Skip to content

Bruins’ Thornton latest to suggest lockout will end career

Nov 1, 2012, 12:04 PM EDT

Shawn Thornton AP

Shawn Thornton signed a two-year, $2.2 million deal with the Bruins this offseason but, with the lockout entering day 48, he realizes he might not see all of that money.

He also realizes that, at age 35, a lengthy work stoppage could end his career.

“For guys like me I have a few years left and I’m kind of caught in the middle and squeezed out on both sides,” he told’s Joe Haggerty. “If this goes on for a year or two then I’m probably done and I have to go back to working for a living.

“That’s fine. I’ve done it before. I worked in a steel factory when I was younger. But on the other side I’d like to play out the last two years of my contract and be a little bit ahead after fighting 400 times over the last 15 years.”

Thornton is the latest player to openly suggest either 1) time is not on his side, or 2) he needs to play to keep his job.

Others include…

Kimmo Timonen (link): “If this thing drags on another two or three months who knows, I might lose my motivation and we will see what happens after.”

Daniel Alfredsson (link): “I think the longer [the lockout’s] been going here, I don’t feel as eager to get back.”

Jaromir Jagr (link): “I don’t have many games left. I would like to play in the U.S. as soon as possible, like everybody. For this type of hockey [European], I’ve still got time left. But for the NHL, I don’t have many games left.”

Sean O’Donnell (link): “If this goes long or we miss the whole year, then my career is done.”

Justin Falk (link): “I need a season here. It’s a tough situation. We stand together as a union, but there’s such a variety of players — guys on the bubble with one-year contracts that need games to play in this league…I want this to be a start of a career in the National Hockey League. It’s hard not to worry this could do a lot of damage in my career. I need to keep progressing because there’s always someone knocking on the door.”

While these comments aren’t necessarily signs of fractures within the NHLPA, they do suggest union members haven’t forgotten how profoundly the last work stoppage terminated careers.

Eric Macramalla, the author of PHT’s Ask a Lawyer series, estimates about 240 NHL players who played in 2003-04 didn’t return after the lockout.


Players need to ask themselves: Is it worth it?

Modano reminds players: “You’re only in the game so long”

  1. capesouth - Nov 1, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Have to feel for these types of guys. The character-type, role player on a team who gets paid a lot of money, but less than most NHLers, and definitely isn’t set for the rest of his life to the point where he can just sit back and relax. They want to get as much out of their playing days as possible and they seem to appreciate the game a little more.

  2. hosewater2 - Nov 1, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    …and like the flag-waving card-carrying union idiot that you are Shawn, I’m sure you’ll happily martyr yourself to go down with the ship when in actuality you were always a bubble player with one foot in the ECHL.

    • rogersjd16 - Nov 1, 2012 at 12:56 PM

      Wow what a pathetically ignorant comment. Every single GM in the NHL would take a 4th liner like Thornton on their team for the relatively “cheap” price tag he comes at. And “union idiot” just shows how truly uninformed you are with the CBA negotiations. Go hang out in ESPN chat rooms.

      • hosewater2 - Nov 1, 2012 at 1:20 PM

        ” Every single GM in the NHL would take a 4th liner like Thornton”

        Then why is he out of work when the lockout ends? Did you even read the article??

      • capesouth - Nov 1, 2012 at 4:46 PM

        He’s not..he just signed a new contract…did YOU read the article? I doubt it bc you jumped to conclusions before actually thinking about what you’re saying. His point was that he is old enough now that he is thinking about retirement and each day that passes, bc the idiot owners won’t even come to the table, effects his career in a major way. by the way, he has two rings…that doesn’t happen by coincidence.

    • hockeyflow33 - Nov 1, 2012 at 1:08 PM

      He has two Cups and you’re a moron

    • sabatimus - Nov 2, 2012 at 1:42 PM

      Ignoramus attack!

  3. habsman - Nov 1, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    The players cannot win this “staredown.” As more games are cancelled, more money is being lost by players that they will never be able to recoup. And although the owners are losing money in the short term as well, their careers aren’t as finite as the players. The best the PA can hope for is to make the best of the leagues offer and stop the bleeding. A 50/50 split with the owners should result in increased salaries as predicted league revenues increase over the term of the new CBA. As a matter of fact, players salaries have greatly increased over the term of the last agreement. Unfourtunately, it may take another set of uncashed paycheques before the PA is forced by its members to come back to the table.

  4. bcjim - Nov 1, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Dont tell us, tell your boys Fehr. Geez.

  5. elvispocomo - Nov 1, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    Man, does Thornton love to exaggerate. Based on the 12 years covered at, he has fought 215 times in that span. But those other 3 years he’s talking about must surely account for nearly another 200 fights.

    I think whatever the number he’s had is, it’s probably at least one too many if that’s how well his memory works.

    I can definitely understand the appeal of going out on your own terms, although a conservative take home of $2M for him over the last 5 years is probably enough to tide him over for awhile if he managed his money properly.

    • hosewater2 - Nov 1, 2012 at 1:19 PM

      Good point. Let’s also not forget that these guys are capable of gainful employment when their careers end just like everyone else. I don’t buy the whole “short career” argument that their agents spew (@awalsh looking at you). Look at Stu Grimson.

      • elvispocomo - Nov 1, 2012 at 1:28 PM

        Certainly their earning potential is not what it would be for most players after hockey, but unless they’re spending all their money on hookers and blow, they should be able to have put away some money to not have to worry about that for awhile. The guys that have only had a couple of seasons might be in a different boat (buy a nice house, get a new car, pay off your parent’s mortgage, etc) but they’d expect future earnings as well.

  6. id4joey - Nov 1, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    alleluia, brother habsman. We are but a few that can speak intelligently here. Most are content with offering as many expletives as possible to insult others. For them it is too difficult to offer an intelligent perspective. Yours was a refreshing post.

    • hockeyflow33 - Nov 1, 2012 at 4:58 PM

      The two of you are some of the dumbest people on here

  7. 8man - Nov 1, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    Wow! So it took being on the precipice of hockey armageddon for me to agree with habsman.

    I don’t think anyone wins. Because each day there is no hockey and the more that gets cancelled the smaller the larger pie becomes. And whether it’s 50%, 51% or 57%, its gonna be smaller than what it should have been if these guys just figured out earlier.

    The Winter Classic, a regular season game that was gaining as much interest as any New Year’s Day bowl game is on the verge of being cancelled and with it…a potential staple to make the NHL interesting to even the most casual of fans. And this year, it was scheduled for yet another memorable venue with an original six matchup. Huge loss to us all. Sad, really.

    Now, I’m just angry…

    • thesableo - Nov 2, 2012 at 1:19 PM

      The revenue split is not the only issue. Things like eliminating arbitration (ridiculous) and extending entry-level contracts and RFA periods take money and power from the players and give it to the owners. I think these are the real issues that they cannot compromise on. And really, the players shouldn’t.

      Of course that doesn’t mean I’m not also angry about losing the season and the Winter Classic.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kane (2123)
  2. P. Kessel (1537)
  3. M. Richards (1361)
  4. N. Backstrom (1250)
  5. M. Giordano (1145)