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JUMBO JOE PLAYED WITH A TORN ACL AND A TORN MCL IN THE FIRST ROUND
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Before Joe Thornton heads into an uncertain offseason where he could be a free agent and leave San Jose after nearly 12 years, he had more pressing business.
Thornton underwent surgery on a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee Monday to repair an injury that sidelined him less than two weeks before he returned to play the final four games of a first-round series loss to the Edmonton Oilers.
"I've been in this business a long time," general manager Doug Wilson said. "You see a player play with that type of injury tells you all you need to know about him."
Thornton downplayed the injury before the team announced the severity of what he played through and the surgery, calling it simply "the normal stuff that hockey players deal with" at this time of the season.
But his willingness to play four playoff games on basically one leg at age 37, and record two assists, was just another example of how important he is to San Jose and why the team wants him back this summer before he can become a free agent.
"Basically his knee is floating there," coach Peter DeBoer said. "It was as courageous an effort, him doing what he did, as I've ever seen. And I didn't see a drop off in his game. I know the point production wasn't there. I think there's some answers for that, including power play and fatigue and some things like that. Until his level drops where he has to take a reduced role, that's not even on my radar."
The futures of Thornton and teammate Patrick Marleau are the biggest questions for San Jose headed into the offseason. The two have been the face of the Sharks for years, with Marleau joining as the second-overall draft pick in 1997 and Thornton coming in a trade from Boston in 2005.
"I want to come back," Thornton said. "I think this is a Stanley Cup-caliber team and I think I'm a little bit older and I realize how good this team is. Of course, I'd like to come back. But we'll have to see. I'm sure we'll be talking."
They have been two of the league's most prolific players during their tenure, with Marleau scoring his 500th career goal this season and Thornton recording his 1,000th assist.
Thornton's production fell a bit this season. His 50 points were his fewest in a non-lockout season since he was a teenager in Boston in 1998-99. Thornton was also a key part of a power play that was ranked 25th in the regular season after years of being at the top of the league.
Marleau scored 27 goals this season and played a stronger overall game as evidenced by his improving plus-minus from negative 22 to four.
Both players will turn 38 before the start of next season, raising questions about how long San Jose will want to commit to them.
"Guys like that aren't growing on trees," defenseman Brent Burns said. "Both those guys, you hear about the age stuff, those guys are both in great shape. Every day they put the work in. They're elite players. Age doesn't matter."
Wilson called both players cornerstones of the franchise on and off the ice and seemed interested in them coming back. Both players also publicly expressed the same desire but the sides must come to terms on length and value.
There have been no talks yet between the parties and it is extremely unlikely any deal would be finalized before the expansion draft in June.
The other key questions for the Sharks headed into the offseason are who they will protect in the expansion draft and will they be able to reach long-term extensions with goalie Martin Jones and shut-down defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
Both players are eligible for free agency in 2018 but can sign extensions after July 1. Wilson said he would like to get those deals done before training camp.
"Both of them are extremely important to get under contract," Wilson said. "Those are priorities."
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BRUINS NEW SWEATERS UNVEILED
BOSTON - The National Hockey League (NHL®) and adidas yesterday unveiled the new ADIZERO Authentic NHL jerseys and uniforms for the Boston Bruins, as part of a league- wide initiative, which will make their on-ice debut with the 2017-18 season.
adidas worked with the Boston Bruins to respectfully preserve the team's current uniform identity when moving to the new ADIZERO technology platform. However, this uniform platform change did provide an appropriate opportunity to simplify the coloration of the number & letter systems, improving arena and broadcast readability. In addition, the team updated both the home and away sock coloration to mimic the respective jersey sleeve striping pattern.
Bruins fans will be able to preorder the new 2017-18 Authentic Bruins adidas Jersey starting at 10:00 a.m. on June 21st as part of the presale promotion. When fans preorder the new jersey from the Bruins ProShop (not NHL Shop or Fanatics), they will also receive a Bruins exclusive cinch bag, NHL 100th Anniversary patch (free application by request), and free shipping.
Fans can preorder the new jersey by calling the ProShop at (617) 742-0202 or toll free (877) 527-8467, or in-store on Level 2 of TD Garden. The ProShop hours are: Mon-Sat 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.; Sun 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. The new jerseys will arrive to the ProShop and will be shipped in September. Please allow an additional 2-3 weeks for orders with customization. Season Ticket Holder discount applies. Fans can look at the jersey size chart online by visiting www.BostonBruins.com/SizeChart. To keep up to date with the latest Bruins new arrivals at the ProShop, fans can sign up for the Boston ProShop Newsletter at www.BostonBruins.com/ProShop.
At the forefront of innovation, design and craftsmanship, the new ADIZERO Authentic NHL jersey takes the hockey uniform system and hockey jersey silhouette to the next level by redefining fit, feel and lightweight construction.
• Lighter - Featuring new cresting materials and construction technology, the ADIZERO Authentic NHL jersey reduces crest weight by up to 46%, while a single layer perforated numbering system reduces number weight by up to 60%, in order to deliver a new jersey that is up to 19% lighter when compared to the current NHL Jersey.
• Cooler - The ADIZERO Authentic NHL jersey features adidas Clima® technology in each of the jersey fabrics to deliver breathability and enhanced performance. Combining moisture management technology and a streamlined silhouette to maximize air flow circulation with materials that are up to 133% more permeable than fabrics currently used on ice allows athletes to be cooler.
• Stronger - Constructed for durability, the ADIZERO Authentic NHL jersey fabrics are up to 27% stronger in burst testing and up to 72% tougher in abrasion testing compared to the current NHL jersey.
It's the summer episode of The Hockey Show. Paul Altmeyer and Horace Greeley commiserate about a number of topics related to hockey, and talk with Nate Ewell of College Hockey Inc.
BOBBY ORR STEALS THE SHOW IN NEW NHL COMMERCIAL
THE HOCKEY SHOW, JUNE 2017
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Max Domi makes quick work of Ryan Kesler