From the outset it does not seem like Joe Thornton getting the ‘C’ was the best thing for the Sharks, given his history for poor performance during the playoffs. However, when you look at it from a positive angle, you start to see a few factors lining up in favor of giving him that most important team letter.
The Sharks team is currently experiencing their third year under the wing of coach Todd McLellan. After two long and difficult years of learning and getting the main system hammered home to the team, they know what to do. There are fewer questions for the players about what the coach is expecting from them, the system should technically be very well known and the team should be executing it to a certain high degree.
With that in mind, Thornton now knows what is expected of him and the questions he may have, are fewer.
It is a great time for Jumbo Joe to become the Captain of the team because the duties being a leader are clear to him. There is no mystery, no questions, no potential confusion on how he is supposed to lead or what he has to do to help the team. He should know exactly what to do and he should be able to direct each and every player on the ice and tell them where they fit in.
On top of that, Thornton is now much older and much more wiser.
The last time Thornton wore the ‘C’, was during his time with the Boston Bruins at the tender immature age of 23 years old. Compared to what Joe knows now, he was a young baby during his time in Boston and he very likely had no idea what to do with the captaincy, no idea what had to be done, how to lead and so on and so forth. Today, at 31 years of age, he is a wiser hockey player with all the experience that comes with it.
There still may be better choices for captain mulling through your head. People like Dan Boyle for one. However, in addition to all of the above points that are in favor of Joe, the most important may be the undeniable and powerful trickle down effect that Jumbo Joe’s linemates experience. When Thornton gives it 110%, the rest of the team give their 110% as well.
More to the point, no matter who the captain of the Sharks could have been, Thornton would no matter what, have the ‘Top Team Motivator’ award all to himself. It is just the way it is. His actions on the ice lead this team and his effect on people is tremendous.
We know how Thornton can make even the most ungifted hockey player a super winner. Now is his chance to show that he can do the same thing for an entire team.