Joe Thornton’s hilarious words to his teammates after infamous fight with Nazem Kadri

Joe Thornton is one of the best centers the NHL has ever seen, and he was elite in his on-ice vision and playmaking.

He’s often acknowledged as one of the best passers of all time, and he’s one of only seven players in history with 1,100 assists.

Nicknamed ’Jumbo Joe,’ Thornton was also a great teammate, and he always played with a lot of grit.

In 2004, he was in an infamous fight with Eric Lindros, which led to him suffering a fractured cheekbone.

But in another fight, something else happened to Thornton that probably has never ever happened before or after in the NHL.

Right after opening faceoff in a game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and San Jose Sharks in 2018, Nazem Kadri and Joe Thornton dropped the gloves.

The fight lasted less than 10 seconds, and both were sent five minutes to the penalty box.

But that wasn’t the weird part.

SUNRISE, FL – APRIL 21: Joe Thornton #19 of the Florida Panthers skates against the Detroit Red Wings at the FLA Live Arena on April 21, 2022 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Suddenly, parts of Thornton’s infamous beard were strewn all over the ice, and a linesman was forced to pick it up and bring it back to the Sharks bench.

Hilariously enough, the piece from Thornton’s beard was dumped into backup goalie Aaron Dell’s glove.

Postgame, Sharks then-coach Pete DeBoer said he’d never seen anything like it during his many, many years as an NHL coach. But to be fair, few players in NHL history have had as great facial hair as Thornton.

“I’ve seen a lot of things over 25 years of coaching,” DeBoer said. “I’ve never seen a clump of beard on the ice before.”

Nazem Kadri, with all clarity, said that it was an accident.

“I have no idea, I ended up with a piece of it in my hand. I have no idea how that happened,” he told reporters. “I thought I was a hockey player and not a barber. I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t mean to grab him there. He’s a big boy, I couldn’t reach all the way across his shoulder and felt like I just grabbed him in the middle of his jersey and just came down with a handful of hair.”

So, how did Thornton feel about it all? Well, he wasn’t that upset.

Years later, Rob Zettler, a former assistant coach for the Sharks, revealed what Thornton said when he returned to the bench and how he got everyone laughing. 

”Remember that fight against Nazem Kadri?” Zettler told The Athletic. ”He came to the bench, and I said, ’Jumbo, you OK?’ He started laughing, looked at me and said, ’Zetts, there’s a clump of my hair on the ice.’ Everyone that was in earshot of him started laughing, in the middle of the game. It was great that he found the humor in that, right after a fight.”

Joe Thornton – what a legend!

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