MONTREAL — Brace yourselves Boston Bruins fans.
Joe Thornton will be wearing a captain’s ‘C’ again.
Only this time, he’ll be doing it for the Western Conference All-Stars Sunday in the 2009 NHL All-Star Game at Bell Centre, not for his current team the San Jose Sharks. And, of course, we won’t even broach the subject of whether he should’ve had a ‘C’ on his sweater in Boston.
“It’s fun. I got the news from (general manager) Doug Wilson. He phoned me the other night and he said I was going to be the captain. It’s huge honor,” Thornton said today during the Western Conference All-Stars’ media availability. “It’s a big thrill, and I was always watching Wayne or Mario, they’d always have the ‘C.’ So it’s a big thrill for me.”
It’s a thrill also for Thornton to look at the NHL standings and see that the Sharks are atop the West and Boston is atop the East. That’s right, he has no sour grapes about his departure from the Hub and the sudden turnaround Boston has enjoyed after struggling for two seasons since his trade out of town.
“It’s good that Boston’s back. It’s such a good sports town and they’ve been struggling the last couple years,” said Thornton, who will be making his sixth All-Star appearance. “They went through a great series last year against Montreal and they just lost. But it’s good for hockey and it’d be great if we got a chance to be in the finals. It’d be great.”
In what could be a finals preview, the Sharks will visit TD Banknorth Garden Feb. 10. Thornton, who was ejected early in his only other Garden appearance in a Sharks jersey back in ’06, can’t help but peek ahead at the schedule and get ready for that classic match-up.
“You do focus in on the day to day, but you kind of circle those games. It’s going to be fun to go back there,” he said. “I haven’t been back there since I got kicked out. So it’s going to be fun to go back and see some old friends again.”