At least one San Jose Sharks player – Logan Couture – has weighed in on what he thinks of his former teammate Joe Thornton and what he thinks of Thornton’s signing by the Toronto Maple Leafs. It’s simple, in a word the Maple Leafs players are “lucky” to play with such a great of the game.
There’s No Doubt, Thornton Can Be Effective
In an article by Kevin Kurz in yesterday’s The Athletic, Couture was quoted as saying, “There’s no doubt in my mind. No doubt in my mind Joe Thornton can still be an effective NHL player. No doubt.” (from “Joe Thornton leaves Sharks for Maple Leafs: ‘I’m still kind of numb about it,’ Kevin Kurz, The Athletic, 16/10/20).
What about the fact that Thornton is 41 years of age? Doesn’t matter, Couture says. He still has plenty to offer his new teammates and the city of Toronto in general – even at the age of 41.
When Jumbo Joe decided to sign with the Maple Leafs and end his career with the Sharks, which had gone on for 15 seasons, it would be the first time in Couture’s NHL career he’ll ever NOT be playing on the same team Thornton’s on. As the title of the article says “I’m still kind of numb.”
Needless to say, Couture still thinks very highly of his now-former teammate.
It Was a Privilege to Play with Joe, They’ll Learn a Lot from Him
Couture had lots to say about Thornton, and it was all glowing. Here are some of the things he noted.
Topic One: Thornton’s Training
Couture noted, “I’ve watched him every day. It was a privilege to watch him every day in practice, and how hard he trains off the ice. The way he takes care of his body.”
Topic Two: Thornton’s Impact on His Teammates
Couture added, “He’s going to help that team a lot. All those players are going to be very lucky to have spent at least one year with him as a teammate.”
Topic Three: Thornton’s Impact as a Person
Finally, Couture added, “They’ll learn a lot about the game, a lot about how to be a better teammate and a better person.”
In general, Couture had a comment for everyone in Toronto and on the Maple Leafs roster when he noted, “People in Toronto, those players, are very fortunate.”
Thornton Isn’t the Player He Used to Be, But …
No one can argue that Thornton remains the player he used to be. He simply isn’t. That said, with the Maple Leafs, the team and the organization won’t be looking for him the be “The Man.” Instead of playing a leading role on the team, Thronton will likely play the third-line center and be “depth leadership.”
How will he do in those roles? If Couture is correct, and who would know more, Thornton is likely to still be effective.
By the way, it was just announced that Thornton’s number with the Maple Leafs would be “97.” He’s the first person to ever wear that number with the team.
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