Joe swimming with Sharks

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 12:38 PM ET

  • Dr. Hockey's fantasy spin on Thornton trade

    Reaction on the Joe Thornton trade:

    TAMPA -- Joe Thornton was having dinner with his parents in Boston last night when his phone rang.

    "You've been traded," he was told by Boston Bruins management.

    That was it. With those three simple words, the Thornton era in Beantown came to an end.

    In the biggest blockbuster of the young NHL season, a shocked Thornton, 26, was dealt to the San Jose Sharks for forwards Wayne Primeau and Marco Sturm and defenceman Brad Stuart.

    "I'm stunned," Thornton said last night from Boston during a phone interview with the The Toronto Sun. "The only team I've ever played for is Boston. When I signed a three-year deal in the summer, I thought I'd be staying.

    "But they just said things had to change. When you trade your captain, I guess (that's) mixing things up," he said before adding with a touch of sarcasm: "I guess I was the problem."

    Mike O'Connell, GM of the 8-13-3-2 Bruins, admitted a shakeup was needed.

    "Sometimes you have to make some difficult decisions to better the team," he said in a statement. "We feel we received three players who can help us immediately."

    The Bruins also save over $1.5 million US in the deal.

    LEAFS RELIEVED

    The Maple Leafs, meanwhile are not sad to see Thornton leave the Northeast Division. No longer will they have to face him eight times a season, although he will be in town Saturday when the Sharks visit the Air Canada Centre.

    "He is a franchise player," captain Mats Sundin said. "Any time you can avoid matching up against a guy like that on a regular basis, it's a plus. I'm surprised they moved him."

    Leafs coach Pat Quinn developed respect for Thornton after accepting a defensive role at the 2004 World Cup.

    "For me as a coach, he made some real strong adjustments and became a real factor for us in the victory," Quinn said. "I liked what I saw. He put his team ahead of any individual interests."

    The three-time all-star said he appreciated the words.

    "Pat's comments about me are flattering," said Thornton, who is slated to make his Sharks debut in Buffalo tomorrow. "It's very complimentary.

    "Being from St. Thomas, I'm going to miss playing in Toronto four times a year in front of family. I'm sure there will be lots of questions for me there on Saturday."


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