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Shawn Thornton calls Florida his ‘first choice’

Aug 1, 2014, 9:00 AM EST

Shawn Thornton AP

For the first time since the 2007-08 season, Shawn Thornton will play for a team other than the Boston Bruins. It might be hard to believe considering his new team’s lack of playoff success, but Thornton told NHL.com that signing with the Florida Panthers is actually a meaningful move for the enforcer.

“Florida was my first choice. I like where the team is going,” Thornton said. “I obviously know [Panthers GM Dale Tallon] from Chicago. I love the area. I’ve already been down a couple of times checking it out with the wife. We’re really, really excited to be a part of it.”

It almost sounds like a reunion for both player and GM, in some ways. One could argue that both Tallon and Thornton are seeing their careers wind down at the same time, although the pugnacious player provides the most obvious example with what might be his final NHL contract.

“A long time ago we started off together,” Tallon said. “I signed him to his first contract. He can play it any way you want. He’ll surprise you with his skills and he’ll score some highlight-film goals, but he knows his role. His fitness level is incredible, his nutrition. He’ll really be a great leader in our locker room for our young guys. He’ll show them the way. He and Derek (MacKenzie) will really make a good tandem. It’ll be hard to play against. It’s a fourth line that will play with a lot of energy and enthusiasm and toughness.”

The 37-year-old seems pretty confident about his versatility, while others wonder if he’s part of a dying breed. We’ll find out soon enough, but if nothing else, it sounds like Thornton is happy to join the Panthers.

  1. pjblake2redwings - Aug 1, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    Good for Thorton! Alot of Enforcer/Tough Guys still without contracts like Daniel Carcillo, Bizznasty, George Parros, etc. Luckily Thorton got another contract but for the other Enforcers it looks like its off to Euro league or call it quits.

  2. stixzidinia - Aug 1, 2014 at 10:02 AM

    Yeah sure it was, buddy. The Panthers are nobody’s first choice. It was your only choice at that salary.

    • pats2001 - Aug 1, 2014 at 1:31 PM

      he’s going to live by the hot sun and the beach for 2 years…given his ability and role, i’d say the chances of the panthers being his first choice at this point of his career are pretty high

  3. billiam55 - Aug 1, 2014 at 11:43 AM

    lol ya okay like we believe that.

  4. lowenni - Aug 1, 2014 at 12:57 PM

    I don’t know why people think this wouldn’t be one of his top choices. Sure, the team has struggled, but it’s definitely trending upwards. It gives him a chance after winning his whole career to take on a real role as a mentor and leader for a young team, something he may have been in boston but would’ve been overshadowed in. He gets to live in a great, quiet area as his career winds down while getting to play on a fun, up and coming team–one that really could push for the playoffs–and maybe get to show his versatility a bit more than he did in Boston. Sure, the money may have helped, but Good for him, I appreciate the the fact that he wanted to take on a role that establishes him as a leader after already accomplishing a lot in his career. Wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him wearing an “A” a few games.

  5. justanotherphillyfan - Aug 1, 2014 at 10:37 PM

    Probably also his ‘only choice’

  6. pastabelly - Aug 2, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    I really like Thornton. He made a big mistake with the cheap shot last season and regrets it. He was nothing but a class act in Boston and I’m happy he’s still in the league. I will cheer him when he returns to the Garden. It will be well earned.

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