Joe Thornton might waive his no-movement clause if fans no longer want him

The summer of Joe Thornton trade rumors takes another strange turn.

For anyone who's felt like they've been drowning in a sea of rampant Joe Thornton trade speculation this summer, the twitter feed of Thornton's agent and brother John Thornton has provided a small oasis of consolation. He's openly refuted respected insiders peddling Thornton trade rumors, he's pointed out the inherent hypocrisy in Doug Wilson and Todd McLellan complaining about the locker room "culture" they helped establish and he's delightfully fed the trolls into a food coma.

If anyone would know about the intricacies of Jumbo's contract it's the guy who negotiated it and if anyone would know about Joe's outlook on the future of his hockey career it's his brother. So it's reassuring to those of us who think trading Joe Thornton would be a bad idea that John Thornton has remained steadfast in asserting that his brother wants to stay in San Jose, has full no-move protection and isn't likely to waive it barring unforeseen circumstances. Apparently one of those circumstances is a fan revolt. From David Pollak of the Mercury News:

"If he felt the fans didn't want him in San Jose, he might re-think things," John Thornton said when asked if his brother would want to play where it was apparent he was not wanted.

Without naming names, general manager Doug Wilson has stated that younger players will now be given a bigger leadership role in the wake of San Jose's epic loss to the Los Angeles Kings in the playoffs, and that it might be time for older players -- no-movement clauses such as the one Thornton has notwithstanding -- to depart.

That, John Thornton said, has not changed his brother's resolve to stay in San Jose.

"He's perfectly happy there right now," John Thornton said. "He wants to stay there and win the cup. He believes they still have enough talent."

As the great Matt Taylor pointed out, it would essentially take the climactic scene from Harry And The Hendersons for Thornton to want out:

So the gauntlet has been thrown. If you're a Sharks fan who wants to continue watching Thornton's Hall Of Fame career (and save the team from massively overreacting to a season in which they were oh-so-close to knocking off the eventual champs) it's up to you to make him feel wanted. We here at Fear The Fin would like to do our part and since fan rallies to prevent NHL teams from trading away beloved players who wear No. 19 don't have the greatest history of recent success, we're putting together a photo collage instead. Send a photo of yourself with the number 19 (or the number 12 for that matter—Patty's far too shy to rally fan support publicly like this but he needs to feel loved too) to Ann Frazier at annlfrazier [at] gmail [dot] com. Together we can make a difference. Or not. The collage should look pretty awesome either way.