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Joe Thornton will be among the best to never hoist the Stanley Cup

May 29, 2019, 11:54 PM ET [19 Comments]
Steve Palumbo
San Jose Sharks Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Hundreds of names have been etched on the Stanley Cup. Some of the games greatest players have been immortalized by lifting that beautiful 40lb. silver chalice over their heads. Winning a Stanley Cup is a dream for anyone that's ever laced up a pair of skates. But, for some of the games greatest players, it's a dream that never became a reality.

NHL legends, Darryl Sittler, Brad Park, Marcel Dionne, Gilbert Perreault, the Sedin Twins, Pavel Bure, and Jarome Iginla are just some of the Hall of Fame and future Hall of Famers that fell short of our sports biggest prize. Hockey is the ultimate team sport. That is proven every spring when a new champion is crowned. Each and every one of those names I mentioned would trade all the individual accolades just to fill the void left by not winning a Stanley Cup.

Soon enough we will be adding Joe Thornton to that list. Since being drafted in 1997, Jumbo Joe has come close to winning the Cup just once, in 2016 when the Sharks lost in six games to the Penguins. It's also the only time he's ever made it past the Conference Final.

The 2018-19 season marked Thornton's 21st in the league and his 21st season without tasting a championship. Throughout these playoffs, Jimbo looked old. He was slow, his passes weren't as crisp as they once were and opponents forced him into countless turnovers. Thornton had a few big moments, but those moments are coming fewer and farther in between.

When the Sharks season ended, Thornton was mum on his future, but his body language said something different. His body said 1,566 games over 20+ NHL seasons had finally taken a toll on him physically and mentally.

If Thornton does decide to hang up his skates, he will be joining a very elite group. An elite group of NHL greats without their name etched in immortality. An elite group of NHL great remembered more for what they couldn't do than what they actually did do.

Jumbo will most certainly be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. He's earned that honor, but make no mistake, that will never ease the pain left from never winning the Stanley Cup.

Thanks for reading,
Steve
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