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Joe Thornton's Fan Shootout answers

Who was your favorite player growing up, and why do you wear No. 19?

- Benny Seltzer, Fair Lawn, N.J.

My favorite player growing up was Wayne Gretzky and I wear No. 19 because my brother's favorite player was Steve Yzerman.

What was the toughest part of your hockey career before you got to the NHL?

- Griffin Pacholzuk-Fisher, Kelowna, B.C.

Bus rides from Sault Ste. Marie to Ottawa (in the OHL).

If you could play alongside any two wingers in the NHL who aren't on the Sharks, who would they be?

- Darren Surrette, Halifax, N.S.

Rick Nash and Simon Gagne

The Bantam AA team in my town is really bad this year. Should I try out, or play for a lower-level team?

- Lewis Parker, Brandon, Man.

You should try out for whichever team you think you will have the most fun on. That's the most important thing about playing hockey.

What's it like on the road? Do you get to do anything in the towns, or do you just play and leave?

- Sarah Parrott, Atlanta

We don't get too much time to do things on the road. Most of the time we get into a city the afternoon before a game. We'll go out to dinner that night, get up the next day and play the game and then fly out to the next city after the game. Sometimes we get extra days in certain cities, but it's always changing.

How did playing in Switzerland during the lockout affect your game?

- Andreas Bernhard, Zurich, Switzerland

I think playing on the bigger ice, it helped my skating and helped me learn to be more patient with the puck.

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