Thornton ‘confident’ about playing in opener, but doubts remain

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The Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks will kick off their opening-round series tomorrow at Rogers Place, and it remains unclear if Joe Thornton will play.

Thornton, who missed the final two games of the year after suffering a knee injury on Apr. 4, has been a sporadic participant in practices and skates lately. Despite saying he had “no doubt” he’d be ready for the opener, Tuesday’s session suggested otherwise.

“I’m confident,” Thornton said, per the Sharks’ Twitter account. “But it’s still day-to-day, so we’ll see how it goes.”

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Jumbo skated on a makeshift fourth line today, between¬†Micheal Haley and Kevin Labanc. He also wasn’t out with the club’s top power play unit, throwing major doubt on his availability for tomorrow.

This could all be posturing from head coach Peter DeBoer. It wouldn’t be the first time a bench boss played coy with his lineup decisions in the postseason, and don’t forget there’s an added element of drama given DeBoer is going up against Todd McLellan.

The same Todd McLellan that coached Thornton and the Sharks for seven seasons, and is the franchise’s all-time leader in wins.

In other San Jose injury news, looks as though Logan Couture is ready to return from a nasty facial injury. Couture sat out the final seven games of the year, but has been outfitted with a protective shield on his helmet and, today, took reps as the club’s No. 1 center.