SAN JOSE Joe Thornton is slowly but surely creeping his way up the all-time NHL points list. Hes not paying too much attention to who hes passing along the way, but when he leapfrogged Pat LaFontaine for 73rd all-time with a pair of assists on Monday against the Kings, it meant a little something.
LaFontaine, the New York Islanders and Buffalo Sabres star, was Thorntons childhood hero.
Pat was my favorite player growing up, and I had a chance to get his autograph when I was about 10 years old, explained Thornton after the game. I was always him playing road hockey. He was my guy. He was a force back in the eighties and nineties, so its a big honor.
So what would that 10-year old kid think of someday passing LaFontaine in career NHL points?
Thornton smiled and laughed.
Im not sure. Hopefully theres a lot of hockey left in him.
Incidentally, LaFontaine played in 865 career NHL games over a 15-year career before it was cut short by concussion issues in 1998. Thornton scored his 1,013th NHL point in his 1,008th game.