Apart from Joe Pavelski, if there's anyone associated with the Sharks organization you can definitively not blame for the franchise's ten-year streak of postseason appearances likely coming to an end, it's Joe Thornton. On the heels of a summer spent being scapegoated for the team's playoff collapse against Los Angeles and eventually being stripped of the captaincy by Doug Wilson and Todd McLellan, Joe Thornton has continued to be Joe Thornton: he leads the team in 5-on-5 points per 60 minutes and puck possession, is second in overall points despite missing four games and is the catalyst of a power play unit that has been the only non-dysfunctional part of the team this season.
So he has every right to still be frustrated about everything that went down last offseason. And he is definitely still pissed:
Simmering issues boiling over in SJ. #SJSharks Thornton on latest from GM Wilson on taking away the 'C': "Doug needs to shut his mouth."— David Pollak (@PollakOnSharks) March 13, 2015
That's in reference to a comment Doug Wilson made at a season ticket holder event last night where the Sharks' general manager claimed Thornton was stripped of the captaincy because "when stress comes on him, he lashes out at people and it kind of impacts them." Ignoring the irony of Thornton reacting to Wilson's quote by lashing out at him, it's entirely understandable if Thornton isn't happy not only with how he's been treated but with the direction of this team.
Who could blame him? They're not good enough to compete for a Stanley Cup and they're not bad enough to draft a future superstar and there doesn't seem to be any clear path to getting on either of those tracks in the near future. They're essentially the 2005-2013 Toronto Maple Leafs, with Thornton's last few seasons as an elite number one center being thoroughly Sundin'd. Wilson probably should shut his mouth and work on fixing that rather than implicitly siccing the fanbase on one of the only people in this entire organization who isn't the problem.