NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 21, 2014

The Sharks strip Joe Thornton of his captaincy, the latest on Raffi Torres and Alexander Semin and the Rangers sign prospect Kevin Hayes.

Joe Thornton is no longer captain of the Sharks.

Joe Thornton is no longer captain of the Sharks.

SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: The Sharks have stripped Joe Thornton of his captaincy and will begin the season with a captain or assistants. The news came as a surprise to Thornton, who claimed he knew nothing of the plan. Sharks coach Todd McLellan claims the move was no indictment of their now-former captain and assistants.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McLellan can color this any way he likes, but this move is most definitely an indictment of Thornton’s leadership and of his assistants, which included Patrick Marleau and the now-departed Dan Boyle. It’s obvious the Sharks front office wants a change in leadership, especially after the club’s epic playoff collapse last spring against the Los Angeles Kings.

Will it entice Thornton and Marleau to accept being traded later this season or next summer? Maybe, though Marleau was stripped of the captaincy several years ago but remained a Shark.

Speaking of the Sharks, forward Raffi Torres will undergo a second surgery on his right knee and could miss half of the upcoming season.

NHL.COM: Carolina Hurricanes GM Ron Francis countered a recent report claiming Alexander Semin hasn’t fully recovered from wrist surgery. Francis claims he’s been told there’s been no issues with Semin’s wrist, as he continues therapy while training twice daily. He expects Semin will be ready when training camp opens next month.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The New York Rangers won the Kevin Hayes sweepstakes, inking the former Blackhawks prospect to an entry-level contract.

CBS SPORTS: Despite a claim from Steve Moore’s brother claiming there was no settlement reached in Moore’s civil suit against Todd Bertuzzi, the Vancouver Canucks last night issued a statement confirming the settlement.

NHL.COM: The league has announced changes to its annual draft lottery. Over the next two years it will introduce a weighted system to determine the draft order.


  1. Joe Thornton is not a leader and never should have been captain to begin with. The Bruins got this one right years ago. I always saw the Thornton trade as addition by subtraction, what they received in return was not much. But it did pave the way for a new era and one that brought a cup to Boston. Step one was showing Jumbo Joe the door. San Jose should’ve done the same years ago it’s not like they weren’t knocking on the door for the last six or seven years.

  2. starting the season without* a captain or assistants.. typo

    • “Will it entice Thornton and Marleau to accept being traded later this season or next summer? Maybe, though Marleau was stripped of the captaincy several years ago but remained a Shark.”

      Some men don’t have the balls to demand change and thus, accept what they are told to do, or their “fate, or whatever. That’s why Thornton/Marleau led Sharks never got the prize. It’s also why Thornton/Marleau will be happy to ride out their days in San Jose watching their roles diminish more and more until they are happy to retire and hit the beach full time.

      • Blame the GM then. He was the one that resigned them, and gave them no trade clauses

  3. If SJ truly want a change in leadership, they should start at the top and look for a new GM and HC. Putting blame on two of your top players is the wrong thing to do – especially thru various media outlets in the Bay Area. Sharks don’t really need to look too far to see where they failed: Before the Playoffs, the LA Kings couldn’t score goals, so they went and signed an elite goal scorer. The Sharks epic collapse wasn’t due to a lack of talent, rather a lack of accountability. Where were the coaches? Where was ownership pushing team management? Four games and four losses. That is truly heartbreaking. Players have to do their part. Sure. But to put all the blame on your two “aging” superstars is childish and makes those truly at the top look useless.

    It’s been a long, long summer for fans and players alike in the south bay. As high as expectations are for recently signed John Scott (just the teensiest amount of sarcasm), I think everybody has their hands in the air wondering when the “rebuild” is really going to start.

  4. In regard to Thornton and Marleau being stripped of their “letters”, I’m reminded of this old adage. “Leadership is an ability, not a position.” Let the results speak for themselves.

  5. A team should be smart enough to know what to expect from their players. To just take an elite player, like Thorton or Marleau and pin the expectancy of captaincy on them doesn’t work. Marleau and Thorton are what they are, elite players who may lead by example on the ice at times, but who do not play like big men, consistently, and are not the guys in the room other players look up to for leadership. I don’t know who the Sharks have that fills that role…maybe Vlasic is becoming that guy with his hard hits and great play. Having a lot of agitators on the team:Raffi, Burish, Brown, and now Scott does not make of for a lack of leadership on the ice during power plays and scoring drives. This is my team, and I’ll always stick by them, but Wilson’s going to have to do something pronto about the leadership issue and bring in someone new if the Sharks expect anything different this year…..

    • Vlasic makes the others on the ice accountable and is definitely a top pick for the “C”. Raffi, Burish, Brown, Scott along with Kennedy adds up to around $8M in cap space. We don’t resign Boyle or Stuart, buyout Havlat, and still no top-shelf FAs? Can’t believe they didn’t move Niemi, who’s a great goaltender, but unlike Vlasic (or, hate to say it, J Quick), won’t kick and scream at his D when things break down. Ryan Miller would do that; and he wanted to be in California. I know Niemi is a UFA next year, and it may have been difficult to shop him this summer after performing so miserably in the Playoffs. So I guess the plan is to simply let him walk after next year. Free up more cap space. Lots of weird moves. Putting Burns back on D? Axing color commentator Drew Remenda? I just don’t get what’s going on. Maybe they’ll bookend Thornton with Scott and Brown in an attempt to make Jumbo walk at the trade deadline. Going to be an interesting season.