quick recovery for Rome. It too bad he got hurt on the play. I tried to slow up and hit him on the left shoulder. You can see both the 2 and the 9 on the back of the sweater. It’s just one of those freak accidents where he hit his head on the glass. I didn’t want that to happen.”

McGinn says he can’t let the play affect him moving forward.

“I’m just trying to play my game, trying to play hard,” McGinn said. “My job as the first man in on the forecheck is to finish my check. That’s what I did and I try to do it as clean as possible. I’m not a dirty player by any means. I’m not trying to take guys’ heads off. I try to play as clean as possible.”

Nobody on the Sharks wants to see anyone injured, but they can’t let that concern prevent them from playing physical. The physical battle is a main reason the Sharks conquered the Canucks in Game 3 and they can’t slow down at all. There clearly is no desire to see anyone hurt, but hockey is a contact sport with big mean skating extremely fast.

“That's part of the game,” McLellan said. “You look at the scenarios. Christian Ehrhoff, a former Shark, we don't want to see him injured. But the fact is he is. The Rome hit, I think we expressed our concern last night for him as a player, as an individual. We don't want to see anybody injured. But that's part of the game at this time of the year.”

The Sharks are without a regular in their lineup now (McLellan said Jason Demers remains day-to-day) and all four clubs have to deal with one thing or another.

“For all the bumps and bruises that Detroit, and you're talking about Vancouver has right now, or have had, we've got the same things going on,” McLellan said. “There are ice bags, there are treatments going on all over the place.

McLellan said the amount of physical pounding it takes to prevail as the Stanley Cup Champion requires doling out a lot of hits and he recalled a favorite NHL story from this time of the year.

“I'm probably referring back to history a long time ago,” McLellan began. “When the Islanders dynasty was in existence, I remember hearing a story about the Oilers walking by the Islanders lockerroom. Those guys were bleeding, they were taped up, there were ice bags everywhere when they should have been celebrating a Stanley Cup championship. I think, if I remember the story correctly, the moment the Oilers needed to become their dynasty, was to see that.”

“If you're not hurt right now, if you're not banged, bruised, you're not sore, you're not tired, I guess the question would be: Why?”

The Sharks will continue to pound on their opponents as they did Los Angeles and Detroit. It’s part of their game of wearing the other club down.

“Obviously it's a tough break for them. It doesn't change much what I do,” Douglas Murray said. “You want to keep putting pressure on them. You want to do that whether they lose defensemen or not. Especially with them being a little shorthanded, try to wear them down.

“It's been a hard-hitting series the whole three games, I think. Nobody runs into somebody to hurt them, you know. But you obviously try to hit them hard, wear them out, make them a little sore. I don't think we need to tell them we're trying to do that. I think they're trying to do it to us, too. It's part of the game. It's physical.”

COUTURE
Logan Couture reiterated he felt fine following his collision with Ryane Clowe in Game 3.

“I was turning the corner. We ran into each other,” Couture said. “He caught me I think with his elbow in the head. I felt a little dazed. I went out and got checked out. The doctor said I was fine, but they didn't want me coming back in the game.”

Couture will skate in Game 4.

“I feel fine. Did all the tests, all that stuff. He said I didn't have a concussion,” Couture said.

THOR
Thor, a mythological god and the subject of a current movie, is also a subject of debate. The powerful, hammer wielding image is held in high esteem in the lockerroom and both Swedes, Niclas Wallin and Murray, are laying claim to the title. Both have their backers in the fun debate.

“I vote Wally. That beard is pretty scary,” Couture said. I definitely wouldn't want to play with him the way he looks right now.”

Murray, whose lighter hair might help his cause, won’t give up without a fight.

“I know that Thor is really me because I picked up the hammer and Wally didn't,” Murray said.

POSTGAME
Immediately following the Game 4 national broadcast on NBC, NBC Bay Area will air a special edition of “Sharks Playoff Central” live from HP Pavilion and feature in-depth game analysis, complete game highlights, a live look at Coach Todd McLellan’s press conference and interviews from the locker room.

“Sharks Playoff Central” is anchored by Scott Reiss with Sharks broadcast team Randy Hahn and Drew Remenda, analysts Bret Hedican and Jamie Baker, and feature reports from Brodie Brazil and Ray Ratto.

NEXT GAME
Game 4 with Vancouver will be at Noon and will be on NBC, 98.5/102.1 FM and www.sjsharks.com.




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