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Joseph Eric Thornton (born July 2 1979, in London, Ontario, Canada) is a professional ice hockey center in the National Hockey League. He was drafted by, and played seven seasons for the Boston Bruins before being traded to his current club, the San Jose Sharks. His on-ice vision, deft passing ability, and power forward style of play have led to him becoming one of the league's premier top line centres. Thornton is the NHL's reigning Hart Trophy winner.
As a child, Joe Thornton lived in a suburb of St. Thomas, Ontario known as Lynhurst. A sign that stands there today proclaims the neighborhood to be his native community. He attended Southwold Public School just outside of St. Thomas, and later attended Central Elgin Collegiate Institute in St. Thomas.
After a fight in a nightclub in St. Thomas, Ontario in the summer of 2004, he was charged with assault of a peace officer and ordered to serve community service.
After Thornton voiced his unhappiness with his contract in Boston in 2005, many teams reportedly sent offers to the Bruins. However, Thornton re-signed with the team on August 11, 2005, for a three year deal worth US$19.8 million. On November 30, 2005, Thornton was traded to the San Jose Sharks in a blockbuster four player deal, which sent forwards Marco Sturm and Wayne Primeau and defenseman Brad Stuart to Boston. Thornton was the team's leading scorer at the time by a substantial margin and many felt that Bruins GM Mike O'Connell had dealt away one of the few player who was truly showing an exemplary effort. On January 10, 2006, Thornton returned to Boston as a member of the Sharks, but was ejected for checking Bruins' defenseman Hal Gill from behind at 5:13 of the first period. Thornton received a five minute major and a game misconduct. The misconduct was later rescinded by the NHL.
Upon arriving in San Jose, Thornton improved the Sharks' fortunes. Thornton made an immediate impact with 14 points in his first 6 games and found instant chemistry with winger Jonathan Cheechoo, often setting up Cheechoo for one-time shots in the slot. With Thornton as his centreman, Cheechoo became a 50-goal scorer and won the Rocket Richard Trophy. Thornton himself would lead the NHL with 96 assists and win the Art Ross Trophy as leading NHL scorer, the first player to do so the same season he was traded. The 2005-06 playoffs saw Thornton in a familiar scenario as past postseason campaigns he has been a part of. He was never able to produce points as he was in the regular season and there was a startling lack of chemistry between Thornton and Cheechoo. Joe recorded 4 assists in a five-game quarterfinals series against Nashville and had 2 goals and 3 assists in the semifinals series against Edmonton, a series that the Sharks lost in 6 games.
Thornton was under heavy scrutiny for his leadership while in Boston. He was criticized for being unable to raise his level of play during the playoffs, as he never scored more than nine points in two series or finished with a plus/minus rating higher than +1. Many people feel that Robbie Ftorek gave Thornton the "C" too early. Nonetheless, Thornton did tremendously in his new role in San Jose, as he put up career numbers in his first season with the Sharks. His success translated into Thornton becoming the MVP of the league.
During the absence of usual alternate captain Alyn McCauley from the San Jose lineup, Joe Thornton donned the "A" in a game against Phoenix on March 30, 2006. He served in this role off-and-on since then. Many critics expected Thornton to fare better in San Jose where leadership duties would be falling primarily to captain Patrick Marleau. This proved to be the case, as Thornton won the Art Ross Trophy handily, while Marleau still finished with 86 points. Thornton scored at a slightly cooler rate in the playoffs, posting two goals and seven assists in eleven games, but unlike in Boston his performance was not worthy of criticism; the Sharks' TV announcers emphatically proclaimed him the teams's best player on the ice even in the games the Sharks lost to the Edmonton Oilers in the second round of the playoffs.
Thornton was selected to play for Team Canada at the 2006 Winter Olympics and was expected to be key member of the Canadian National Team. However, he only scored one goal in six games and finished -1.
--- Regular Season --- ---- Playoffs ---- Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1995-96 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds OHL 66 30 46 76 51 4 1 1 2 11 1996-97 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds OHL 59 41 81 122 123 11 11 8 19 24 1997-98 Boston Bruins NHL 55 3 4 7 19 6 0 0 0 9 1998-99 Boston Bruins NHL 81 16 25 41 69 11 3 6 9 4 1999-00 Boston Bruins NHL 81 23 37 60 82 -- -- -- -- -- 2000-01 Boston Bruins NHL 72 37 34 71 107 -- -- -- -- -- 2001-02 Boston Bruins NHL 66 22 46 68 127 6 2 4 6 10 2002-03 Boston Bruins NHL 77 36 65 101 109 5 1 2 3 4 2003-04 Boston Bruins NHL 77 23 50 73 98 7 0 0 0 14 2004-05 Davos Sui 40 10 44 54 80 14 4 21 25 29 2005-06 Boston Bruins NHL 23 9 24 33 6 2005-06 San Jose Sharks NHL 58 20 72 92 55 11 2 7 9 12