Bad feelings tend to flourish when teams suffer from losses and disappointing seasons, but it’s difficult to think of many situations where players and executives aired their grievances as publicly as the San Jose Sharks have.
It’s really been a mess since last summer, and if you expected media availability to be full of no-comments or diplomatic responses, then you probably weren’t close to Joe Thornton.
Not that long after Thornton told his general manager to shut his mouth, the Sharks’ former captain and frequent lighting rod made sarcastic comments toward his head coach Todd McLellan this time around, as CSNBayArea.com reports.
Q: There’s a lot of focus on the coaching staff. Do you sense any need for change?
Thornton: “I have no idea. Todd has to talk to his family. Maybe he should talk to this family as well in here. We’ll see what happens.”
Sheesh, that’s a little salty, huh?
It wasn’t the only sign that Thornton, 35, has some hard feelings for a coach who may or may not return next season. This seemingly sarcastic comment from his brother (and agent) about McLellan coaching Team Canada at the 2015 World Hockey Championships also suggests that all is not quite well:
For those wondering why the Sharks don’t just trade this problem away, do note that Thornton has a no-trade clause, so it may not be such a straightforward process … and that’s assuming they’d want to deal a guy who still is a big difference-maker on the ice.
The malaise hanging over the franchise is quite obvious, and it hasn’t been lost on players like Logan Couture, who admitted that he doesn’t think the culture is “great.”
Whether the Sharks make some big changes or largely stay put, it wouldn’t be surprising to see this franchise raise a few eyebrows before training camps for 2015-16 kick in.