Bruins forward Shawn Thornton  said Sunday night that he felt the lockout could have been resolved much sooner were it not for some of the league’s tactics. The Bruins’ enforcer was quick to point out that the terms of the new CBA are very similar to the players’ counter-offer to a take-it-or-leave-it proposal from the league in December, and that the league should have simply accepted it then.
“The settlement that we just made is almost identical to our counter-offer [in early December],” Thornton told WEEI.com. “It wasn’t us waiting. It was a lot of theatrics and a lot of blowing up and the NHL  locking us out for another month to basically give us what we have now. I wouldn’t put that on the players.”
While Thornton is glad that hockey is back, he said he’s angry that the lockout lasted as long as it did. However, with the 113-day work stoppage in the rear-view mirror, he feels it’s important to take a more positive approach.
“I think the anger won’t help anything,” he said. “Was I pissed that it took that long? Yeah, of course I was. I mean, we missed half a season. That’s never fun. It was kind of pointless, but we are at this point either way, so let’s just focus on getting ready.”
Thornton also hinted that NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr had something along the lines of what to expect in mind, and that the final deal was very similar to that.
“I’m glad he was on our side, let’s put it that way,” Thornton said of Fehr. “He pretty much predicted how it was going to go the whole way, and it was pretty bang-on.”
Asked then if Fehr had given the players an idea of what the final CBA would look like, Thornton backed off a bit and said that Fehr simply did a good job of keeping players at ease despite the uncertainty of the situation.
“I guess his patience and the way he delivered information to us kind of settled the masses and kept us strong the whole way through, that’s for sure,” Thornton said.
Though he was cautiously optimistic throughout the process, Thornton said he never ruled out the possibility of the league going through with canceling the season.
“We said [the season wouldn’t be cancelled] in 2004 when we lost the whole season,” he recalled. “Everyone was talking about, ‘We can’t be the first league to cancel a season, we can’t be the first league to cancel a season, we’re not strong enough,’ and then it was gone. I wasn’t putting anything past them.”