These are dire times my friends.
The Sharks, who recently named former Art Ross and Hart Trophy winnerCaptain for the 2010-2011 season, are playing fast and loose with a long history of unspoken rules regarding the success of their hockey club.
And no, I'm not talking about his on-ice credentials-- Thornton is one of the NHL's premiere playmakers, able to thread a needle through yarn so tightly woven even your grandmother Lucille wouldn't be able to complete the task. His selfless passing is poetry in motion, similar to a majestic eagle soaring amongst the heavens before brutally swooping down to snatch a fish from the depths of the river below.
And no, I'm not talking about his off-ice persona-- Thornton is a leader that the Sharks felt was best for the team, something that always must take precedent when discussing these matters. He has grown and matured since coming into the League in 1997, and is more than capable of handling all of the responsibilities in the locker room that wearing the C requires of him.
What I am talking about is undoubtedly far more important than any of these tertiary factors.
What I am talking about is EA Sports' NHL 2011.
To examine this issue, one must take a look at the gaming history of myself and my friend Dan. I dabbled in the NHL series ever since NHL 1994 for Sega Genesis, but only became a die hard supporter of the game when NHL 2003 came out for the Playstation 2. Since that time I've played armchair GM to my hearts content-- swinging trades, signing free agents, creating my own teams (the St. Paul Rebels being a fixture over the last four years), and immersing myself in fantasy drafts with a passion usually reserved for chocolate cake at fat camp.
To say I've spent hundreds of hours building teams would be a disservice to my passion. They have effectively spanned decades.
The issue here is that not once, in the entire history of my NHL gaming career, have I won the Stanley Cup with Joe Thornton on the roster. The same goes for Dan's teams. We have poured all of our resources into completing the task-- trading prospects with "A" potential and first round picks for his services, swinging blockbuster deals at the deadline to acquire him, hell, even drafting Thornton with the first round pick in a fantasy draft in order to ensure that our team building skills would ensure he gets a fair shake at winning the Cup. But every year he's included we fall short. And every year the curse grows in stature.
Which is where you come in.
What I need is for everyone with access to any type of NHL videogame to make sure that Joe Thornton is included onto their team this season, whether it be via smart phone, XBox, Playstation, EA Sports, or 2K games. Give him the Captaincy, set the difficulty level to the highest setting possible (as to not offend the hockey gods with rookie level wins), play by all of the pre-existing NHL rules (salary cap on, injuries on etc.), and do not simulate a single game. In order to break the diabolical hold of whatever demon has been lurking in my game console, we need to flood the airwaves with images of Thornton holding up the Stanley Cup for the world to see.
It is paramount to the Sharks on-ice success. It is a cause that will unite us all. And it is an act that will prove to the hockey gods that this season is the one in which the Sharks deserve to bring the Stanley Cup to the streets of San Jose.
C may have stood for Curse in the years before.
But today, with your help, that C will stand for Conquest.