Joe Thornton has gone through a lot as a member of the San Jose Sharks, both good and...well, not so good. The past two seasons and change can not possibly have been much fun for Jumbo, as he's taken the brunt of the blame for the Sharks' failures while rarely getting the credit he deserves when they succeed.
Here's the definition of the Bill Masterton Trophy, for those unaware.
The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is an annual award under the trusteeship of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and is given to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.
Stories of Thornton's dedication can be found everywhere, including in our interview with Jamie Baker a while back.
I remember after a playoff series a couple of years ago, I was at Sharks ice a couple weeks after, and Joe Thornton was already in there working out. He was riding a bike because he didn't want to get out of shape.
Let's face it: Thornton isn't going to win the Masterton this year. There are almost certainly better examples and better stories, but for a Sharks team that has gone through plenty of on-ice adversity, Thornton exemplifies the Masterton's characteristics.