Joe Thornton no longer is the San Jose Sharks’ captain.
Sharks general manager Doug Wilson and head coach Todd McLellan announced Wednesday that the team will not have a captain to begin training camp in September, along with zero alternate captains.
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This is a weird move by the Sharks. Thornton is the team’s best player and most recognizable veteran, and he has worn the “C” since 2010. If he’s going to be part of the team’s immediate future, he still should have the “C.” This announcement also means that Patrick Marleau, who has experience wearing the “C” in San Jose, also will lose his “A” to begin camp.
As San Jose transitions to an era without Thornton and Patrick Marleau, its new leadership group — which likely includes Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski and Marc-Edouard Vlasic — should wear the captain letters. That process would be difficult to begin if Thornton and Marleau remain with the team throughout the 2014-15 season. Even if Pavelski or Couture get the “C” in the near future, it will be difficult for them to be the main leader with Thornton and Marleau’s large personalities and egos in the locker room.
Overall, this captains decision is just another strange move by a team that was expected to make major offseason changes after blowing a 3-0 series lead in the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs to the eventual champion Los Angeles Kings. Instead of retooling or rebuilding, San Jose has foolishly decided to stand pat.
In fairness to Wilson, it’s difficult to move Thornton and/or Marleau when both have no-movement clauses in their contracts, But after the Sharks’ latest playoff meltdown, it’s clear these two veterans aren’t capable of leading the team on a championship run.