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13.09.2018 05:43
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Joe Thornton tested the free-agent market last summer before ending up back in San Jose on a one-year Trevor Siemian Jersey , $8 million deal.

If Thornton has his way this offseason, he’ll sign with the Sharks again before hitting the open market, even if it has to be on another short-term deal.

”It’s no secret I’m a Shark,” Thornton said Tuesday. ”I bleed teal and I want to come back and I know I’m going to be healthy when I come back. I’m sure we can figure something out, but I want to come back.”

Thornton spoke as the Sharks packed up for the summer following a second-round loss to Vegas. Thornton missed that series with a major right knee injury that had sidelined him since Jan. 23 but expects to be fully recovered by next season.

Thornton turns 39 in July but still was performing at a high level before tearing the ACL and MCL in his right knee in January. Thornton had a similar injury to his left knee late last season and played four playoff games before offseason surgery but wasn’t able to make it back this year.

”I don’t think there’s a player that I’ve met in 40 years in this business that I respect more than Joe Thornton,” general manager Doug Wilson said. ”He’s incredible. … I look forward to sitting down with Joe and his agent very quickly. He’s an inspiring man, what he’s done to this organization. He was playing really well prior to getting hurt, and even his leadership after, being around the guys and what he does. He’s a special, special guy.”

Thornton said he’s willing to sign a one-year deal again and would be willing to take less money if it helped the team acquire other players.

While Thornton started slowly this season as he worked his way back from surgery in April 2017, he was back to his usual form by late November. He had 11 goals and 15 assists in his final 28 games before the injury.

Thornton has been a leader ever since arriving in San Jose in 2005 and is the greatest player in franchise history. He ranks 12th in NHL history with 1,030 assists and is 16th with 1,427 points. With seven more games, Thornton will become the 19th player to reach the 1 Travis Kelce Jersey ,500-game mark for a career.

”I think we’re all blessed to play with a guy like that on the ice, off the ice,” defenseman Brent Burns said. ”He’s one of the legends of the game, statistically, on-ice talent and what he does for everybody off the ice. He’s definitely the best teammate I’ve ever played with. We’d be lucky to have him.”

Thornton’s pending free agency is just one of the key decisions the Sharks will have to make this offseason. Midseason acquisition Evander Kane also can hit the market this summer. If he signs, they owe Buffalo a first-round pick in 2019. If he leaves, that pick becomes a second-rounder.

Kane provided a major boost when he was acquired from Buffalo at the trade deadline in February. He had nine goals and five assists in 17 games, providing needed speed and physicality on San Jose’s top line.

That carried over to the first round when he had three goals and an assist in a sweep against Anaheim but Kane wasn’t nearly as effective against Vegas as he played through injuries to his knee and shoulder.

”I think he’s a difference-maker,” Wilson said. ”He came in here, and I talk about our leadership and our culture, I think he really appreciated that. We appreciated him. I think it was a good fit for him, it was a good fit for us.”

Eric Fehr is another potential free agent who could be back, while forwards Joel Ward and Jannik Hansen are expected to leave this summer. San Jose also must reach deals with restricted free agents Tomas Hertl and Chris Tierney, and can begin negotiating extensions with captain Joe Pavelski and center Logan Couture in July.

The Sharks have plenty of projected salary cap room to make those moves and also could look to add a big-ticket player like John Tavares of the New York Islanders if he hits the open market.

”I’m excited for this team Marcus Allen Jersey ,” Thornton said. ”A lot of guys made big leaps this year. I’m sure teams are always adding new things or trying at least to add new things. But if you’re a Shark fan, you’ve got to be excited for this team still.”



Danny Amendola is Bill Belichick’s kind of player.

After battling injuries throughout 2016, the 5-foot-11, 180-pound receiver has had some of the best moments of his five-year Patriots’ tenure during their past two playoff runs.

It started last year with his touchdown catch and game-tying 2-point conversion during New England’s comeback win over Atlanta in the Super Bowl.

Amendola’s been just as dependable this postseason. He caught 11 passes for a playoff career-high 112 yards in New England’s divisional-round win over Tennessee.

He then hauled in two touchdown catches, including the winner, in the Patriots’ AFC championship game win over Jacksonville. He enters his third Super Bowl as New England’s leader in receptions, yards and touchdowns this postseason.

”When you look up `good football player’ in the dictionary his picture is right there beside it,” Belichick said of the 32-year-old. ”It doesn’t matter what it is. Fielding punts, third down, big play, red area, onside kick recovery – whatever we need him to do.”

Often Tom Brady’s third option in the passing game behind Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman, Amendola reworked his contract this past offseason just to stay in New England.

”I have a lot of great memories here,” he said. “Any negative thing or anything that’s tried to hinder me Cameron Wake Jersey , I try to ignore and focus on the positive things that have been going on in this building for the last five years for me.”

Belichick credits Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, then the St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator when Amendola was there in 2011, with recognizing his potential.

Amendola was originally signed by Dallas as undrafted free agent out of Texas Tech in 2008. Following stints on the practice squads for the Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles, he was in his third season with the Rams when he caught McDaniels’ eye.

”You saw a good player in St. Louis, but you didn’t see all the things behind the scenes that you kind of can see when you actually have the player on your team,” Belichick said.

”Josh saw that and he made us aware of all the things that Danny does and how well he does them.”

When McDaniels got back to New England in 2012, he pushed Belichick to sign Amendola when he became a free agent in the spring of 2013.

Amendola’s role increased in 2017 after Edelman tore the ACL in his right knee during the preseason and Malcolm Mitchell went on injured reserve for a knee injury prior to the start of the regular season.

Amendola found himself in the game plan even more when Chris Hogan had a shoulder injury in Week 10 at Denver.

Whether it was those injuries or Gronkowski leaving the AFC title game with a concussion, Amendola said he’s tried his best to adapt.

”I don’t feel any added pressure,” he said. ”Every play I’m competing my tail off to try to win the route, win the block or whatever my job is on that play.

”Whoever is in the game, whoever is beside me, I have a lot of trust and faith in them whether it’s Gronk or Cookie (Brandin Cooks) or Hoagie (Hogan). Whoever it is, I know we have a lot of trust in this room.”

That trust has morphed into what Amendola describes as an unspoken language on the field with Brady. Now, a simple glance from his quarterback can lead to an adjustment that can be the difference between an incompletion or a touchdown.

”He’s made so many big catches Lawrence Taylor Jersey ,” Brady said. ”I’m always looking for him at some point. I mean, he’s a big part of what we do, so he’s never not part of what we’re doing.”

As for his postseason success, Amendola says he’s always brought the same approach.

”It’s a lot about preparation, circumstance, opportunity, being ready and no fear,” he said. ”Just get out there and get it done.”

NOTES: The Patriots did not practice Wednesday, but Gronkowski was listed with a concussion on the injury report the team is required to release. Joining him on the list were defensive lineman Deatrich Wise, Jr. (concussion), defensive lineman Malcolm Brown (foot), running back Mike Gillislee (knee) and offensive lineman LaAdrian Waddle (knee).



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