Shawn Thornton: Fighting Still Has A Place In The NHL
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On Monday, Shawn Thornton learned that the Bruins would not be offering him a contract for the upcoming season. On Tuesday, the longtime Bruins winger called in to Toucher & Rich to thank the show for all the help through the years with Cuts For A Cause, among other things.
“Thank you, that’s what I was calling for. It was a good run, Cuts For A Cause, when I was on for a few years, thank you very much,” Thornton said. “I appreciate everything.”
Thornton, who’s become a year-round resident in Boston, said he plans on keeping it that way once his playing career is over.
“We don’t plan on selling our place. We plan on coming back here in the offseason next year,” Thornton said. “It’s home now. we love it here. We really do. [My wife] has a lot of friends. I can’t see us going anywhere else. But this just happened 15, 16 hours ago, so it’s been a lot to digest. The [Shawn Thornton Foundation] is still being run out of Boston, we’re still trying to do what we can in the community. This place holds a special place for me even so I want to continue to give back as much as possible, even though I’m not going to be playing here.”
Thornton said he was thankful for general manager Peter Chiarelli’s decision to let him know ahead of free agency in order to give him a fair warning. Thornton also said he doesn’t put too much stock in the talk that fourth-line tough guys are becoming extinct in the NHL.
“There’s trends in the NHL,” Thornton said. “You can tell, with the visor rule coming in, that it’s starting to go that way. I remember in ’06 when Carolina won, everyone was talking about how fighting was done in hockey –‘You can’t win with it. Carolina didn’t have [a fighter], so that’s the way the new NHL is going to be.’ And tough guys had a tough time finding a job the next year. And then in ’07 in Anaheim, we won and we were the toughest team in the league, probably. And then the next year, everybody wanted that model. And when we won here in Boston, it was the same thing, and in ’11-’12 every team wanted to be built like the Boston Bruins. So it kind of goes in waves. Obviously in Boston we got beat by Montreal, and you’re always looking for something, and I understand that. That’s what happens when you lose. But I don’t think fighting’s gone in hockey. And if it is going to be gone, it’s not going to be gone for a number of years. I think that there’s a lot of room for it.”
Fred Toucher mentioned Thornton’s job in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, when he entered the lineup in Game 3 and helped turn the entire series around. Given the way the NHL is changing, does Thornton believe it is still possible to prevent other teams from taking liberties?
“Yeah, I do,” Thornton said. “I mean, it’s going to happen. It’s not perfect. People are still going to hit people with their head down. People are going to get involved in the emotions of the game. As a guy that’s played for a long time, I’ve seen it. Whether people want to admit it or not, it’s a deterrent. When you know you’re there’s the potential that you’re going to get punched in the nose if you do something wrong, it’s a deterrent.”
Thornton also said he hopes to one day hold a job in the media, which prompted Fred to offer up Jon Wallach’s job to Thornton. Listen to the full interview below: