Most sports fans once had a dream of making it big; winning championships; being the golden boy or girl of a sport. Unfortunately, not everyone has the ability or chance to make it that far. Athletes like Joe Thornton give inspiration to all the children out there to work hard, and with a bit of luck, you might just get the chance to do great things. With his silky smooth stick handling and pinpoint passing, Thornton has led the San Jose Sharks to their first Stanley Cup Finals at the prime age of 36.
Thornton has had a long career playing in the NHL and for the Canadian national team. At his age, one does not achieve such sustained success and longevity without mastering the often underappreciated aspects of the game. In hockey, goals are seen as the most important contribution a player can make, yet people often overlook the assists that facilitate such scoring. Joe Thornton is an expert at the Skill of assisting, which is why he is my Athlete CRUSH. His anticipation, deft touch, and vision with the puck make him arguably the NHL’s best set-up man.
Since the beginning of his career, Thornton has continually developed this area of his game and now has 964 career assists, which puts him at 13th all time. Currently in the Stanley Cup Finals, his ability to create scoring chances for his teammates has allowed the Sharks to make a deep run in the playoffs. Even against Brian Elliot, one of the best goalies in the NHL, Thornton was able to lay down the perfect passes for his team to score. Evidence of his uncanny passing ability can be seen below.
Thornton’s skill makes him not only my Athlete CRUSH, but also a fan favorite in the NHL. His services will surely be called upon at this glorious time, as he will be facing Matt Murray of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who is also an incredible shot stopper. (For Athlete CRUSH’s article on Matt Murray, click here: http://www.athletecrush.com/hockey/athlete-crush-matt-murray-stanley-cup-rookie/)Few opponents over the years have been able to derail Thornton and halt his distribution, and if that proves the case again, he could well be on his way to lifting the first Stanley Cup for both himself and the San Jose Sharks.
Written by Athlete CRUSH Staff
Posted 7 June 2016