When Joe Pavelski slid the puck past Nikolaj Ehlers and into the empty net at the end of the San Jose-Winnipeg game last night, it sealed more than just the win. Since it had been Joe Thornton who broke the play out of his end, he registered the secondary assist and the play would go into the history books. That play would be Thornton’s 1000th assist of his career, a feat only previously accomplished by twelve other men in the history of the NHL.
Thornton, now 37 years old, is in the midst of arguably the worst offensive season of his career with only five goals and 41 points through 65 games. The Sharks are in first place with a bullet in the Pacific Division though, and the pending free agent has still been a big part of it. If he wants to play another few years, teams will certainly take one of the greatest passers of all-time into the mix as Thornton hunts down the next name on the assist-list. Joe Sakic is next with 1016, while Wayne Gretzky is still the untouchable leader at 1963.
- If you asked Florida Panthers fans about their greatest player, they might say Olli Jokinen who leads the franchise in goals and points. As reported this weekend, the Finnish forward has signed a one-day contract with the club to retire tonight as Panther. In 567 games, Jokinen scored 419 points and captained the team for several years.
- In the latest piece from Chris Hine of the Chicago Tribune, Artemi Panarin apologizes for his comments back in 2012 on Russian TV. A clip from the show had surfaced around corners of the internet and featured Panarin using some racially charged comments. He and the team immediately responded to Hine’s story and apologized for any harm the comments may have made. The 25-year old winger has never been involved in anything like this during his short time in the NHL, and seems to genuinely regret having made the comment.