BOSTON (CBS) – Like every NHL player that wasn’t involved in the NHL Labor negotiations, Boston Bruins forward Shawn Thornton woke up to some great news on Sunday morning.
“I woke up at 5:45 to go work out, and Andy Ference had just text me a few minutes before. I had to be the first guy to get back to him; I don’t think anybody else (was awake),” Thornton said of receiving news the NHL and NHLPA had tentatively agreed to a deal to end the lockout. “It was a pretty good day.”
So now NHL players can get back to doing what they love, instead of answering questions about when the 113-day lockout would end.
“I needed a shirt that said ‘I don’t know it’s going to end,’” Thornton joked on WBZ-TV’s Sports Final on Sunday Night. “I got asked 400 times a day. It means people care, but when you get asked 400 times a day you get sick of it.”
There are still details to be ironed out, and a deal isn’t expected to be officially agreed on until the end of the week. A brief training camp will likely start over the weekend, and a 48-50 game season should get underway by January 19.
That doesn’t give teams much time to train together, but Thornton doesn’t think that will be an issue for the Bruins.
“That’s where we’re a little more fortunate here. We have everyone back. The same team has been together the last two years, so the whole getting to know each other and all that stuff – we can shrink that in real quickly,” he said. “We know what to expect from Claude and he knows what to expect from us.”
“Getting used to being banged into and all that stuff will probably take a little time. But it’s the same for everyone,” said Thornton. “You can skate as hard as you want, but it’s a little different when you have to run into someone and get going in the other way as quick as possible.”
A condensed schedule will add extra emphasis to every regular season game.
“There are no games you can kind of write off,” said Thornton. “It’s a spring to the finish right to the playoffs, and then you’re into it.”
“I like it; there’s probably going to be a game every day and I’m OK with that,” he added. “Players aren’t really fans of practicing anyways, everyone wants to play games. Lets call a spade a spade, so the more the better.”