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Shawn Showed Brawn for B's

Monday, 04.28.2008 / 11:49 AM ET / Features
By John Bishop  -
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Shawn Showed Brawn for B\'s
Last July 1, the Boston Bruins signed forward Shawn Thornton.

"He's a thick, physical player," said Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli of Thornton that afternoon. "He's earned everything he's gotten."

"[Thornton's] strong and heavy on the puck. He'll defend his teammates (and) is a very good forechecker…and he's going to add to our size.

"I'm trying to strive and get some vigorous (players) and he is going to help us in that regard," he said.

So, with one stroke of a pen, the Bruins had turned a corner.

No longer willing to be pushed around by the NHL's elite, the signing of Thornton was the first step along a road that would bring a very tough Boston squad to the TD Banknorth Garden.

And Thornton, Toronto's seventh round choice (190th overall) in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, worked, fought and punched his way into the hearts of the Hub of Hockey by leaving every ounce of his energy on the ice every game.

"Yah," said a less intense Thornton during the team's breakup day, "It was a good year and I had fun.

"And the city, I am getting to know it now, and staying here over the summer will probably help learn a little bit more."

Boston certainly had fun getting to know Thornton, whether it was through his on-ice effort or his popular vlog on

In 58 games for the Bruins (having lost 20 contests to a broken foot), Boston's newest beat cop pounded his way to 74 penalty minutes while taking on some of the National Hockey League's toughest pugilists including Andre Roy, Brian McGrattan, Andrew Peters, Donald Brashear (twice) and Chris Neil.

Thornton's unofficial record was certainly very good in those on-ice bouts, but surprisingly, it was his work on Boston's fourth line (where he earned 4-3-7 totals) that made his first year in Black & Gold so memorable.

Often skating alongside fellow B's policeman Jeremy Reich, Thornton, Reich and their center (frequently Vladimir Sobotka or Petteri Nokelainen) wrought havoc against the opposition as they took the body time, and time again.

It surely took a toll on that line, but if you ask Thornton, it was all worth it -- for the team.

"We have a great bunch of guys in here," he said. "They battled hard all year, went through a lot of adversity, but that made our team a little bit tighter.

"I wish we could have pulled out game seven…I wish we were still playing.

"But all in all it was a pretty productive year," he said.

It was a pretty productive year for the Bruins, who, while picked last by many preseason publications, surprised the hockey world by taking the east-leading Montreal Canadiens to seven games in the Stanley Cup quarterfinals despite missing talented players like Patrice Bergeron and Manny Fernandez for much of the season.

Thornton, who won a Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2007, said that he believed that the Bruins are on track for some big things.

"Chicago and Anaheim were the only two places that I have ever been, and I don’t know what it was like before this year, but I think Peter and Claude have done a great job in pointing things in the right direction," said Thornton.

"I think we have a good team here…I am excited for next year, but I think that they are going to have some tough decisions to make because we have so many young guys here.

"It's exciting," he said.




1 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
2 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
3 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
4 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
5 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
6 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
7 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
8 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54


P. Bergeron 81 23 32 2 55
L. Eriksson 81 22 25 1 47
M. Lucic 81 18 26 13 44
C. Soderberg 82 13 31 10 44
B. Marchand 77 24 18 5 42
D. Hamilton 72 10 32 -3 42
R. Smith 81 13 27 7 40
T. Krug 78 12 27 13 39
D. Krejci 47 7 24 7 31
C. Kelly 80 7 21 6 28
T. Rask 34 21 13 .922 2.30
N. Svedberg 7 5 1 .918 2.33
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