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Bruins still bummed out by Thornton signing in Florida

Aug 12, 2014, 9:50 PM EDT

Shawn Thornton AP

Many fans in Boston took it hard when resident tough guy Shawn Thornton signed a two-year deal with the Florida Panthers in July.

After being the face of what became the modern version of the “Big Bad Bruins” he had a strong following with the crowd. He was also a big hit amongst his teammates as well.

As Joe Haggerty of shared, Thornton’s now former teammates are lamenting the loss of the guy who would drop the gloves in their defense.

“Those are the guys you never want to give up, though,” goalie Tuukka Rask said. “I don’t think people necessarily talk about it too much, but you need that kind of leadership inside the locker room. You can’t just be quiet in there. You have to have young guys step up when you lose that, and its part of the challenge. Every team has to go through it.”

Plenty of teams have different things that help get them going. The Bruins seemed to feed off emotion in their games and that’s where they believe they’ll miss Thornton. Think back on all those heated games where a big hit or a fight seemed to snap them out of a fog and they’d roll from there. It’s that brand of motivation the Bruins felt Thornton brought to them.

While he’s not the best player on the ice, he was important to the Bruins’ mindset via his leadership. Now they’ll have to get by with replacing him with someone with a different skill set. The Panthers, meanwhile, will hope that guidance can be put to good use in their seemingly very young locker room.

  1. shaundre93 - Aug 12, 2014 at 10:41 PM

    As a fan of the team, I can tell you it was more than just leadership that endeared thorty to the fans. He was a huge part of the community, always involved in fundraisers and charity events. His family lives in Charlestown and the guy would walk to home games. He epitomized what it means to be a Bostonian with all the hard work he put in every game, and he ALWAYS had his teammates backs (yes, even to a fault ONE time). I imagine this thread will be stuffed with orpik related comments in no time, and that’s fair to a degree, but I really hate that that’s what he’ll be remembered for when he truly played the game the right way for so long. Boston will certainly miss thorty on the ice, but I imagine once his new deal runs out hell be right back home, probably working in some capacity with the team, and making Boston a better place for it

    • sebrebc - Aug 12, 2014 at 10:58 PM

      Also, to me anyway, his biggest contribution was being a big part of changing the identity of the Bruins. We love our tough teams, we don’t want to see soft, weak Bruins teams. I can’t count how many good players the fans didn’t get behind simply because they weren’t tough. Seguin is the most recent example, Joe Thornton before him. Even playmakers like Oates and Janney were tough players, they weren’t all that physical….but they went into the dirty areas, they were able to play tough without being tough. The Joe Thornton led Bruins were soft, both in the physical sense and the mental sense. I couldn’t stand watching those teams play…even when they were tops in the Eastern (Wales) conference, they were just weak and difficult to watch. Thornton, Lucic, Chara….those guys brought toughness back, they brought that identity back to the B. I don’t know what the future holds for this team, given the cap issues this year and the cap AND free agent issues next year. But I know this, the Bruins since Thornton arrived have been a blast to watch, and they brought us a Cup. Some games will stand out, the biggest of them all was the multi-line brawl game in Dallas a few years back. That game really seemed to set the tone for how they would play. The Bruins fan in me will always miss the guy. The realist in me knows that they can’t spend that much money on an “aging” player who plays a limited role. Either way, I’ll miss the big guy.

    • ntvd7 - Aug 12, 2014 at 11:57 PM

      I’ll never understand how people get on here and call him dirty or a terrible player

      He’s been doing that job for a LONG time and he slipped up once, get over it

      I want this guy on my team…

    • pjblake2redwings - Aug 13, 2014 at 9:00 AM

      at least you guys still have Lucic to hand out the cheap shots.

      • jpelle82 - Aug 13, 2014 at 10:39 AM

        marchand too

  2. titansbro - Aug 12, 2014 at 11:13 PM

    They don’t win the cup in 2011 without Thornton. They were down 0-2 to Vancouver with the Canucks pulling their typical garbage. After Rome took out Horton, Thornton came in & set the tone for the rest of the series. The Canucks played scared the rest of the way.

    Miss ya Thorty. It’s an overused compliment, but you are truly a guy I’d like to have a beer (or several) with.

  3. shaundre93 - Aug 12, 2014 at 11:23 PM

    I also still find it really funny that thorty and tuukka are like best friends. They own a boat together hahaha. Just seems like an odd pair

    • titansbro - Aug 13, 2014 at 8:39 AM

      haha, didn’t know that. i find that comical as well.

  4. greatmiamisportsmind - Aug 12, 2014 at 11:42 PM

    So what you are all saying is: it’s a hell of a signing by my team

    • stixzidinia - Aug 13, 2014 at 1:26 PM

      If your team is the Panthers, then probably not. You guys need hockey players. Thornton’s skill set doesn’t fit that description.

  5. yette1 - Aug 13, 2014 at 6:29 AM

    I’ll be interested to see how the Bruins replace Thorny’s intangibles. Suspect they will end up missing him badly.

    The GM claims fighting is leaving the game, but Thorny was much more than fighting, he kept the opponent on their toes, knowing if there was any chippiness, they would have it returned in spades. Not sure they have anyone on the roster to fill this role. Could be a lot of teams taking shots at Bergy or Krejci without him around.

    • drivemekrejci - Aug 13, 2014 at 7:21 AM

      Nobody is taking shots at anyone with Lucic on this team.

      • charastein - Aug 13, 2014 at 7:34 AM

        Or Chara. None bigger.

      • bsaures - Aug 13, 2014 at 7:54 AM

        Chara and lucic are both soft they only fight guys who they have several inches and pounds on and arent fighters.

      • titansbro - Aug 13, 2014 at 8:41 AM

        chara is the tallest guy in the league, so in fact, it isn’t possible for him to fight anyone his size. & i strongly believe lucic will take on anyone now & probably win. there’s a reason he’s voted (by the players btw) the toughest guy in the league to play against.

        long story short, your comment is moronic

      • bsaures - Aug 13, 2014 at 8:58 AM

        Look at lucic fight card the last 3-4 years you will notice something he is bigger than essentially EVERY player he has fought ( usually by 2+ inches and 20 + pounds) there are no heavywrights on his card no Orrs, parros, bordeleau, mcgrattons mclaren etc why because he cant even beat up guys like gazdic and barch who he still has size and weight on. He would get destroyed by the real heavyweight fighters. Chara is even worse he hasnt fought anyone who would have remotely given him a challenge in years and he usually jumps those he does fight so he can get his hits in before it even starts

      • paddy212 - Aug 13, 2014 at 9:19 AM

        At the idiot BSAURES, First why would a player like Lucic fight a Mcgratten who plays 2 min a night??? Lucic scores 20-30 goals a year moron…But to appease your ignorance and stupidity Lucic has fought Carkner 2x, Prust 3x,Gazdic, Barch 2x, Boll 2x, Boulton, ORR!!, Ivanans, Rosehill,Sestito, Englleand as well as guys like Neil etc etc etc. Shut up your ignorance is ridiculous. Stay in Moms basement and stick to your XBOX

      • avscup - Aug 14, 2014 at 9:23 AM

        MTL did…and it worked.

    • paddy212 - Aug 13, 2014 at 9:25 AM

      Hopefully Bobby Robbins can fill the void

  6. ironmd778 - Aug 13, 2014 at 7:30 AM

    Terrible move to let him go. As 4th line guys go he brought a lot to the table. Much better skill set than people realize. There were goons in the 80’s and 90’s. Thornton is NOT that kind of player.

  7. hockey412 - Aug 13, 2014 at 8:30 AM

    Eh – to each their own. People in Boston will see the hero – and many people outside of Boston will laugh at that thought.

    To me, this is nothing more than a decent hockey player that saw a greater role could be earned in the NHL by trading in his future cognitive health for a paycheck. To that extent he’s a whore. This is someone that stood in the way of progression within the sport of hockey. We want big hits….yet every time someone gets hit, there’s Thornton asking for a fight. Is that what the game needs? It’s trash.

    You can smell the CTE on this one – and he knows it. To threaten other players playing a TRULY honorable game by saying “I’ll sacrifice my future life so you should too and fight me if you hit a Bruin”…nah – I’ll pass. There’s a difference between being a protector and being this guy…skating behind the play uttering threats after hits instead of just shutting the yap and playing the game.

    Bostonians can be the judge this year, there are four games vs. Florida, beginning Nov. 4.

    • titansbro - Aug 13, 2014 at 8:45 AM

      montreal, pittsburgh, or vancouver? which is it?

      • hockey412 - Aug 13, 2014 at 9:03 AM

        Pittsburgh – and the sport hockey. I witnessed the general cognitive meltdown last December and realized that this is a man that sacrificied his ability to make a rational decision due to the self-inflicted and progressive damage done to his brain – all based on his quest for the almighty dollar. Actually heard the announcer trying to rationalize it, too. Sick. But, when this man is drooling all over himself in 10 years, I’m sure all the die-hard Thornton fans will be there for him.

        Or maybe, they’ll be cheering for the next whore that couldn’t quite earn a place within the rules.

      • gallyhatch - Aug 13, 2014 at 10:13 AM

        412, are you STILL crying about the Bruins after all this time?

        That’s awesome. You’re not a f’ing loser at all. (eye roll)

      • titansbro - Aug 13, 2014 at 2:05 PM

        i asked a simple question, didn’t need a response the size of a novel. i already know you’re full of shi+, i didn’t need you to confirm it by rattling off more nonsense.

    • paddy212 - Aug 13, 2014 at 10:00 AM

      Your a complete idiot hockey412

      • hockey412 - Aug 14, 2014 at 8:33 AM

        You may be right.

    • beyor35 - Aug 13, 2014 at 10:12 AM

      This coming from a guy who cheered for guys like Samuelson and Cooke…. get a clue @$$hat…

      • cliffatola - Aug 13, 2014 at 12:27 PM

        @hockey412, Did the best part of you drip off of your mothers clit ?

      • hockey412 - Aug 14, 2014 at 8:32 AM

        Samuelson injured Neely…Cooke injured Savard…I get it – if it happens to the Bruins, those players are wrong, if the Bruins hurt someone, they are right.

        I really never cheered for Samuelson, for the same reason I dislike Lucic…complete and utter disregard for the rules and whether they injure someone. Cooke is a rat, but a good hockey player when he isn’t dirty – as is Thornton, as is Neal. This isn’t a hypocrisy. It’s just my opinion of Thornton’s self-proclaimed role and lack of honor.

    • pats2001 - Aug 13, 2014 at 5:28 PM

      how did i know 412 would chime in on this? just loves trying to irritate B’s fans. guys like ulf and cooke are okay but not thornton. and somehow the concept of having to answer the bell gets lost on this guy (orpik). my advice to Bs fans on this site is to just move right along when you see him post up on Bs stories. while i will at least admit he does have a decent sense of humor, his sole purpose with this stuff is to annoy B’s fans and i have to imagine it comes from the sweep of 2013. i have a bunch of friends that are pens fans and that series outcome cut them deep

      • mvshark - Aug 13, 2014 at 6:48 PM

        Because he has no life and tries to make everybody think about transgressions from Bruins..Yet he keeps his pie hole shut about Penguin antics…never does he respond and usually disappears when you bring up Crosby trying to punch another player in the groin from behind, while that guy was engaged with another Penguin.

      • gallyhatch - Aug 13, 2014 at 7:44 PM

        Pats2001 hit the nail on the head. 412’s trolling started in May of 2013……. right after Boston swept Pittsburgh.

        It scarred him pretty good too. . . . you don’t have to take my word for it, there’s 15 months worth of evidence on this website, see for yourself.

      • hockey412 - Aug 14, 2014 at 8:23 AM

        I absolutely love that one person’s honest opinion about a player that an article is written about warrants like 20 personal attacks from Boston fans…and honestly it’s cool. I care about as much what the Boston fans on this site think of my opinion of Shawn Thornton as I do what Philly fans think of Crosby. The personal attacks and attempts at discrediting my opinion as just being upset about the playoffs years ago is ridiculous…any idea how many teams the Pens have lost to in the playoffs? A LOT. I have no bad feelings towards those teams – and Boston played a hell of a series…and much cleaner than I’ve ever seen them play.

        My disliking of Boston’s “new culture” came with the Chara incident, the Lucic incidents…not so much the actions themselves, but the player’s, coach’s, and especially press and fan reaction to those. It exposed what is probably the most hypocritical organization in the league. That is the reason for Claude’s “people think we’re the bad guys…we’re the GOOD guys” speech (gag). Here’s a lesson from Dr. Phil – if that many people think you’re an a-hole…you’re probably an a-hole. I’ll also apply that to myself, as it applies on this message board to me – but at least my comments were directed towards that which the article was written about.

      • gallyhatch - Aug 14, 2014 at 12:11 PM

        Amazing isn’t it?

        You act like an a-hole for 15 months, and then people turn around & treat you like an a-hole.

        It’s funny how the world works.

  8. paddy212 - Aug 13, 2014 at 9:22 AM

    Boston has guys that can fill his void, Bobby Robbins for one. I think Thorts should of been resigned for league minium which he would of accepted. Kevan Miller is also on the rise as a enforcer and Fraser can fight pretty good as well but bringing up Robbins will be the best option IMO

    • hockey412 - Aug 13, 2014 at 9:32 AM

      Go Murica.

      • kaptaanamerica - Aug 13, 2014 at 4:24 PM

        I was with you until that stupid left wing pejorative. Making that ‘go murica’ comment makes you the ignorant rat bastard.

      • hockey412 - Aug 14, 2014 at 8:28 AM

        I will gladly accept your interpretation of my personality as “ignorant rat bastard” and you could very well be right. However, I lean toward the right on most political issues (more in more as I age) and this was not a political statement, it was sarcasm directed towards a somewhat neanderthal comment.

        I’ve actually never heard the phrase “Go Murica” mentioned as having any politcal merit.

    • jpelle82 - Aug 13, 2014 at 10:43 AM

      derp derp de derp derp fight derp derp de derp enforcer derp de derp tough derp fight good derrrrrrr

    • Moop - Aug 13, 2014 at 10:57 AM

      Robbins needs to work on his game a lot to make it worthwhile keeping him around in the NHL. Then again, if it’s him or Caron, I’ll take Robbins any day.

  9. cliffatola - Aug 13, 2014 at 12:16 PM

    The NHL needs more players like Shawn Thornton who plays clean (except for the one incident) and can keep you on your toes as well as watching his teammates backs. What the NHL needs less of is guys like John Scott.

    • stixzidinia - Aug 13, 2014 at 1:29 PM

      Guys like Thornton aren’t really needed in a post-Dead Puck Era, Instigator Rule NHL. Thornton isn’t really a heavyweight anyway. He never fought real heavyweights like Grim Reaper, Twister, Probie, Kocur, etc…….he and Chara both would’ve gotten killed by any of those guys. Chara looks like a newborn fawn on clumsy legs when he tries to fight. Height is all he has.

      • paddy212 - Aug 13, 2014 at 3:16 PM

        Seriously??!!! Are you brain dead? The heavyweights of today are as dangerous if not more. Scott, Mcgratten Orr, Boogard,Parros all of whom Thorton has fought. I am from that era of fighters as well but your statement is beyond ignorant and just down right riduiculos. Put down the Nintendo and realize its not 1987 anymore dummy

      • thesportsjudge - Aug 13, 2014 at 6:41 PM

        Why are you surprised at stix’s comment? He obviously thinks he is clever and witty with his screen name(which I am surprised has not been banned yet) and ignorant hate of all things Boston.

  10. isphet71 - Aug 13, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    Lucic will be last tough guy standing for the Bruins once Chara is done, which could be any year now. It feels like the window is closing a little bit on the Bruins with the impending loss of Chara. Guys like that are impossible to replace.

  11. sjsharks66 - Aug 13, 2014 at 3:06 PM

    Saw the comment about Lucic not fighting Orr. I remember that fight. It was beastly, blows back an forth. Lucic held his own against Orr. The dude is tough as nails. Sadly his actions this post season were embarrassing. Other then that, I would love to have a guy like lucic in SJ.

    • yette1 - Aug 14, 2014 at 6:26 AM

      I really don’t understand why Lucic’s actions after the Montreal series are “sad”. He had a few words to say to guys he didn’t respect. The players ran and told the media. Whats worse?

      • avscup - Aug 14, 2014 at 9:33 AM

        You must be a B’s fan? Conveniently you forget about the spearing in the nuts incident! And the players didn’t run to the media, it was easy to read his lips.

  12. charastein - Aug 14, 2014 at 7:57 AM

    And who knows what was said on the ice to him to provoke it? Habs are no angels, that’s for sure.

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