clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Morning After: Marveling at the ageless wonder of Joe Thornton

New, comments

As the season has gone on, Thornton's play has only improved.

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday we talked about Calgary Flames' new space god in Johnny Gaudreau, so today it's time to unpack the season of the San Jose Sharks' old space god. Joe Thornton scored against both the Jets and Flames as the Sharks won back-to-back contests (and three in a row).

Those goals extended Thornton's point streak to three games. Jumbo has points in 11 of the Sharks' past 12 games, totaling up 18 of his 32 points on the season in that span. His excellent numbers haven't been exclusive to scoring, either, as Thornton continues to lead the way in possession for San Jose.

Here you can see the rolling average of Thornton's relative corsi for percentage of total (5v5 only). Even while experiencing a scoring drought his possession numbers were excellent and since then they've only improved along with his scoring.

His points per 60 took a precipitous dive in early December (which may be tied to that totally-not-a-concussion-at-all) but since then has steadily climbed to the point we're at today. The charts and tables match up with the eye test, too.

His goal last night came just by following Tomas Hertl's shot. He got into the crease and was able to whack home a rebound to put the Sharks back up by a goal. The goal is terrific and it can't hurt to set this kind of example for his teammates (particularly Hertl, for that matter). If a 36-year-old veteran can charge the front of the net, you can too.

Thornton's tally here comes from excellent defensive work in the neutral zone. He pokes the puck away from the Calgary player (after halting play in the neutral zone) is able to shuffle the puck over to Joe Pavelski and then do the rest of the work once he gets the puck back. Plays like this, that display how incredible Thorton's hands are, show why it can be so frustrating when he elects to pass instead of taking it himself.

And then there are plays like this.

Obviously the killer pass here is the one from Hertl, but Thornton makes a great pass to set it up. Without much room to work with, Thornton throws the pass off the end boards to Hertl who finds Pavelski to put the Sharks up by three. That one of his two secondary assists on the night. His second came by battling a pair of Toronto defenders and then throwing the puck up to Justin Braun, whose shot eventually turned into Hertl's goal.

Watching Thornton play never gets old — and while, allegedly, he'll have to retire one of these days, it's amazing to see how consistently excellent his game is, even when he isn't found on the scoresheet. The Sharks have been plagued by inconsistent performances this season, but not from Thornton who has been, as always, San Jose's rock.