After a heated exchange through the media last week, San Jose Sharks manager Doug Wilson said that he and former team captain Joe Thornton had resolved the issue and that Thornton would remain with the team, according to Katie Strang of ESPN.com.
"Joe's not going anywhere. Joe is a San Jose Shark," Wilson said after the second day of meetings of NHL general managers, according to Strang.
Wilson told a group of season-ticket holders last week that Thornton was stripped of his captaincy during the season because the pressure and stress were getting to the veteran center.
“The pressure and stress, I felt, was getting to Joe,” Wilson said. “And I sat him down and said we need other players to step up and share this. He got it. He didn’t like it, but he got it and he understood it.”
Thornton, in response, said Wilson was lying about the circumstances of the change.
“I think Doug just needs to shut his mouth,” Thornton told the San Jose Mercury News on Friday. “I think that’s the bottom line. 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.”
According to Wilson, the two worked out their differences in a phone call.
"He called shortly after, later that day, and we had a great conversation. He said all the things that I needed to hear," Wilson said. "He and I are at a great place, we're focused on the game upcoming tonight ... It's one of those things that just happens, but he's a good man."
The Sharks are in a push to make the playoffs for the 11th straight season, but trail the Los Angeles Kings by five points for the last Western Conference wild-card spot with 13 games to play. San Jose is also five points behind the Calgary Flames for the third and final playoff spot in the Pacific Division and six points in back of the second-place Vancouver Canucks.
The Sharks lost their first game after the spat, falling 6-2 at home Saturday night to the Chicago Blackhawks.