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Joe Thornton says GM needs to 'shut his mouth' about captaincy decision

The plan to strip Thornton of the captaincy last summer is still a point of contention in San Jose.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson stepped into hot waters with his former captain on Friday when discussing why he stripped Joe Thornton of the captaincy this past summer. Thornton has apparently heard enough from his GM.

As you'll recall, the Sharks decided to remove the "C" from Thornton's sweater after a string of playoff disappointments, including the team becoming just the fourth team in NHL history to lose a playoff series after winning the first three games. The Sharks have gone with four alternate captains instead this season.

The captaincy issue surfaced again this week at a Sharks season ticket holder event when Wilson was asked for another explanation for why he chose to remove Thornton from his role as captain. After praising Thornton first, Wilson indicated that he thought the pressure of leadership was getting to Thornton and that he was on board with the decision.

Thornton apparently felt otherwise. According to David Pollak of the Mercury News, the veteran essentially told reporters on Friday that he felt his general manager is lying about how the situation unfolded.

"I think Doug just needs to shut his mouth," Thornton said after his team's morning practice. "I think that's the bottom line."

Thornton added: "All I've got to say is I've been here every day working hard. I haven't taken a sabbatical. He just needs to stop lying, shut his mouth."

Pollak added that this isn't the first time Thornton has publicly disagreed with Wilson's view on the move, indicating that there were "signals" in training camp that the 36-year-old center was not as pleased with losing the captaincy as his general manager would like everyone to believe.