Joe Thornton Provided Goaltenders Everywhere an Unpleasant Reminder That Wearing a Mask Doesn't Necessarily Make Your Face Unpunchable
Like most, years spent watching guys get jumped by crease caretakers for making even incidental contact with the last line of defense has ingrained in me the long-standing belief that it's best avoid getting into it with goaltenders.
For that reason alone, I think everyone who has ever strapped on a pair of skates, crashed the net like they were told, and just barely gotten beaten to a rebound by a quick glove, a quicker whistle, and the quickest of slashes owes Joe Thornton a thank you for reminding puck-stoppers everywhere that, at the end of the day, they are just more highly protected players. A throat jab that would bring a self-satisfied smirk to the mouth of Mr. Miyagi might have been slightly excessive, but it's about time someone put a sizable dent in either the figurative or literal trachea of a stick-wielding puck-stopper and their self-conceived cloak of invincibility. Especially if we, as a hockey community, expect to cut down on their sword-like swings.
As far as I'm concerned, an elder statesman whose beard commands respect, connotes unquestioned wisdom, and speaks to his ability to age more ruggedly than the dustiest bottle of whiskey in your liquor cabinet simply restored order. It's too bad it had to be at the expense of Petr Mzarek's windpipe, but at least his frat-like group of heavily-padded peers while have to reflect on their own positional mortality next time they go ahead and start some shit with the expectation that literally everybody else will finish it...