By: Michael Rudd
As of Monday June 16th Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli informed us the fans and fourth line wing Shawn Thornton that he will not be resigned by the Bruins this off season. I would like to take a look at what he brought to the ice the locker room and the city of Boston.
First on the ice Thornton will never been known for his scoring skills outside of a penalty shot goal against the Jets. What he will be known for is his effort and team play. Thornton was part of possibly the best fourth line in the NHL for a few years not because they all could score but because of how they helped in other areas. If the top lines were slacking and taking a shift or two off Julien would roll out the fourth line and they would pester the opponent to know end often getting a scoring chance or two inspiring the rest of the team to pick up their play. In his seven seasons with the Bruins Thornton had 34 goals and 42 assists for 76 points with a minus 7 rating and 748 penalty minutes. If there was ever a questionable play against the Bruins or a dirty hit Thornton was the guy to settle the score by dropping the gloves. His best season stats wise came in the 2010-11 season when he finished with 10 goals and 10 assists for 20 points with a plus 8 rating and 122 penalty minutes.
In the locker room Thornton was a big part of the Bruins heart and soul which made up the tough defensive identity of the team. Thornton was a leader on a very young team having won a cup with the ducks before joining the Bruins. Thornton was a guy we all knew would stick up for every single teammate on the ice and his attitude spread to the rest of the team. You can see his influence in young players like Milan Lucic and Adam McQuaid who frequently drop the gloves in defense of the more skilled players. It wasn't only the toughness that Thornton brought to those young players it was a great work ethic and a never quit attitude. This was evident just about every shift he had where his fourth line would out work the other team in puck battles out skate them to loose pucks and generate chances. This style of play spread to the rest of the team and the best part was Thornton had the ring to back up his style to say hey if you want one of these you have to play this way. All that hard work and effort was rewarded in 2011 as the Bruins won the cup in a seven game series over the Vancouver Canucks.
Thornton's impact was felt far off the ice as well throughout the city of Boston. Thornton has started the Shawn Thornton foundation which is working towards finding cures for cancer and Parkinson's by raising awareness funding research and helping the families affected by these diseases. Thornton also takes part in Cuts for a Cause where fans bid to shave a players head and the proceeds go to the Boston Bruins Foundation and Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center. Thornton has also helped out former Red Sox player Kevin Youkilis for an event benefiting Youk's Kids which supports the health and well being of children. Probably the most notable tho is Thornton's Putts and Punches for Parkinson's golf tournament which has been held at the Ferncroft Country Club in Middleton. I personally got to experience the extent of Thornton's love for the city during a championship DVD singing at Dicks sporting goods which was a great day.
Not only the Bruins but the entire City of Boston will miss Thornton and all he did for everyone. I wish him the best of luck with his future teams and hope to see him behind the bench possibly as a coach back in Boston. He knows the right way to play hockey and it would benefit many young players having him as a coach to teach them the values of hard work and grit those two rings will certainly make sure they listen to him. Good luck Shawn you will be missed.