Say it ain't so Joe

Bruins captain Joe Thornton is fed up. Fed up with some current tactics in the NHL. So fed up, he may be considering retirement.Thornton has expressed he is sick of the constant clutching and grabbing that many teams use to hinder power fowards.

In a recent interview with TSN’s Gino Rieda, Thornton said he’d reached his breaking point at a recent game against Pittsburgh. He said the lack of penalty calling has lessened scoring oppurtunites and has weakened the game all-together. Thornton was grappled and roughed-up virtually every time he touched the puck.

“It’s the holding, it’s the clutching and grabbing. Things like that are taking goal scoring out of the game,” Thornton said. “They’re looking at goaltender pads and things like that, and it might help in the long run, but if you cut down on this stuff in the offensive zone I think you’ll see goal-scoring going up and fan attendance going up as well.”

Thornton also claims that referees have ignored his claims and he has been told to play thorugh it, it’s part of the game. Excuses have been made that Thornton’s size and skill make him exempt from drawing penalties. “When it’s every game and (the referees) keep on telling you that, it gets pretty frustrating and you wish they were in your shoes for two or three shifts out there.”

Thornton has said that if drastic changes are not made, that he may call it quits. He claims that the current environment is not what he wants, and that he can’t have fun playing anymore. “It was a tough day for me,” Thornton said. “I look back on it with thoughts that this might be my last year. It’s not worth the pain. My back is killing me and things like that – it’s just not worth the ordeal.”

Personally I somewhat agree with Thornton. The current policy in the league is a joke. Something needs to be done to address this. The trap was bad enough, but hauling players down simply becuase the defense can’t handle them is terrible. If the game is ever going to get better it needs to open up again And the first way to open it up, is to crack down on the cheating.

(all quotes taken from Gino Reda’s interview thorugh

44 Responses to Say it ain't so Joe

  1. tmeyers says:

    GEEEEEEEZ…Cry me a river.

    What the hell is he gonna do? go home and sit on his couch? Play Hockey on the PS2 and wish there was no clutching and grabbing so he could play? CMON!

    What an ungratefull ASS!

  2. tmeyers says:

    GEEEEEEEZ…Cry me a river.

    What the hell is he gonna do? go home and sit on his couch? Play Hockey on the PS2 and wish there was no clutching and grabbing so he could play? CMON!

    What an ungratefull ASS!

  3. tmeyers says:

    GEEEEEEEZ…Cry me a river.

    What the hell is he gonna do? go home and sit on his couch? Play Hockey on the PS2 and wish there was no clutching and grabbing so he could play? CMON!

    What an ungratefull ASS!

  4. KCMDux88 says:

    bullshit. Go make up another story u asshole.

  5. tmeyers says:

    GEEEEEEEZ…Cry me a river.

    What the hell is he gonna do? go home and sit on his couch? Play Hockey on the PS2 and wish there was no clutching and grabbing so he could play? CMON!

    What an ungratefull ASS!

  6. Kyleton says:

    Joe Thornton will be playing next year, aswell as the year after. It was just how it was presented in the article that made it seem that he was serious.

  7. jjm301 says:

    He is right, does anyone remember the late 80’s early 90’s when the game was perfect, scoring was upand the games were fast paced and fun. As soon as florida started this defense crap the game has gone downhill to watch and as mario stated manytimes and now big Joe that it isn’t fun when players clutch and grab all day and legitmate scorers can’t get away from it. The game need help and thi might be the perfect year to fix it. Fix the CBA and fix the waythe game is played, move the nets back a foot or two, actually call all penalities or maybe make it four on four hockey that would open the ice up.

  8. wheresthesoda says:

    the nhl needs smaller players.

    make the game go quicker and faster will bring up goal scoring and higher goal scoring is higher fan attendance.

    west conference is fun to watch but the east is to concerned on winning the cup.

    the devils make me sick

  9. Aetherial says:

    They should have stuck to the way they were calling the games last year.

    I don’t care if it breaks up the flow of the game. It would have eventually worked.

    Combine that with moving the nets back, making penalties a full two minutes regardless of a goal or not… you might see some changes.

  10. wingsrock34 says:

    does what Joe said ring any bells to anyone else out there cuz to me it sounds alot like Mario the first time he retired(besides the cancer) i dont think Joe will retire though

  11. brewstar03 says:

    Although Joe should just shut up and play, and use his size to beat up other players to take his frustration out, I am more mad at the league officials and front office. They made it a way last year that obstruction would be dealt with, but thats a bunch of bullshit. The league front office is a joke, scared to do just about anything.

  12. Habfanforever says:

    What a big baby. You look at other power forwards like Bertuzzi, Leclair and Doan, you don’t see them whining. I’ve always said that Thornton is still not mature enough to be a leader which is why I don’t think he should have the C on his sweater.

    In Montreal we got a guy, his name is Saku Koivu. Even though his captaincy profile has been questioned and that he’s been called fragile before, he plays with reckless abandon, throwing his body everywhere and creating chances. If he was an inch or two taller and about 40 pounds heavier, he’d be called a power forward yet I’ve never heard him whine and complain about the game in the NHL today.

    I feel for the Bruins team, who now realize they got a big baby for a captain.

    Doesn’t look so tough now does he?

  13. CechmanekForVezina says:

    Too conentrated on winning the cup? I didn’t think that was possible. Isn’t that kind of the point of being in the NHL? Don’t give me that “thrill of the game” nonsnese, every player there wants to win the cup.

  14. dkball7 says:

    Very very misenterperated comments. Watch the video at and see what Joe is really trying to say.

  15. mattdude says:

    you know what, suck it up butter cup. your big, talented and much more why waste your time whining when you could be one of the best. So go retire and see if i care

  16. RangerSteve says:

    Thornton you are the biggest cry baby I’ve ever heard in my entire life! Clutching and grabbing is apart of the game and all of us who have played experience it..fight thru it! It’s not like you are Theo Fleury and are 5’6″! I say we call Ulfie Samuelsson outta retirement to send this assclown into retirement so we don’t have to hear his bitching!

  17. Gforce says:

    the whole clutching and grabbing thing is a BIG reason Joe Thornton and others will go to the WHA. It’s a wake up call to NHL and Bettman

  18. markjohnston says:

    good for him.

    I’d do the same thing if I was a premiere player. maybe the WHA will come back and not suck like the NHL does currently.

  19. Tradedude says:

    I agree with Thornton that no clutches and grabbing will bring up offense and that its really frustrating, but come on, considering retiring over such a little issue? Come on Joe, you’re 24, coming off a 100 point year, and u wanna retire. pffft. i feel sorry when you get a real job.

  20. RangerSteve says:

    LOL! Great one Tradedude….he doesn’t realize how great he has it as is!

  21. mikster says:

    He’s a bastard in saying he may retire since tons of 24 year old guys don’t even have that opprtuinity.

    He’s right about the refs. They suck even more this season. I have not seen a whistle of interference in a neutral zone. Players get held back during offensive rushes.

    It’s pathetic.

    Kill the two line pass and the NHL needs to be tougher ont the refs.

  22. PeterPuck says:

    ha ha, you must be a pee wee, the trap was around alot longer than florida, the habs used it in the late 70’s under scotty bowman. It was also used by the red wings in the late 60’s ….actually, the trap can be recorded as way back as 1950—-

  23. PeterPuck says:

    Oh please give me a break you whimp (joe), if you can’t handle the game now, how about going in the corners with mr elbows gordie howe, or playing aginst the flyers of the late 70’s and so on……..

  24. tymart27 says:

    No Doubt, I don’t know who posts this crap, you know there isn’t enough to talk about in the NHL when junk like this can be posted.

    We need some more Joseph rumors or something

  25. bruinfan37 says:

    Wow, do the rest of the world a favour, and don’t talk. Seeing as you haven’t seen a Bruins game, shut up. He is being jumped on, high sticked (for 3 stitches with no call) every single game. All he wants is to be treated like everyone else in the league, or at least close!

  26. RangerSteve says:

    So everyone is out to get Joe Thornton, give me a break. Bertuzzi goes in the trenches and has to deal with teh same thing, but you don’t see him crying about it. Retire at 24? give me a break, I go to my share of hockey games around the tri-state area and you can’t tell me that the same stuff isn’t happening with the Islanders, Devils, and Rangers. I did see a Bruins game against the Sharks, not sure if you want me to expand on that one.

  27. dkball7 says:

    Whats even worse was tsn’s headlines (it really caught my attention), it was something like:

    “Thornton contemplating retirement, could call it quits after this year”


  28. leviate says:

    Exactly, the game was great before Betteman. Too much expansion, leads to watered down talent. Contract 4 or 5 teams and eliminate the players that do not have enough talent to make it and scoring will go up and the clutching and grabbing will go down.

    Whats the attendence like in Nashville, Atlanta, and Florida? Get rid of the teams that no one cares about.

  29. TC_4 says:

    You look like the asshole now buddy, it’s all true.

  30. TC_4 says:

    The refs are a joke. Imagine what guys like Thornton, Bertuzzi, and Forsberg(probably the 3 most dominant players in the game)could do with no clutching and grabbing. Joe is trying to make a point. The game is no fun when the other team is basically cheating. It’s a joke. In the Ottawa v Edmonton game last Thursday, the sens got a penalty and my buddy(an Oiler fan)says”Sarno dove”. Correct, he did. But my response was”yeah, but you know what? If he doesn’t dive, it wouldn’t have matter if his arm got ripped off, if he doesn’t fall, the refs don’t call a thing!” That’s the best way to describe it. It’s why diving is up. There is so much stick work now it’s insane. The game will have to get very ugly, with about 20-30 penalties per night(to each team)to get players attention. Any kind of hooks at all should be called. Your stick is to control and shoot the puck, for nothing else. Lifting an oppenents stick is one thing, but it’s the only thing that should be allowed. The refs are going to have to start calling EVERYTHING, and that’s why we need a new commish, because this one doesn’t understand that. Until we do, the game will continue to go downhill.

  31. OldNord says:

    Thornton’s right about the referees. Why having two on the ice if they don’t call the penalties…waste of space. What’s going on Bettman/Van Hellemond, do something about the game ass…

  32. Tradedude says:

    I see Bertuzzi crying about it.

  33. Tradedude says:

    we heard you the first time, and the second, and the third. we get the point, ok?

  34. Bubblenuts says:

    If it were entirely the point, why would LA go and get Cechmanek? (sorry couldn’t resist)

    I don’t know what the % split would be, but I guarantee there is a good chunk only playing for the $, or the records (ie. Messier)

    Joe won’t quit, not with that kind of cash flow. Clutching or not.

  35. Donovan says:

    He’s right. Why do you think Jacques LeMair uses it so much. He was on the Habs when they ‘invented’ it.

  36. sumthingbruin says:

    Have you ever watched a bruins game? Koivu doesn’t have the same problems because he’s a completely different player. He’s tiny…grab on to him and he falls down and you get a penalty. If joe were saku’s size he wouldn’t be complaining. Thornton routinely has three guys hooking, spearing and holding him. Because he refuses to go down, no call is made. Thornton carries the puck, especially down low, more than 95% of the players in the league. His size, coupled with skills and refusal to dive are the reasons he never gets any calls. He shouldn’t be treated differently by the refs just because he’s good.

    I think he has a very legitimate point…the game in the Eastern Conference sucks right now.

  37. MAniac29 says:

    What are you talking about? First of all, if you want to go by talent, there are some teams that made the playoffs last year that would probably get contracted. What you are saying doesn’t make sense. I am willing to be that attendance in Atlanta is better than attendance in NJ. Possibly Nashville and Florida as well. Atlanta is excited about their team because they are young and will DEVELOP into lots of talent. You cannot just go out axing teams because the are in the process of rebuilding. Rebuilding is a natural part of any sport that is ran intelligently. Don’t cite the Red Wings as not needing to develop, because hockey should not be run in a way that allows the wings to do what they do to be good every season. I agree talent is watered down, I agree things need done, but you cannot simply go out and axe teams. You would have guys that would have no place in the NHL any longer getting paid the rest of their contracts sitting at home, not to mention the business ventures into sports teams that cannot just be eliminated…

  38. devfanman4 says:

    Why contract and move the nets back and all? All these refs have to do is CALL THE DAMN PENALTIES. If the penalties are called consistantly, the players will stop doing it and all will be better.

  39. devfanman4 says:

    Seems to be a bit of an ego trip from the captain of the B’s.

    If Ales Hemsky, Victor Kozlov, Todd Marchant, or Steve Sullivan said something like that, the NHL would respond with “Who cares? You don’t like it? Then retire.”

    Maybe it’s a good thing that a “star” player came out and expressed everyone’s feelings about officiating this season, but he got a little dramatic and egotistical (is that word?) threatening to retire.

    Something has to be done about the officiating though. Look at the NFL (as we do so often). Final minute of the 4th quarter or midway through the 2nd quarter – it doesn’t matter, pass interference is pass interference. They gotta call the rules by the rulebook. Then scoring will go up and hockey will be “more exciting” if that’s what you want to call it. Seeing the Devils beat the Sens 1-0 and tie the Leafs 1-1 last weekend was exciting hockey to me, but maybe I can appreciate defense more because that’s what I play.

  40. leviate says:

    I think that some playoff teams should be contracted. Anaheim has typically been at the bottom in attendence figures, and once people realize last years playoff run will not happen again, this years attendence will go down again. And the team will lose money.

    I was not suggesting that the NHL contract the rebuilding teams. I understand that rebuilding is a natural process that every team will eventually go through. I suggested that the NHL realize that the southern US experiment failed. Nashville and Atlanta are near the bottom in attendence (below NJ) And the only reason Florida has decent numbers is the Canadian snow birds and the team offers deals on tickets like 2 for 1 sometimes.

    A healthy NHL cannot have 3 or 4 teams struggling to break even. They would be better off to get rid of the dead wood and come back after a lockout with 27 or 28 profitable teams.

    By the way, I am not a Wings fan but what is wrong with the way they operate. They draft well every year which allows them to trade and sign established talent. It begins with commited ownership and fan support.

  41. MAniac29 says:

    I gotta run right now, but please check back later tonight, I’ll have LOTS to say about the wings!

  42. TC_4 says:

    Defense is fine, but most teams basically cheat anymore with how much stick work they use.

  43. MAniac29 says:

    I wrote this article last year, I don’t know if you were around then or not, or if you maybe read it, or not, but here it is, I didn’t re-read it or anything, I just pasted it her in and thought I’d let you read if you were interested…

    A Negative Look at the Wings, Finally.

    Kraftster writes “I was debating about whether to write this article for some time, but thanks to the comment debate I got into with Freeze the other day, I realized it was time.

    Everybody bickering non-stop about the New York Rangers all year long. Everyone saying that Sather is ruining the league. Well maybe it is time that we look at the detrimental effect the Red Wings organization is having on the NHL, and their recent drafting ineptitude.

    Two points to be explored. The first of which regards the Red Wings drafting ability, which I find to be POOR recently. This opinion obviously met with opposition in my comments thanks to the likes of Datsyuk and Zetterberg. I did say RECENT so Yzerman, Federov, and Lidstrom are out. The drafting situation leads perfectly into the second point, that Detroit disregards it’s franchise future and is quite comfortable in doing so.

    Looking at Detroits picks from 1993-1997, you’ll find Holmstrom and Dandenault, and that’s about it! Personally I don’t even see either of those picks enough to sufficently call them a good drafting team. 1998 Jiri Fischer become a Wing, undoubtedly a good pick, along with Pavel Datsyuk in the late 6th round, quite a steal. 1999 Detroit took Zetterberg late in the 7th round, another impressive find based on this years performance.

    Finding Datsyuk and Zetterberg in the later rounds, hardly justifies the other poor picks by Detroit. Drafting late is definitley a quality any decent drafting team must have, and it is shown here, but again this is over a 7 year period. 3 players in 7 years…hmm??

    What about all the first round choices you may be asking. Well in 1997, that first rounder was traded, in 1999, Detroit’s 1st, 2nd, & 3rd round picks…gone. That leaves Andres Erikson 1993, Yan Golubovsky 1994, Maxim Kuznetsov 1995, Jesse Wallin 1996. Wallin has played his fair share of games in a Detroit uniform, but is nothing special. Golubovsky played in all of 50 career games. Some may contend that Erikson and Kuznetsov were used in trades to acquire veteran players (Chelios, Schneider), but I don’t think they should be listed as good picks at all. The reason I don’t agree with putting guys like Kuznetsov and Erikson as quality picks is that on one level I am referring to the talent of the players chosen. (I realize they have been traded for good players, BUT that is along with other picks or players as well, neither was the selling point of the trade, but big time props to detroit for pulling off the deals). BUT, as far as talent, Erikson really has never been steady anywhere, and Kuz. was drafted 7 years ago and is just now cracking through. I realize Det. has had strong Dmen over the years, but a first round guy should be someone in a lineup sooner than 7 years. On another level, this is supporting the notion that Detroit disregards it’s future. Trading Erikson, Kuz, and Avery (undrafted) does nothing but support that point I am trying to make. If they were traded because Detroit saw something bad about them, it only supports that they were not strong draft picks, while if they traded them DESPITE them being strong players, it supports not caring about the future young core of players.

    I definitely know that Detroit has lower first round picks every year, and I’ll further allow that having said later picks makes it hard to find “premier” talent. But to dispell the ability of Detroit fans to get off on the late pick line, a brief look at late first round picks around the league:

    1993: Koivu (21), Bertuzzi (23), Kevyn Adams (25) — Erikson (22)

    1995: Sykora (18), Denis Gauthier (20), Sean Brown (21), Alex Morozov (24), Marc Denis (25) –Max. Kuz. (26)

    1996: Marco Sturm (21), Daniel Briere (24), Cory Sarich (27) — Jesse Wallin (26)

    1997: TRADED! Morrow (25), Clymer (27), Huselius (47) — Butsayev (49)

    1998: Jiri Fischer (GREAT PICK), Gagne (22), Gomez (27)

    1999: TRADED 1st, 2nd, 3rd PICKS! Boynton (21), Havlat (26), Ahonen (27)…

    2000: Justin Williams (28), Nick Shultz (33) — Nik Kronwall (29)

    I am in no way directly comparing what Detroit is doing to the Rangers, but I do think that it is not all that good of a thing. With all the questions surrounding CuJo, will Detroit draft one of the many goalie prospects in this years draft to take over? In all likelihood I would say, no. Definitely not with their 1st round pick this year or 2nd next year, those both belong to the LA Kings.

    I don’t see Detroit worrying one bit about their future. I think they will be comfortable to go out and find whatever goalie is on the market when Joseph’s time is up, whether that be in the offseason or in a deadline deal. Promotion of no need to build a team through the draft doesn’t seem like something beneficial to the rest of the league. At least not to me…

    Don’t get me wrong, Detroit is getting the job done, but I don’t really care for the way they are doing it. I actually hope it comes back to bite them in the near future (post-cba most likely). Let the comments begin!! ”

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