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Joe Thornton says it’s a ‘privilege’ to wear the ‘A’ for the Florida Panthers

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How much has Joe Thornton meant to the Florida Panthers this season? “I wish he could be on this team forever,” Carter Verhaeghe said. — Roger Lee Photographer (561) 866-2000

With Sasha Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau and Aaron Ekblad all out of the lineup, it was Joe Thornton’s turn to lead the Florida Panthers on the ice.

After a season in which Thornton sacrificed a main role by sitting out in 49 of 82 games, the Panthers rewarded him with an ‘A’ on his sweater during their final two games of the 2021-22 regular season.

”It was great,’’ Thornton told Jessica Blaylock of Bally Sports during the first intermission of Thursday’s game in Ottawa.

“There were a lot of guys out so I got the privilege. To be part of this group has been special. We have a lot of work left to do.”

Thornton has been used to wearing a letter on his jersey for much of his 24-year career, donning one in 18 different seasons and spending seven of them as a captain.

This one was a cool moment for both him and the team.

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