|Shawn Thornton ‘absolutely pissed,’ calls league’s offers ‘take, take, take’||11.20.12 at 3:16 pm ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton said Tuesday that while he is furious with the lack of progress made between the NHL and NHLPA in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement, he is trying to be not let his emotions get the best of him. Players such as Ian White of the Red Wings have been outspoken against commissioner Gary Bettman, with White calling the commissioner an “idiot.”
“I’m definitely frustrated,” Thornton told WEEI.com. “I want to be playing, there’s no doubt about that. [I’m] absolutely pissed off that it’s the middle of November, going into late November and we’re still doing this, but I don’t think me badmouthing anyone is going to speed the process up. I’m just trying to not be as emotional as I’d like to be because it just gets me all fired up. That doesn’t really do anything, except when I’m sparring with my boxing coach, and he doesn’t like it.”
Thornton, 35, has been unable to find work since the lockout began. There was some talk of him going to Belfast to play for the Giants (the team the B’s played in 2010 preseason exhibition in a city in which he has family ties), but financial issues arose, likely over who would foot the bill for the insurance policy that would be taken out. Thornton said he is still looking and that he would play in Europe if the opportunity presented itself.
“Nothing’s out there,” he said. “If something comes up I would be more than willing to go. I’d like to be playing by now, but unfortunately it’s the top guys that are getting those jobs.”
Thornton has attended meetings in Toronto, and more recently, in New York. He put his full support behind union head Donald Fehr while getting a shot in at the league’s most recent offer.
“I think he’s done a great job so far trying to navigate through this as best as possible because it hasn’t been easy on the other side,” he said. “I mean, in this last offer, there’s nothing that the players get out of it. It’s just all take, take, take.”
|Tuukka Rask, Daniel Paille join Shawn Thornton for third annual Parkinson’s golf tournament||08.06.12 at 4:09 pm ET|
Monday marked Thornton’s third annual “Putts and Punches for Parkinson’s” at the Ferncroft Country Club in Middleton, a tournament featuring Bruins teammates to raise money for the disease that his grandmother battled for years before she died in 2008.
“Some things have had to come together, contract-wise and all that stuff,” Thornton said. “Staying in town definitely helped. The support from everyone around it — pretty much everyone comes back — there’s a couple of cancelations every year, but somebody’s waiting to step in. The support’s been pretty remarkable.”
Participating in this year’s tournament were teammates Daniel Paille and Tuukka Rask, the only other Bruins currently in town. Though the tournament is about more than golf, Thornton, who does plenty of golfing and boxing in the offseason, said his teammates could get the better of him.
“Paisy is naturally good at everything,” Thornton said of his linemate. “I don’t think he knows how good he is at everything. Tuukka, I haven’t played with him since he got back from Finland, but I heard he’s hitting the ball a mile.”
Rask had no problem confirming his superiority over Thornton on the golf course when asked whether he could beat the veteran tough guy.
“I could on a good day,” Rask said. “… I’ve finally straightened out my drive, so I’ve been good. Now that I’m talking about it, I’m sure I’ll suck today.”
|Daniel Paille: The other Bruin in ‘Ted’||07.20.12 at 12:38 pm ET|
While Shawn Thornton makes a brief but notable appearance in the movie “Ted,” he isn’t the only Bruin in it. Standing next to Thornton in his scene is fellow Merlot-liner Daniel Paille.
The scene, which features the B’s tough guy screaming, “You’re an [expletive],” jumping out of the crowd at a Norah Jones concert and trying to attack Mark Wahlberg‘s character at the Hatch Shell, was shot last summer. While Thornton has a line in the brief cameo, standing next to him and minding his own business is Paille.
“I was standing there the whole time. I’m literally right beside him but you probably don’t see me because it’s more focused on him,” Paille told WEEI.com this week. “I believe the clip on him, you can barely recognize him. If you don’t know that Shawn’s in it, you won’t know [I am].
“I think Shawn did a great job. He shows his athletic skills,” Paille added with a laugh. “I don’t think there will be any bloopers of him. He did pretty good the whole time.”
Thornton got the gig by nearly having a cameo in the series finale of “Entourage.” He’d gone to the set of “Ted” to meet with Wahlberg about it during the 2010-11 season, and though the team’s Stanley Cup run that year conflicted with shooting, he had made enough of an impression on Seth MacFarlane to land the role in “Ted.” The story of how Paille wound up on screen is a bit more casual.
“Shawn was already pre-planned, and I got a call that night asking if I wanted to stand next to him,” Paille said. “I was more than willing to do that, and for me it was a lot more fun than — I don’t think I’d want a role if they asked me. I’d be nervous to make a mistake and waste film time. It was a lot of fun.”
Thornton himself was nervous about having a line as well (“I was like, ‘[Expletive], I can’t act. Don’t give me a line!’ “ Thornton said), but Paille feels he pulled off the line — consisting of one curse and two other words — pretty well.
“I’m sure he was OK with that,” Paille said. “He’s yelled some worse things.”
|Shawn Thornton talks Tuukka Rask, Malcolm Subban and the Merlot Line||06.26.12 at 6:14 pm ET|
On Tuukka Rask being the No. 1 goalie this coming season:
“I’ve been texting with him. He’s back in Finland, so I haven’t had a full conversation with him, but I’ve texted back and forth with him. Not about anything hockey-wise, just life stuff.
“It’s June, so I’m not too worried about it right now. I have all the confidence in the world in Tuukka. His numbers have proven that he can start in this league. All his teammates love him. He’s a great guy. They still have to re-sign him, but I’m very confident with him between the pipes.”
“I’m ecstatic. I’ve loved playing with those guys. We kind of know where each other are on the ice now. We don’t have to talk, we’ve been with each other for so long now that we can kind of just read off each other. That should help us in years to come.”
On the chemistry between fourth-liners:
“I’ve been on it longer, I guess. I get along with them very well as friends, first and foremost, and obviously as teammates. I’m happy to have them back.”
On having a Subban (Malcolm Subban) in the organization:
“I don’t follow junior hockey, so I didn’t even know [P.K. Subban] had a brother playing, to tell you the truth. If he was the best player available and he’s going to make our team better in the future, then I mean Peter’s a pretty smart man and I’m sure they made the right choice.”
Rob Bradford contributed [a.k.a. did all the legwork] to this report.
|Looking back and ahead: Shawn Thornton||05.21.12 at 6:32 pm ET|
With the Bruins’ season in the books, WEEI.com will take a look at each player on the roster one-by-one to provide some perspective on what went wrong this season and what the future holds for the 2011 champions.
2011-12 stats: 81 games played, 5 goals, 8 assists, 13 points, minus-7
Contract status: signed through 2013-14 season ($1.1 million cap hit)
Looking back: The Bruins’ fourth-line enforcer was coming off a career year (10 goals, 10 assists) as he entered the 2011-12 season, and he returned with his usual linemates of Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell.
Thornton’s offensive production wasn’t nearly what it was a season ago, but after failing to reach the 10 goal plateau until he was 33, the expectation wasn’t exactly for him to produce 10 goals a season. The expectation for him was to serve his role as a fourth-line energy player and to drop the gloves to help swing the game’s momentum in the Bruins’ favor. In the case of the latter, Thornton came through big time, tying Brandon Prust for the league lead in fighting majors with 20.
Thornton dropped the gloves with many of his common dance partners this season (Eric Boulton, whom he fought for the eighth time in his career, Krys Barch twice, Jody Shelly, etc.), but one of the Bruins heavyweight’s more interesting bouts of the season came when he squared off with former longtime Bruin Mark Stuart on Jan. 10 after the Jets defenseman threw him down at the end of a play. Thornton won the battle of similarly sized former teammates in a game the Bruins would go on to win.
When the playoffs rolled around, the Bruins were forced to scratch Thornton in Games 6 and 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Capitals. The scratch was more out of necessity than performance, as the B’s needed to get Jordan Caron into the lineup in case the injured Patrice Bergeron had to leave either of the two final games.
Looking ahead: Thornton was one of many Bruins set to become unrestricted free agents in the offseason, but the team took care of him by giving him a two-year extension worth $1.1 million annually.
While it is far from big money and keeps him as one of the Bruins’ lowest-paid players, Thornton’s new pact means that for the first time in his career, he will be paid at least $1 million in a season for the first time in his career. He made $800,000 last season and $825,000 in 2010-11 as part of a two-year deal that had an $812,500 cap hit and $25,000 signing bonus.
While anything close to a repeat of Thornton’s 2010-11 season offensively would be a pleasant surprise for the Bruins and make him a steal at his cost, the B’s shouldn’t be counting on Thornton to be a source of scoring. They should count on him to police the ice, get shots on net and keep the puck in the offensive zone. If history is any indication, he shouldn’t let them down. What you’ve seen is what you’re likely to get with Shawn Thornton.
|Will Bruins go with Jordan Caron or Shawn Thornton in Game 7?||04.25.12 at 1:28 pm ET|
Shawn Thornton or Jordan Caron?
That’s the question that Bruins coach Claude Julien faces going into the most important game of the season. Caron played in his first career postseason game Sunday when Julien called his number for Game 6.
“I was waiting for that for a little while, so I was pretty happy when Claude told me I was going to play,” Caron said. “It went well, so I was pretty happy with it.”
Julien had been saying throughout the series that he was keeping Caron in mind when it came to Boston’s lineup. When Patrice Bergeron had to leave Game 5 but was healthy enough to go in Game 6, the B’s went with Caron, presumably because he could play on the second line if anything were to happen to the Selke finalist.
On Wednesday, Bergeron was on the ice for morning skate but did not take faceoffs. That means that he’s still banged up a little bit, something that could have been assumed when No. 37 wasn’t on the ice in Tuesday’s practice.
Julien has confirmed multiple times that Bergeron will be in the lineup in Game 7, but if his status is still even the least bit shaky, the team could elect to keep Caron in and Thornton out. Another option is to play Thornton anyway, and if anything happens to Bergeron the team could explore putting Brian Rolston on right wing of the line with Rich Peverley at center.
With Caron unsure of his status, he’s had to do something he’s done a lot of over the last two seasons: prepare as though he’s playing and hope for the best.
“I think a lot of it is mentally. You just need to prepare,” he said. “You don’t know if you’re playing or not, so I think you’ve just got to be ready to jump in and do your job.”
Said Julien: “We talked to him before the series started, because I thought if anything, he was a real good player for us in that last stretch of the regular season. It was tough to take him out [before the playoffs] but we went with some experienced guys, first and foremost. The one thing that we said to him ‘ we said you’ve got to stay ready because there’s going to come a point where we’re going to need you and obviously we did last game.”
|Shawn Thornton contributes to Bruins whether or not he’s playing||04.24.12 at 4:13 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Shawn Thornton embodies what the Bruins are all about in so many ways, but will he be in the lineup in the biggest game of the season?
Boston had to scratch Thornton in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals due to Patrice Bergeron‘s situation. With Bergeron clearly not 100 percent, Claude Julien had to insert Jordan Caron — a good two-way forward with some experience as a top-six guy — into the lineup in case anything happened to Bergeron during the game. That meant, as was the case when Tyler Seguin heated up in the third round against the Lightning, that Thornton had to sit.
Now, with Bergeron definitely in the Bruins’ lineup for Wednesday’s Game 7, it is unknown whether he will be healthy enough for the B’s to run the risk of going without Caron. Thornton doesn’t know his status, but the veteran isn’t complaining.
“This is my 15th year,” Thornton said. “I’ve been through this a number of times. I don’t know how many playoff games, but I will stay ready for when I’m called upon, whether it’s next game, or whenever it may be. If it’s not next game, then I’ll do whatever I can to support my teammates.”
Last year, a concussion to Bergeron led to Seguin jumping into the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the first two rounds. Seguin scored three goals in the two games the team was without Bergeron, so he remained in the lineup and Thornton was scratched. Seguin looks back on it all and remembers Thornton remaining supportive of him even after the rookie took the veteran leader’s spot in the lineup.
“Thorty’s a great team guy,” Seguin said. “He was the guy that definitely helped me align the way all last year. It doesn’t matter what role he’s doing for the team, he’s always going to be doing whatever he can to help the team out and help us be successful.”
If Thornton’s in the lineup for Wednesday, the B’s will know what they’re getting from the energetic forward. After all, it was a shift by the fourth line — Thornton, Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille — that started to swing the momentum for the Bruins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals last June after the Canucks took it to the B’s in the early going.
Should Thornton not play, the team will still rely on what he brings in the dressing room as a vocal leader. Regardless of whether he’s in the lineup, he always has something to give the Bruins.
” We appreciate him as a player first and foremost and as a person, but what he does when he drops the gloves is something that is part of his strength,” Julien said. “Sometimes a coach has to make decisions. It’s nothing personal, it’s nothing about necessarily the player’s [experience], it’s what we need for this certain game and that’s all it was.
“He understands that stuff. He’s been through it many times, even before he came here. He’s all about the team and whatever we need to do he’s going to support us. He’s as happy as today as he was the day before he got pulled out of the lineup.”