|Shawn Thornton ‘pissed’ it took so long, but glad lockout’s over||01.06.13 at 10:22 pm ET|
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.”
|If NHLPA wanted a Bruin in the same room as Jeremy Jacobs this week, Shawn Thornton would have gone||12.07.12 at 3:39 pm ET|
When the owners and players set their “rosters,” so to speak, for the players/owners-only meetings this week in New York, the group of owners set to attend was a rather interesting one. Ron Burkle (Penguins), Mark Chipman (Jets), Jeff Vinik (Lightning) and Murray Edwards (Flames) — all of whom figured to have a stronger interest to get back on the ice than some of the hardliners — joined Jeremy Jacobs of the Bruins (perceived as a real hardliner’s hardline) and Larry Tanenbaum of the Maple Leafs.
Of the group of owners present, Jacobs was perceived as the toughest negotiator of the bunch, and one who’s been a bit of a target for frustrated fans and players alike. Also the chairman of the board of governors, Jacobs is viewed as a bottom-line guy, while the newcomers on the owners’ side likely encouraged players who wanted more amicable negotiations.
Shawn Thornton, who works for Jacobs, was not among the players present for the meetings, but it wasn’t because he would feel uncomfortable in the negotiating room with his boss.
Thornton said Thursday that he “definitely thought about going to New York” for the negotiations, but said previous engagements with the Boston Pops (Wednesday) and Kevin Youkilis‘ “Youk’s Kids” foundation (Thursday) prevented him from going.
However, Thornton said that if the NHLPA decided it would be best to have a Bruin in the room with Jacobs, he would do it.
“Yeah,” he said. “It’s a business, right? It’s a negation. I don’t think they take it personally, or they shouldn’t. I don’t think the players should either. If I got a text saying that it would have been important for me to be there, or for someone on our team to be there, I definitely would have made the effort and would maybe not be [working with the Pops and and attending the ‘Youk’s Kids’ event]. But I talked to them about it and they feel like we had some pretty good representation there. If Sidney [Crobsy]’s there, I don’t think they need me.”
Eighteen players ended up attending the meetings: Crosby, Craig Adams, David Backes, Michael Cammalleri, B.J. Crombeen, Mathieu Darche, Shane Doan, Ron Hainsey, Shawn Horcoff, Jamal Mayers, Manny Malhotra, Andy McDonald, Ryan Miller, George Parros, Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis, Jonathan Toews and Kevin Westgarth.
|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.