Joltin' Joe

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:41 PM ET

DETROIT -- The shock waves from the Joe Thornton trade were felt all the way to the Motor City.

With the San Jose Sharks acquiring one of the league's premier centres from Boston in exchange for Brad Stuart, Marco Sturm and Wayne Primeau, players from both the Calgary Flames and Detroit Red Wings were surprised.

"I didn't see it coming," said Flames captain Jarome Iginla. "Very good players changed sides on both teams.

"It's gonna be interesting to see which team benefits more."

Meanwhile, Thornton was introduced as a new member of the Sharks in Buffalo, where he will play against the Sabres tonight.

"It was emotional," Thornton said, a day after the blockbuster trade. "But as the night went on, I kind of calmed down. Now, I'm excited to start something new."

The Bruins certainly take a hit by losing Thornton, who scored at least 20 goals in his last five seasons.

It's easy to say they lost the deal, considering Thornton is the best player in the swap, but the Bruins did add a top-four defenceman in Stuart and a solid scoring winger in Sturm.

San Jose, in need of more offence, now possess arguably the best one-two punch at centre with Thornton and Patrick Marleau, coincidentally chosen second overall behind his new teammate in the 1997 draft.

"It's probably the biggest trade of the season," said Flames forward Steven Reinprecht.

"Thornton's a great player, can make a lot happen when he's on the ice and will be a really good acquisition for San Jose."

Wings centre Kris Draper admitted he'll have his hands full trying to skate against the Sharks' dynamic duo.

"Patty Marleau and Joe Thornton are quite a one-two punch," he said. "On that night, you just pick your poison. You want to figure out who you want to put your checking line against and how you're going to play against them."

The Flames have two more games against the Sharks this season, Feb. 6 in San Jose and March 4 at home.

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OLD TIMES SAKE: NHL Productions has a crew following Flames forward Darren McCarty during his second return to his old home, which was a subject of discussion in Detroit's dressing room.

"I don't know if I'm gonna TiVo it," joked Draper. "He's a very popular guy, no matter where he is. He did a lot for this hockey club, this organization, this community.

"He was a guy that in the locker-room, as a teammate and as a friend, is missed. We're just happy that he's doing well, is enjoying Calgary and playing hard. Those are things, as ex-teammates, you hope for."


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