Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Black and, uh, Teal

The collective jaw of Bruins Nation hit the rain-soaked floor earlier tonight upon news that Joe Thornton was traded to the San Jose Sharks.

Given that the Bruins were in turmoil, struggling through most of the season, a move to shake things up should not come as a great surprise. Many Bruins fans, myself included, clamored for the team to make such a move.

But trading Thornton? That caught everyone by surprise, even leading to some diehard fans questioning their allegiance to the Black and Gold.

Though this certainly isn't a knock against any of the players the Bruins received in return -- Brad Stuart, Wayne Primeau and Marco Sturm -- but it will be hard to replace Thornton, on and off the ice. I've seen too many people wearing Thornton jerseys not just at games, but in malls, on the streets and in other cities.

As a hound, I've crossed paths with Thornton many times over the years. Some of my autographs carry the number 6, rather than the current 19. He's signed pucks for me, my son and my nephew. For the most part, he was a likeable enough guy.

My favorite Thornton story took place not too long ago. Standing outside a Boston hotel, waiting for Sidney Crosby and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins to head out for dinner, I spied a tall guy wearing a Team Canada truckers hat walking toward me.

At first, I thought it was Sid the Kid, dressing down in an attempt to elude a handful of hounds. As he drew closer, though, I realized this guy was too tall to be The Next One.

He ducked his eyes at my moment of recognition. It was too late. I knew it was Joey.

Seeing that he was with friends and family, I made no move to get yet another autograph. I did offer some advice as he walked past.

"Behave yourself tonight, Joey," I said.

"I'm always behaved," he said, flashing a smile.

Godspeed, Joey.


Post a Comment

<< Home