Hi Hockey Fans,
The San Jose Sharks dodged elimination in a tight game Saturday night. One of the main contributors to their success was their former Captain, Joe Thornton. Joe had 2 assists in the 3-2 overtime win. At 36, he is still one of the best players in the game and the Sharks playoff success has shown how much of a contributor he can be.
Many people had written off Jumbo Joe similar to Crosby this season. Jumbo Joe responded by finishing fourth in league scoring (second in league assists). He was even added to Team Canada for the World Cup just recently based on his playoff performance. Joe is one of the best passers in the league, but that’s not all that makes him one of the NHL’s best:
- Vision – when I was looking for highlights of Joe Thornton’s best passes, I came across a video entitled “The Pass II.” This clip shows Thornton in the corner, throw a no-look backhand pass into the slot, right onto the tape of a streaking Logan Couture. I constantly marvel watching Thornton play and find him teammates and make passes that even as a viewer, are hard for me to see. Joe thinks the game at an elite level and his vision really helps set him apart from many of the other players in the league.
- Passing Accuracy – having hockey vision is a great asset to have, but in order to use it effectively, passing accuracy is another vital skill. Jumbo Joe accompanies his great vision with the ability to thread great passes (both soft and hard passes) right on his teammates stick. This goal that he assisted shows him fire a 50 foot saucer pass, right to Tomas Hertl, who quickly transitions in front of the net and slips the puck in the net. You can find countless examples of this as Jumbo Joe typically ranks in the top 5 in assists perennially.
- Puck Battles – Joe may not have the best speed in the league, but he makes up for it with his ability to get the puck and keep it. He is able to use his reach to poke it away from other players and his large frame to keep it away from fore-checkers. Here’s an example of where he uses his reach to create a turnover and then quickly throws it into the goalie’s feet for a goal. Jumbo Joe often has the puck on his stick and it’s his ability to win battles that allows him to control the game and create offense for his team. He also has a knack for winning face-offs when he’s playing centre.
Joe continues to amaze me night in and night out with his play. Make sure that you take notice when Jumbo Joe is on the ice!
If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us!
And as always, if you need any hockey tips, drop me a line!