TORONTO -- Shawn Thornton's day with the Cup was as memorable as most would imagine. Unlike his bull-in-a-china-shop attitude on the ice, however, the forward's second off-ice soiree with Lord Stanley began quietly in the living room of his parent's house in his hometown of Oshawa, Ontario and ended under the radar (if not as quiet) in a Toronto restaurant at a party that featured lots of food, friends and a live band.
In between, Thornton took the Cup to the top of Toronto's CN Tower in order to, as he put it, celebrate "on top of the world." However, prior to his day, Thornton was careful not to tell anyone his plans.
"I think when you tell the city or whatever you’re going to show up somewhere, you end up being there for a lot longer and we don’t have it for that long," said Thornton during a stop in Whitby, Ontario in the backyard of his in-laws, the Chadwicks.
"I’ve seen it happen before, you schedule two hours to be at an event and you end up being there for four or five because you don’t want to say no to the kids.
"I'm fortunate enough that this is my second time and I did a lot of the 'taking care of people' the first time I had it, so this time is a lot more chill, a lot more relaxed," he said.
Relaxed was the word of the day, but it wasn't as if Thornton ignored the many fans who stopped him on the streets of his family's hometowns or on the sidewalks of Toronto. It wasn't as if #22's itinerary was boring, either.
On the contrary, the B's wing made sure to sign as many autographs as possible and gave as many people as he was able a chance to touch and take pictures with the Cup. It's just that his time with his own family and friends remained a persistent priority for the two-time Stanley Cup Champion.
"Yes definitely, that’s what it’s all about for me," he said. "I’m being kind of 'selfish' this time, but it took a lot to get here and I want to enjoy it as much as possible."
That said, Thornton unselfishly took care of many people in Oshawa, Whitby and Toronto as he took the Cup to his parents' house, his wife's parents' backyard and through the streets of T.O.
But as he made his stops, signed autographs and took pictures, both of his Cup experiences were on Thornton's mind.
"It’s the same," said Thornton, at first, when asked to compare. "First time, second time, any time you get this trophy it’s a pretty cool experience.
"I’ve said this a few times, I think this one probably meant a little bit more," continued Thornton. "But I was more surprised the first time we won it [in Anaheim].
"I had a feeling that we’d win it while I was in Boston, so it sounds really arrogant, but I really felt that we had a good team and that we were on the right path.
"This one I felt like I was more a part of, but I never thought I’d get one so the first one I was a little bit more surprised," he said.
Pretty much everyone was surprised along Thornton's route on Tuesday as jaws dropped when Shawn stopped by, unannounced, in spots throughout Toronto.
"I got to see a lot of people I haven’t seen in years," said Thornton of his time with family and friends, prior to heading downtown. "Obviously, when Lord Stanley is around people show up.
"We’re...going to relax a little bit then go to downtown Toronto, a couple photo-ops hopefully and pop in and surprise some people
"Then we’re going to go [to a friend's restaurant] and shut the place down, just friends and family and have a good time."
Was there any doubt?