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B’s may not bring Thornton back

May 22, 2014, 11:38 AM EDT

Robyn Regehr, Shawn Thornton AP

It seems Shawn Thornton may have played his last game for the Boston Bruins.

Why does it seem that way?

Well, first off, Thornton is 36 and a pending unrestricted free agent, and general manager Peter Chiarelli has already set the table for the popular fourth-liner’s departure.

From Metrowest Daily News:

“Thorty I thought had kind of an up-and-down year,” Chiarelli said. “He got, obviously, the incident with Pittsburgh [that resulted in a 15-game suspension for attacking Brooks Orpik] and you know, there’s trends in hockey and the fisticuffs trend — this doesn’t characterize Thorty as just a fighter because he contributed on that line and that line has had a lot of success in the past — but there is definitely, we’re trending away from that style.

“I had a discussion with Thorty this morning and I said, ‘Look, give me a couple weeks to digest what’s happened and then we’ll go from there.’ “

Helping Chiarelli set that table was Bruins team president Cam Neely, who noted the organization’s displeasure with Thornton’s squirting of PK Subban with a water bottle during the playoffs.

From CSN New England:

It’s interesting to note how much shade Neely throws on Thornton’s actions with the water bottle at the end of Game 5, given how many signs there seem to be that No. 22 won’t be returning to the Black and Gold.

“The water-bottle incident is something that as an organization you don’t like to see happen, to be quite honest with you,” he said.

As popular as Thornton has been in Boston — famously being inserted into the lineup in Game 3 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, and helping the B’s fight back from a 2-0 deficit to beat Vancouver — Chiarelli may want to use the veteran’s roster spot for a younger player. Perhaps one with more speed and skill, if not the toughness that Thornton brought to the table.

The Bruins still have two thirds of the celebrated Merlot Line under contract, with Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille each having one year left before they can become UFAs.

  1. 7mantel - May 22, 2014 at 11:53 AM

    I can see it now Pitt doesn’t resign Orpik and he signs with hometown Boston ,in return Thornton signs with Pitt .The hero turns villain for both teams .

    • miketoasty - May 22, 2014 at 12:03 PM

      I don’t see Orpik signing in Boston, but I could definitely see the Pens kicking the tire for Thornton. They need grit, and who better to bring in that would sure up not only some grit but some bottom six talent as well.

      • 7mantel - May 22, 2014 at 12:08 PM

        Just tossing it out there . It would be interesting to see the fans reaction .

      • hockey412 - May 22, 2014 at 12:13 PM

        That’s exactly what they need is more age on the fourth line. Thornton isn’t the kind of grit they need (and actually they have a fighter, just don’t ever bring him up). I’d be so sick if they signed this one.

      • dboldave - May 22, 2014 at 12:21 PM

        Fans cheer the laundry. Whatever “sins” they committed prior are soon forgotten so long as they play well.

        Personally I think organizations need to explore all options when it comes to players. You can’t ignore a guy who could potentially help you win a cup because fans booed him before. There are always exceptions to this like I doubt you’d see the B’s sign Cooke. But if they had a chance to sign Subban, they would be stupid not to just because he’s been a hated man here in Boston.

      • c9castine - May 22, 2014 at 12:38 PM

        hes not nearly a good enough skater and i doubt some of those guys have any respect for him in the locker room.

        i wouldnt call that bottom 6 “talent”. id like to see the 4th line anchored by marcel goc to start. really good defensive center, plays with an edge, scores 10-15 goals a year. maybe zach sill and jayson megna on his wings. or adam payerl.

        to me, the toughness and grit needs to be added to the top 3 lines. like replace james neal.

      • hockey412 - May 22, 2014 at 12:42 PM

        c9 you have it but I’d use Sill AND Payerl. Payerl-Goc-Sill. They are all natural centers but there’s plenty of time to then from now. That’s a dangerous 4th line in a number of ways.

  2. pjblake2redwings - May 22, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    the days of the fighting goons are coming to an end. These players will fade out and will play in leagues in other countries like the Asia league lol I love the fights and grinders but the NHL wants goals and less incidents like cheap shots and full blown attacks like what happened to Orpik

    • 7mantel - May 22, 2014 at 12:14 PM

      Don’t see that happening , same story back in late 70’s and 80’s . Nature of the beast , there will always be a few teams playing on the edge.

      • c9castine - May 22, 2014 at 12:39 PM

        really?

        because the rules of the game, the awareness in head injuries, and the salary cap are some quick obvious reasons i can think of why this is nothing like the 70s and 80s

      • 7mantel - May 22, 2014 at 2:09 PM

        c9 your right it nothing like the blood baths I watched in the 70’s and 80’s but hockey people and fans cried back then about getting the goons like pjblake stated in his post out of hockey. What is it 40 years and their still here, not that many but still a part of hockey.

      • c9castine - May 22, 2014 at 2:47 PM

        the game seems to be going through ebbs and flows for the past few decades. coming out of the lockout high flying skill teams like pit and washington and vancouver excelled…the game is slowly evolving back into more interference mostly designed through ice coverage and defensive scheming. its not a bad product by any means but its been different the last 4 years as compared to the first 5 coming out of the lockout.

  3. dboldave - May 22, 2014 at 11:55 AM

    I’d be shocked if they brought him back. I think Boston has enough guys who can fight where you don’t really “need” an enforcer in your lineup. He’s a leader for them in the locker room and a well liked player. I just think they would prefer a player who has more skill in the lineup when it comes playoff time. Especially with Spooner and Khokhlachev doing well in Providence.

    • bildomatic - May 22, 2014 at 12:06 PM

      I agree I’d be surprised if he was retained. However, one thing the Bruins have done almost to a fault is draft young promising centers. Spooner and Koko are both centers and there is a reluctance to move them to the wing where they may not be as effective as seen with some other players (i.e. Seguin, Soderberg much better players in the middle than on the wing). Players like Fraser (RFA), Florek (RFA), Camara, Griffith, Knight are the ones the Bruins really need to step up and take the next step. I think Spooner and Koko may eventually fill the role of Soderberg who I don’t think the Bruins will be able to afford a year from now when he becomes a UFA coming off a 1M and change deal.

      • dboldave - May 22, 2014 at 12:13 PM

        I agree, they are knee deep in centers. I wouldn’t be shocked if at least one of these centers is moved in a trade. I wonder if Chiarelli will attempt to extend Soderberg now as opposed to waiting. He does like to sign guys early but he also has Krug, Smith and Iggy to worry about first.

      • pepper2011 - May 22, 2014 at 1:11 PM

        I’m not saying this because of the bad post season Krejci had – I think I’d rather the B’s locked him up (reasonable price), but I wonder if the B’s would entertain moving him. He has one year left and will be an UFA – someone will throw big money at him. Montreal & Toronto coming to mind – Both of those teams could use him and his offensive numbers would skyrocket with Pacioretty or Kessel flanking him.

        Obviously the there would more than likely be additional pieces in either direction depending, but The B’s have young center depth and could use so help on wing. E Kane, Hall, Palat, O’ Reilly, Hossa, Skinner, JVR, Kesler, Oshie, or Backes all make sense in some way.

      • pepper2011 - May 22, 2014 at 1:13 PM

        They would have to lock up Soderberg.

      • bildomatic - May 22, 2014 at 1:15 PM

        A move I think he should make, but don’t think he will is to use a compliance buyout on Kelly. He’s a solid 3rd line guy who kills penalties and brings the right attitude, but at 3M for another two seasons I just don’t see it. Chia made a deal with him after a career year and now he is paying through the nose for it. Using the compliance buyout could be the cushion needed to bring back Iggy or lock up some other guys long term.

      • bildomatic - May 22, 2014 at 1:18 PM

        Locking up Soderberg and entertaining a Krejci deal all boils down to two things for me. 1 The difference in $ between locking up Krejci vs Soderberg (I assume Krejci would demand more). And 2 what the haul is for Krejci and how everyone fits in under the cap w/ the pieces brought in plus the hypothetical Soderberg extension.

      • pepper2011 - May 22, 2014 at 1:32 PM

        I also think the B’s should throw and offer sheet at PK – a big one 7m+

        It’s a win, win. If they end up with him. They lose (4) 1st rd picks – Presumably bottom 10 picks. Or if MTL matches; you force their hand and dictate contract price.

        If they signed PK; Krug becomes a redundant and they could probably deal him for a late 1st.

        reducing it to (3) 1st rd picks. Considering they lost 1st rounders for Jagr and Kaberle – it seems like a steal.

        Nothing like a little gamesmanship.

        If MTL wan’t to keep him; make them pay. If they don’t him and Dougie manning your blue line for the next decade looks pretty good.

      • pepper2011 - May 22, 2014 at 1:33 PM

        Oh – I was wrong too:

        Two first-round picks and a second- and third-round pick

        Even better.

  4. bruinpred - May 22, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    The problem is not fighting – it’s that guys like Orpik don’t have to fight. He can go around and make “legal” hits with no repercussions. We will continue to see more and more injuries because the Murrays, Emelins, Kronwalls, and Cookes can do whatever they want.
    Hopefully we will see fighting the way it used to be – team toughness like the Bruins and Kings where guys take care of themselves. No more useless staged fights – they are not a deterrent. I don’t condone Lucic’s lack of sportsmanship but in the old days he and Weisel would have settled their differences with their gloves off or Weise would stay in line because he didn’t want the crap kicked out of him.

    • hockey412 - May 22, 2014 at 12:23 PM

      “He can go around and make “legal” hits with no repercussions.”

      This is the most idiotic sentence I’ve ever read on this site.

      • theageofquarrel - May 22, 2014 at 12:26 PM

        @ 412 That says alot for this site

      • sixchr - May 22, 2014 at 12:38 PM

        Let’s call it for what it is: Orpik preys on European players who are smaller than him and won’t fight back when he dishes out a borderline hit. He’s gonna get his.

      • hockey412 - May 22, 2014 at 12:50 PM

        European players like Toews/Cole/Kreider/Paille? Smaller than him like Gryba/Kreider/Paille? Ok Paille is by 1 inch.

        Here’s “what it is”: Orpik hits everything that moves within hitting range. It’s his game, he doesn’t play stick on puck as much as say, Paul Martin. The same people that get upset at Orpik’s “clean hits” seem to justify some pretty horrific hockey plays also. That’s odd. Like him or hate him (my own opinion of him withheld), he’ll find a job if he wants one.

      • sixchr - May 22, 2014 at 1:46 PM

        Oh I’m such a terrible human being for leaving out the word “style” after European. Orpik preys on guys who won’t fight back. That’s who he is and that’s what he does. He’s a coward.

      • hockey412 - May 23, 2014 at 8:10 AM

        Orpik hit hockey players, as is his job. The guys who “fight back” normally don’t even have the puck. However, what good is taking the body on someone that is bigger than you? It may not separate them from the puck…which is, of course, the reason he hits. He has no interest in fighting.

      • pats2001 - May 22, 2014 at 1:36 PM

        that’s because you’re a pu$$y 412. i thought we covered this earlier in the season?

      • bruinpred - May 22, 2014 at 2:41 PM

        @412 – the fact that you have Orpik’s “clean hits” in parentheses proves my point. He learned his trade form his good buddy Matt.

      • hockey412 - May 23, 2014 at 8:12 AM

        And you would be one of the guys who says his hits are dirty, yet justify some of the most horrific plays in hockey history. But it’s just Matt Cooke and Brooks Orpik, huh. Ok…sounds credible. Especially when Orpik’s hits aren’t even penalized. Orpik doesn’t have to fight…his job is to hit. And hitting is legal.

  5. dropthepuckeh - May 22, 2014 at 12:36 PM

    Love Thornton but have to think his years as a player in Boston are over. I could see him staying on in the organization if he doesn’t sign a one year deal elsewhere. He loves Boston and Boston loves him. He and his family have done so much for the city and I think they have said that they will stay here regardless of where his career finishes.

    It’s a shame his final year on the team was highlighted by the Orpik stuff but I’ll remember him as a stand up guy who fought (literally) fir everything he earned. Not the best skater or fighter but always tops in effort. Best wishes 22.

  6. sixchr - May 22, 2014 at 12:40 PM

    I love Thornton but I think this is something many of us have expected all year long. The Bruins 4th line has been invisible and when the Bruins lose in the playoffs one of the factors is their fourth line isn’t good enough. I would like to see the Bruins rework the fourth line and put some more emphasis on speed and puck possession similar to the Blackhawks.

  7. pitpenguinsrulez - May 22, 2014 at 12:44 PM

    He’s a pos

  8. c9castine - May 22, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    he sucks and has no use in this league any more.

    might sign onto some young team somewhere for a year or two.

    • njadvocate111 - May 22, 2014 at 2:14 PM

      This is hysterical. Orpik and Thornton, relative to one another, are equally terrible. For what Thornton can bring for 1 year at the minimum or 1 mil, is on par with what Orpik will give you. He can’t compete against top talent. Everyone saw him in the Olympics, he had no business even being there. So for a 33 year old guy who is going to want more than 1 year at 4+ to be a contenders number 5 defenseman (believe it pens fans, he would not be in the top 4 on Chicago, Ducks, LA, Montreal, Boston or NY). Even more to your point, I would say for players who don’t respect Shawn Thornton, an equal amount of players hold 0 respect for what Orpik stands for. No one wants a guy who feels he is above being held accountable for his actions, like the rest of the NHL.

      • c9castine - May 22, 2014 at 2:48 PM

        everybody did see him in his second olympics and im not sure what your pointing out…by most accounts he had a solid tournament as a bottom pairing defender where he should have been playing in that setting.

        being a cup winner silver medalist and two time olympian is much more than thornton can say for himself.

    • shaundre93 - May 22, 2014 at 3:14 PM

      Thornton does have two cups so….

  9. terrier92 - May 22, 2014 at 12:54 PM

    I love what Thornton brings great teammate yet this was their plan all along. They need to keep turning over edges of roster and need spots for guys coming up. Not only from talent but also cap perspective. I have faith in this management group. As long time season ticketholder can’t always say I have. Harry Sinden was a bum.

  10. nunan - May 22, 2014 at 1:24 PM

    Nothing, other than his play and the current roster decisions, factor into their decision to potentially not resigning him. The water bottle “incident”, payback to Orpik, etc means nothing when it comes to roster decisions.

    • c9castine - May 22, 2014 at 1:38 PM

      did you read the article? chiarelli cited that type of play as not being what is needed anymore.

      • nunan - May 22, 2014 at 3:15 PM

        Did you read my comment? my point is that the two events cited here are not reasons the Bs wouldn’t resign him. The reasons they won’t resign him is bc of his style of play and their roster situation. The Bs aren’t going to look at the Subban thing or the Orpik incident and not resign him bc of that. Those aren’t what big decisions like this are based off of. In other words, the two incidents here having nothing to do with their decision.

      • c9castine - May 22, 2014 at 5:08 PM

        haha…

        chiarelli cited those incidents himself as examples of his style of play. and then you cited his style of play as a reason you think the bruins (b’s? you guys really refer to them as the B’s??) wouldnt resign him.

        see, this is real easy.

      • r8rbhawk - May 22, 2014 at 5:58 PM

        Yes they are the Bs. I have enough friends from Boston to know this.

      • c9castine - May 22, 2014 at 6:10 PM

        thats a lame name.

        you go from bruin, a big fearsome bear… to a letter.

        its bad enough our mascot is a waddling penguin so we dont go around calling them the Ps

  11. ralphwilsonisrich - May 22, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    Sabres will take him

  12. bigdaddy44 - May 22, 2014 at 2:02 PM

    Thornton filled his role perfectly for years, but is now in major decline. Time to part ways. They need to find WTF went wrong with Krejci and if it was an aberration, before the try to extend him. Lucic and Marchand need to go, but Lucic makes too much and Marchand has too much baggage to get any value in return. Time to rework the first two lines.

    • pepper2011 - May 22, 2014 at 3:39 PM

      If they wanted to – which they don’t. Any other team would take Lucic in a heartbeat.

      He does some stupid stuff – Yes, but none of it is cancels what he brings to the table.

      I’ll take a bunch of Montreal fans whining about him being a “scumbag” any day for what he did in game 7 against Toronto last year.

      The Guy is only 25 – as he gets older he will keep his emotions in check more. He is going to score 25ish goals a year and he can change the game physically.

      • babykaby - May 23, 2014 at 3:02 AM

        He’s a pig just like most of the players on that team, so is the coach. Tied with the Flyers as dirtiest scumbags in the eastern conference. Go ahead and defend the pigs, I’ve watched both teams for years and know the truth. Bruins are nothing but headhunters and Flyers can’t win unless they pull all that underhanded stuff. Neither team will just play the game, they can’t win that way. It’s play dirty or they lose. Sad thing is both teams get away with this bs constantly.

      • pepper2011 - May 23, 2014 at 9:26 AM

        Nice Troll.

        Pens or Habs fan I am assuming.

      • pepper2011 - May 23, 2014 at 9:33 AM

        I can’t really remember any Bruins headshots either. I do however remember the Pens and the Habs having guys suspended for headshots.

  13. montrealbbr - May 22, 2014 at 2:44 PM

    Haha, how much of a scumbag do you have to be for Boston to not want you on their team? That tells you everything you need to know about this POS!

    • babykaby - May 23, 2014 at 3:05 AM

      Funny.

  14. joey4id - May 22, 2014 at 3:06 PM

    B’s need to get faster and better. It’s clear Loui Eriksson fits into the B’s plans, which explain why they called him out last week. Calling out Thornton is another indication that the B’s are looking for a facelift. Montreal sent a clear message to B’s management that speed is the way to go. Marchand, another played called out will have to play more hockey, and be less of an agitator.

    • nunan - May 22, 2014 at 3:23 PM

      The Bs aren’t going to change their identity…their style still CLEARLY works. They went to the finals last year. Just bc they lost a game 7 to the Habs doesn’t mean there is need for drastic change. Not how it works. Look at LA, they are built the same way. Bs will be fine. I think they’ll add a younger, faster player, maybe two, but I guarantee they’re not going to do a ‘facelift’. They’ve already said as much. Lucic, Krejci, Bergeron, Chara, etc are still the core of this team and will be for a few more seasons.

      • c9castine - May 22, 2014 at 5:11 PM

        some people have such backwards logic.

        call the penguins reg season champs all year. your team wins the presidents trophy and gets exactly far as the penguins and yet, one team is good to go one team is crap.

        i truly hope your GM thinks like you and just stays the course.

    • pepper2011 - May 22, 2014 at 3:26 PM

      I really don’t know if I agree with this past the obvious – “Faster and Better”

      isn’t that every teams wishlist?

      I don’t think MTL sent any such message.

      When they get to two cups in 3 years and win a Presidents trophy, maybe.

      We are talking about a 4th line winger. Eriksson is also one of the slower guys on the team, so there is that.

      The Bruins are not going to re-arrange their entire team based on the Canadiens. They are not. The same thing was said about the Wings. Sooo much faster. Same with the Pens the year before.

      It was a 7 game series. A couple bounces and the B’s could have won it. I am not whining. It’s not like Montreal swept them. 4 rookie defensemen caught up to them. Chara being hurt didn’t help either, not an excuse, but because of those dmen (Bart and Miller in particular) Chara was forced to keep logging big minutes.

      Again, not making excuse, but Seidenberg, Mcquaid and even Kelly in there changes things a bit.

      It wasn’t the speed or perceived lack thereof that killed the B’s. It was Rask being average, Krejci and Marchand doing nothing and 4 very inexperienced D men.

      • joey4id - May 22, 2014 at 3:37 PM

        No everyone agrees…….

        “Forwards: The biggest changes will come to the fourth line, where the Bruins want to get younger, faster and develop a bit more of an offensive bent. There’s a very good chance inexpensive young players like Ryan Spooner and Justin Florek will get long looks on that line with incumbent Daniel Paille, which would mean a 13th-forward role for Gregory Campbell and a new home for unrestricted free agent Shawn Thornton. The Bruins will surely employ an enforcer-type, whether it’s Thornton or somebody else, but it would appear Boston won’t be dressing that “designated fighter” player on most nights in a departure from the way it’s been over the last seven seasons.

        The Bruins could also utilize the trade market this summer to address their fundamental lack of speed by adding a fast-moving top six winger to take Jarome Iginla’s spot. Speed is something David Krejci and Milan Lucic could sorely use on their right wing. If the Bruins need salary cap space to make any of these things happen, then dealing away Chris Kelly — or potentially buying him out — or Brad Marchand could become remote possibilities. This will be the position group with the most turnover going into next season.”

      • pepper2011 - May 22, 2014 at 3:58 PM

        I don’t know that that constitutes everyone…

        Yes, their 4th line could be upgraded, but again, I don’t know if that would be because of Montreal. They want to keep their centers at center and develop them.

        Thornton is 36 and clearly they didn’t extend him early, so the writing has been on the wall for a while.

        They have Miller who can fill that role along with Mcquaid.

        They also have a ton of young talent that they want to move in the lineup (as every team that can afford do does – see Chicago, LA, STL). Spooner, Kohklachev, Camara, Fraser, Lindblad & Florek are all NHL worthy now (Camara may need another year).

        I don’t think replacing two 36+ year old wingers is because the Candadiens won one 7 game series. I think there is a reason they signed them to short deals in the first place. If you start being reactive and don’t have a plan you end up in a bad place. That is what the Canucks did.

        They panicked after the B’s beat them in the SCF’s and Traded away Hodgson. They certainly could have used him this year.

        Iginla wasn’t the problem. He led the team in goals in the regular season and playoffs. I wouldn’t bring him back as a first line winger, but then again. in a perfect world Desharnais isn’t the Habs #1 center.

        They really aren’t that slow. With Hamilton, Krug, and Bartowksi they have one of the fastest and more mobile D’s in the league. They are just young.

      • joey4id - May 22, 2014 at 4:44 PM

        I meant “Not everyone agrees”. Changes are coming… we’ll see. Eriksson is not one of the slowest players…. Chara is getting older and has slowed down, the B’s d, though the kids have potential and except for them, the rest of the d is not fast enough. Hockey has changed and is continuing to change. The era of the enforcer is slowing dying. It’s becoming about speed and physicality. B’s need more speed. You don’t finish first overall to get knocked out in the second round and do nothing.

    • c9castine - May 22, 2014 at 5:13 PM

      he better fit into their plans hes under contract and was a big piece to sending out Seguin.

      i mostly agree with the rest of what you said. i dont think their are changing their identity but they would be smart to refresh their roster especially their bottom 6. if iginla goes elsehwere there will be a big goal scoring void.

      • joey4id - May 22, 2014 at 5:16 PM

        Yep! Agreed. A facelift is not a major makeover. We’re talking a few tweaks.

  15. papajack1259 - May 22, 2014 at 4:19 PM

    Fraizers emergence sealed his fate but he will be back as a coach somewhere in the system He is a Bruin always hustled

  16. 311sucks - May 22, 2014 at 7:37 PM

    the 4th line had its time. they helped boston win a cup but now i thin it’s time for him to go.

  17. theskinsman - May 28, 2014 at 9:17 AM

    I loved how hard Thornton played, but as was clearly shown in the slow motion skating of Jagr in the playoffs,lack of speed will hurt, especially if the linesmen are calling penalties for just about any contact at all.

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