Joe Thornton had a very good playoff series against Detroit. He had 8 points in 5 games. Funnily enough, 6 of those 8 points were critical and, dare I say, clutch. I've put each goal through the ClutchMaster 3000, a complex computer developed to properly evaluate the clutchitude and manliness of player's game. The ClutchMaster is used by sportswriters all over the world
when they don't have a story idea when they want to evaluate just how big a certain player's balls are. Let's use our experimental machine and see just how ballsy Joe Thornton was this series.
Point 1- Game 1
The situation: The Sharks are up, 1-0, and Joe Thornton gets the primary assist on a Dany Heatley goal halfway through the first period.
Analysis: That's a solid point, I guess. The goal wasn't a difference maker, though, as the Red Wings would end up scoring 3 goals in this game. Overall, Joe wasn't that clutch this game. What say you, ClutchMaster 3000?
"ASSISTS ARE UNMANLY! CALL HIM A COMPILER AND THEN GO SEE A MOVIE! CLUTCHMASTER ENJOYS SCI-FI!"
Points 2 and 3- Game 2
The situation: The Sharks are down, 3-2, when Joe gets the 2nd assist on a power play goal by Clutchmaster 3000 favorite Joe Pavelski. Big Joe then gets the game winning goal in the third period with less than 10 minutes left.
Analysis: Jumbo was only the 3rd star in this game because both Joe Pavelski and Dany Heatley had more points; however, if you're going by clutch factor, scoring the game winning goal with less than 10 minutes left in a game makes Joe the biggest star in this game. Right, ClutchMaster?
*whir pong bloop!
"THAT GOAL WAS CLUTCH BUT NOT AS CLUTCH AS THE GOAL STEVE YZERMAN SCORED AGAINST ROMAN TUREK! CALL THORNTON A MODERN DAY SWEENEY SCHRINER AND ESCAPE IN THE CONFUSION!"
Points 4 and 5- Game 3
The situation: The Sharks are again down in the third period, this time 3-1, when Joe scores an unassisted goal. He then gets the primary assist on a game-winning overtime goal by Patrick Marleau. That was discussed here.
Analysis: You can paint a picture that the Sharks were down in an enemy building in the third period before Joe heroically scored an unassisted goal to give life back to his team. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but you could paint that picture. That Joe was the primary force in winning an overtime playoff game is a much easier case to make, though, because that is what happened. Clutchy?
*blorp bing fart pop
"THE RED WINGS CHOKED! THORNTON WAS LUCKY! BETTER YET, IGNORE THIS AND TRY TO FIND A FAMILY MEMBER TO WRITE ABOUT OR BETTER YET TALK ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE OCTOPUS AT JOE LOUIS ARENA! CLUTCHMASTER LIKES OCTOPI BECAUSE THEY ARE ANGRY AND SQUISHY!"
Point 6- Game 4
The situation: Down 6-0 and basically out of the game, Thornton gets the primary assist on a power play goal. He then gets a 4-minute minor for roughing after getting into a tiff with Tomas Holmstrom and soon after picks up a 10-minute misconduct for pulling Nicklas Lidstrom down from behind.
Analysis: This game was a disaster for everyone on the Sharks. Joe tried to get something going and his rage ended up costing him 14 minutes in penalties. That can be written one of two ways: the Ovechkin angle, where you write that he was showing enthusiasm and you can't cut that out lest you risk losing what makes him great; or the Crosby angle, where you call him a child and tell him he needs to grow up. Let's see which one ClutchMaster takes...
*moop tiff quark zing!
"JOE THORNTON IS A CHILD AND HE NEEDS TO GROW UP! OH I GUESS YOU SAID THAT ALREADY! WELL I HEARD HE WAS GAY TOO!"
Points 7 and 8- Game 5
The situation: After getting an early exit from the previous game, Joe rebounds to tie the game at 1 on the power play and then later gets the only assist on the game-winning goal in the third period.
Analysis: Joe Thornton was unquestionably the best player for the Sharks on this game. He, along with two others, carried the team on their backs. It was truly a clutch performance.
*yarp nyarp paddywack zoom!
"THAT IS IMPOSSIBLE BECAUSE JOE THORNTON IS NOT CLUTCH! I WROTE AN ARTICLE AND EVERYTHING! THERE WAS ANOTHER SHARK WHO REALLY DID EVERYTHING! WHO WAS SECOND STAR!"
That would be Evgeni Nabokov.
"HE CANNOT BE CLUTCH, HE IS RUSSIAN AND HAS THE HAIR OF A CHILD! IT WAS REALLY THE THIRD STAR!"
You mean Patrick Marleau?
"WHAT!!! NO!!! THE NON-CLUTCHNESS... OVERLOADING MY CIRCUITS..."
...Well that was a waste of $20 bucks.