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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 - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
2 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
3 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
4 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
5 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
6 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
7 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
8 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69


P. Bergeron 80 32 36 12 68
L. Eriksson 82 30 33 13 63
D. Krejci 72 17 46 4 63
B. Marchand 77 37 24 21 61
R. Spooner 80 13 36 -9 49
T. Krug 81 4 40 9 44
M. Beleskey 80 15 22 6 37
Z. Chara 80 9 28 12 37
J. Hayes 75 13 16 -12 29
D. Pastrnak 51 15 11 3 26
T. Rask 31 22 8 .915 2.56
J. Gustavsson 11 9 1 .908 2.72
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