San Jose Sharks: Troubles Start with Joe Thornton

Eric MacLachlanCorrespondent IApril 14, 2008

The San Jose Sharks are down two games to one, to the Seventh place Calgary Flames. All you have to do is look at the leaders of each team to figure out why.

Jarome Iginla only finished with two more points then Joe Thornton during the regular season and only has two more points then Thornton in the series so why is he that much better then Thornton?  Thornton has two assists both on goals by Ryan Clowe, but has been virtually invisible in the series. Obviously Clagary is focusing on Thornton but with his size and skill he should be able to win battles against any player in the league. He isn't using his size, and he has created very little in the series. He has two assists because Ryan Clowe is playing very well.

Jarome Iginla scored a fluky goal off his shin pad in game 3. He has three assists otherwise so how is it possible he has meant so much more to his team then Joe Thornton. Iginla has 15 shots compared to 5 from Thornton in the series. 15 shots in three games?! Iginla has skated well, played his physical game, and despite only having one goal has been the best player on either team. The rest of the Flames follow the lead of Jarome Iginla which was evident in game three as following the 3-0 lead, Iginla starts mixing it up followed by the biggest momentum shift of any playoff game, Cory Sarich laying out Patrick Marleau. This is all created because Calgary has a great leader in Jarome Iginla, who in my mind will Captain the 2010 version of Team Canada should Sakic retire before then.

 Joe Thornton however has done nothing. He has set up Clowe twice but has only had 5 shots on goal. This is a guy who San Jose gave up very little to get because Boston gave up on him. They realized much earlier than most of the rest of the world that Thornton is not a prime-time performer. This is a guy who has put up 96, 114, 92 and 125 points in the last four years. His numbers are okay although not great. When the going gets tough Thornton disappears. He doesn't play as physical as he needs to, doesn't drive to the net, and he hasn't made anyone around him better. He needs to start scoring because you can't win bug without your big players and Thornton hasn't been that guy. I know Thornton isn't a big time goal scorer but if he's a set-up man he needs more than 2 assists through 3 games. This guy is not a big game player, and while he will be on Team Canada 2010, but if he is expected to be a top six forward, they better hope the third and fourth lines come up big. Thornton is a great regular season player, who with one international tournament as the exception, is a point a game player at best. The Sharks also have an extreme lack of leadership starting with Marleau but extending to Thornton.

 The Sharks could lose to Calgary in the first round, and Wilson will shoulder much of the blame, but Thornton will also shoulder much of the blame, as he should, because to this point he simply has not been good enough.