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“Not that our players don’t have a deep love for the game. But to still have the love for the everyday and get up every day… blowing Joe, Wayne or Bogosian, it can add a lot to that energy, especially not knowing what will be like next year. ”
From Davos, Switzerland, where he plays club hockey to keep fit, Thornton called leaving San Jose “probably my toughest hockey decision.” The Leafs chased him three years ago, Thornton never shied away from believing the Sharks could win a Cup after reaching the 2016 final. Toronto may be his last shot.
“Some teams were interested in me and (San Jose GM) Doug Wilson wanted me to come back. But Toronto, with the lineup they have and the guys they picked in the offseason… I think this team is set to win now.
“I love their goalie (Anaheim’s old rival Freddy Andersen), really. They are strong in the middle, Brodie is in the back, they have Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, the list goes on. I just want to help in any way I can. Whatever role Sheldon wants, on and off the ice. I think I have a lot of hockey left in me. I bring a bit of everything.
Dubas and Keefe rely on the thirst for the Jumbo Joe’s Cup as part of their incentive package, giving others an appreciation for the small size of a Cup window in a career, something Spezza HD tried to relate last season. .
“Joe is a good choice in terms of the skills that have made him one of the best players of his generation,” Dubas said. “It still allows him to be an effective player when many of those who entered the league in his time have retired, with the exception of Patrick Marleau and Zdeno Chara.