Thornton on Wilson's offseason comments: 'I don't need somebody else telling me we can't do it'
Count the former captain among the many who believe the Sharks don't need a rebuild or culture change.
Anyone who believed the start of training camp would bring with it an instant dissipation of all the frustration, anger and drama that characterized a bizarre Sharks offseason was woefully mistaken. The players who informed general manager Doug Wilson that they felt more like coworkers than teammates are still here, as is Wilson himself and star center Joe Thornton, whom Wilson reportedly tried to trade before eventually stripping of the captaincy. Emotions are understandably still raw and Thornton let some of those emotions show in a meeting with the media today.
"I have enough motivation," Thornton said when asked about Wilson's offseason comments that the team needed to undergo a rebuild in order to compete. "I don't need somebody else telling me we can't do it." Specifically regarding Wilson's comments about the Sharks becoming a "tomorrow" team, Thornton said, "That's Doug's opinion. I think if you'd ask anybody in here, I don't think they have the same feeling."
If you're feeling particularly intent on shilling for the Sharks' front office, I suppose you could argue that this was all by design. That Wilson suggesting the team wasn't good enough to win it all as currently constructed, proposing that it needed to undergo a rebuild like the Kings and Blackhawks had and stripping longtime leaders Thornton and Patrick Marleau of their letters was nothing more than Herb Brooks bagskating his players into oblivion near the beginning of Miracle to get them to unite against a common enemy. Thornton doesn't seem too pleased with his GM so that part seems to be working. But given that Wilson walked back many of his more extreme comments about a rebuild soon after it became clear Thornton and Marleau weren't going anywhere, I'm not convinced it was all part of a master plan.
Regardless, one thing's for certain: this is going to be an interesting season no matter how the Sharks perform on the ice.