Skip to content

Shawn Thornton bests just about everyone

Jan 11, 2012, 12:35 AM EDT

The past summer was a dark one for NHL enforcers, but the fact remains that they’re often among the most interesting men in the game. If you want a snapshot of that phenomenon, check out some of this brilliant work by Boston Bruins tough guy Shawn Thornton.

First, he goes toe-to-toe with Vancouver Province columnist Tony Gallagher on CSNNE:

(Personal note: I’m not sure I buy the “Vancouver Canucks totally lack toughness” argument, but perhaps it’s a matter of relativity/semantics. Moving on …)

If that wasn’t impressive enough, Thornton shows that he’s more than just a tough guy by scoring a caveat-free beauty as part of tonight’s 5-3 win against the Winnipeg Jets. You can see some of his great work as part of this highlight package:

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

Hockey fans likely have varying opinions about the Bruins as a whole depending upon which team(s) they’re pulling for, but let’s face it. Thornton is pretty awesome.

  1. salmon90 - Jan 11, 2012 at 12:49 AM

    What is going on? It’s like WWE combined with Gerry Springer! Is that a real show?!!

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 11, 2012 at 2:09 AM

      No, that’s just what happens when a member of the Vancouver media decides to flap his gums.

    • nhlbruins90 - Jan 11, 2012 at 2:35 AM

      Yeah, it’s a real show. A good one too. I don’t know what you saw in that clip, but I saw three people having a great little hockey debate. Not boring, polite questions with canned answers, but a sharp and entertaining exchange.

    • Ralphie - Jan 11, 2012 at 8:37 AM

      You keep whining because you can’t handle the truth. Anyone who is not a Canucks ball washer fully understands what their “game” is. The baiting, the flopping, the bullshit stick in the neck / face crap, the biting, the hair pulling, the nasty stuff just after the whistle. They work the ref’s…it’s all there. They do that to bait the other team to react so they can get their special teams on the ice. That’s their game plan, and it’s gutless because that’s the way their organization operates – top to bottom – that IS their team charter. Their coach and GM always follow up controversial / important games by using the media to justify their means (they did it in the finals also) with their bullshit pontificating when they know what they instigated and what their organizational game plan is. Don’t whine that they play by the rules either. They stretch and break the rules of gamesmanship, they agitate, they know exactly what they are doing. Look what Thornton is saying; 7 on 1 – gutless – and they get away with it. I’m sure if the Canucks stopped their crap the Bruins wouldn’t retaliate and you’d have a much clean(er) game – but they won’t because they don’t know any other way to play the game.

      I hope the B’s see the gutless wonders in the finals. Guaranteed you won’t see 11 power plays like Vancouver manipulated the other day. The Canucks aren’t built to beat the B’s in a fairly ref’d game.

      • hoovertower - Jan 11, 2012 at 12:29 PM

        Ralphie, at some point you have to look in the mirror…maybe you’ll have the balls to do it in a few years after you move out of your mom’s basement. You call the Canucks whiners, when all Boston fans and media have been crying for days about being “gamed by the refs” (and then Shanahan). Sorry to break it to you, but Boston is reviled as the dirtiest team in the league, and the slew-foots and low-bridges do not help their case.

        The Canucks are not saints and they have their share of rats, but to think that Saturday’s game wasn’t clean solely because the Canucks are baiters and aggressors is laughably ignorant. The Bruins had 7 powerplays and a penalty shot, plus a goal off a mystery non-icing call. Remember those? Probably not. Neither you nor Marchand can own up to your mistakes; I guess that’s to be expected.

      • Ralphie - Jan 11, 2012 at 3:17 PM

        I strike a nerve there Hoover? The truth sucks, huh? I don’t care what anyone thinks about the B’s – call em’ whatever you want, but they’re a hell of a lot tougher than the Canucks and they don’t have a top-to-bottom organizational philosophy about playing the game like gutless, sneaky weasels. Deal with it cause it’s all true and it ain’t going away. No matter how much you whine.

  2. danphipps01 - Jan 11, 2012 at 12:55 AM

    Thornton’s pretty much the only respectable enforcer in the business. He’s intelligent, articulate, talented (for a fourth-liner, but hey, that’s still more than most – see Orr, Colton) and a very honest, straight-up guy. He’s a lot like Mark Recchi, I think. That’s hard to disrespect.

    • davebabychreturns - Jan 11, 2012 at 12:57 PM

      Totally agreed. Perhaps he could learn to pick his spots just slightly better but at the end of the day when you want a guy to play smashmouth hockey and play the role of sheriff without hurting you on the ice, Thornton is your man.

  3. taytay099 - Jan 11, 2012 at 1:07 AM

    I hate Tony Gallagher so seeing him get shot down by Thornton was awesome.

  4. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 11, 2012 at 1:09 AM

    Such a beauty.

  5. zach28 - Jan 11, 2012 at 1:25 AM

    this leafs fan just became a shawn thornton fan.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 11, 2012 at 1:46 AM

      Colton Orr for Shawn Thornton….in our dreams.

  6. loinstache - Jan 11, 2012 at 2:17 AM

    Canucks fan can here but Thorton is one of my favourite Bruins. You aren’t a hockey fan if you can’t appreciate a gritty player who can play all aspects of the game within the rules.

  7. loinstache - Jan 11, 2012 at 2:19 AM

    Also the fight on sat against Weise was one of the most epic bouts I’ve seen in ages

    • davebabychreturns - Jan 11, 2012 at 12:54 PM

      Is this like a Simpsons “wow, former president James Taylor” moment, or a subtlely hilarious poke at Weise?

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 12, 2012 at 5:42 AM

        “I’m going to punch you in the face, and you’re going to float there and like it.”

  8. bertilfox - Jan 11, 2012 at 7:16 AM

    I cannot remember a regular season Hockey game that has generated the pre-game buzz, followed by the post game drama that this one did. If not for Marchand’s cheap hit, it would’ve been perfect. Unfortunately for the Bruins, the ‘nucks would not have won without it. The game itself was tense, maddening and ultimately awesome, despite the outcome.

    I must say that Michael Felger’s (in studio with Thornton) passion for hockey, stoked daily on the radio in the afternoon drive time, has helped to raise the profile of the sport to a point unseen since perhaps the ’70s. He is often irritating as hell, but he is no homer and his opinion is honest, consequences be damned. There is now REAL hockey talk on the radio in Boston, unlike a few years ago, when there was only Sox Talk, interspersed with some Patriots Talk. Hockey was invisible. Thanks, Mike (and The Sports Hub).

    • elvispocomo - Jan 11, 2012 at 1:08 PM

      While you can argue Marchand out of the game was detrimental to the Bruins (because of the major penalty that resulted, not because he would have changed the outcome himself), you can also argue Salo taken out of the game for the Canucks was a pretty big blow. Probably our steadiest D-man, he makes a difference in games and is one of the underrated guys around the league when healthy.

      While I can’ t say I agree with Felger and Thornton’s overall assertions about the Canucks, Gallagher is not the guy Vancouverites want representing us to other fan bases. Most of the time we don’t want him representing us to ours! Thornton hardly sounded like an ivy leaguer himself (didn’t really expect him to be a great public speaker just that they’d have a more articulate guy if he’s a regular on a sports talk show) but he did look smart compared to Gallagher.

      Gallagher did have a good point that it’s not the norm to have a guy fight twice in a short span. Thornton’s right too in that it does happen. It is a part of the unwritten fighters code which Cherry has mentioned in the past you shouldn’t ask a guy to fight again in a short span, but when it does happen there’s usually a period in between or at least an intermission.

      The last point by Gallagher was good though and I was dismayed to hear they didn’t really want to answer the question once they stopped getting softballs lobbed at them – or weren’t throwing fastballs back at Gallagher. He was to subtle the first time around so he had to ask it more directly to get any response at all.

      Gallagher was clearly being facetious trying to get a response (even he doesn’t believe we have no toughness, no one in the league is without any whatsoever) but was genuinely interested in their response to why Vancouver is so hated. It’s hardly an adequate response to quote the question, “well, they have no toughness!” and then call them weaselly (something Gallagher rightly pointed out most teams employ players who illicit that response, Marchand certainly comes to mind as one of the tops in the game at being a weasel). I had to laugh though at the parting shot that seems favoured when a lot of arguments don’t go Bruins’ fans way and they need an escape: the Bruins won the cup.

      Hey, trying to be objective here, and I’m not sure I’ll see a lot of that in the responses from Bruins fans, but I will say anything that gets the Bruins fan base talking about hockey is not bad when you mention they weren’t talking about it before.

      • bobwsc - Jan 11, 2012 at 4:37 PM

        if you’re done with the altar your holiness, they need to prep it for morning Mass.

  9. ballistictrajectory - Jan 11, 2012 at 8:12 AM

    I’m waiting for the game where Thornton encounters Alex Burrows away from the benches…

    • elvispocomo - Jan 11, 2012 at 1:28 PM

      I’m sure plenty of teams are waiting for the game where Marchand isn’t protected at all times by Chara, Lucic, Thornton, etc. Thornton himself says nothing will happen to him while he’s there so Marchand must not be able to stand up for himself – well of course he can’t, he ducks at the earliest opportunity remember?

      • drewsylvania - Jan 11, 2012 at 4:13 PM

        Marchand fights. Burrows doesn’t. The End.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. K. Hayes (1838)
  2. R. Johansen (1767)
  3. S. Crosby (1690)
  4. J. Spezza (1484)
  5. A. Ovechkin (1336)
  1. C. MacArthur (1263)
  2. J. Giguere (1239)
  3. D. Alfredsson (1233)
  4. S. Mason (1218)
  5. R. Malone (1202)