SAN JOSE- Wondering just how on Earth the Sharks players came up with the idea of giving their captain a wooly mammoth's tusk in honor of his 1000th NHL game?
Joe Thornton gave credit on Friday to Patrick Marleau, who explained the process.
"I did the research to try and find it for him. Obviously, I got some ideas from his wife and some other players who knew that he was into history," said Marleau. "It worked out good."
And just how hard is it to find one of these things in such good condition?
"There were a few phone calls, and lots of emails," he said. "Not too bad, but I learned a lot about wooly mammoth tusks while I was researching it, that's for sure."
Thornton was just as shocked as the sellout crowd at HP Pavilion when he found out what the team was gifting him.
"When I heard I got it, I was just like, 'wow.' It's something neat and it's going to be a discussion piece for a long, long time now."
Thornton said after the 4-3 win over the Penguins that the team touched the tusk on its way out to the ice before the second period, and then rallied from two goals down to win. He admitted on Friday that was just a joke, but maybe they'll keep it around anyway.
"I think it might have to stay in the building now," he said. "It might be in our locker room for the year."
The tusk was certainly the most noticeable of Thornton's gifts, the list of which we mentioned yesterday. There is one more to add, though - a framed album signed by The Doors, one of his favorite bands, that his wife gave to him.
"I've been pretty lucky with getting gifts. As long as you're a good boy, it feels like Christmas came early this year," he said.