Throughout the offseason, Bruins Daily will be posting daily report cards on each individual of the 2011-12, Boston Bruins.
In order of jersey number, each player will be highlighted. In today’s edition, we have number 21, Bruins defensemen Andrew Ference
Name: Shawn Thornton
Weight: 217 lbs.
Contract: Unrestricted free agent after 2013-14 season
2011-12 NHL Season stats:
Regular season: 81 GP, 5-8-13, minus-7, 154 PIM, 114 SOG
Playoffs: 5 GP, 0-0-0, even, 0 PIM, 9 SOG
Shawn Thornton has been nothing shy of the perfect fourth-line grinder as a Boston Bruin. Thornton once again led the Bruins in penalty minutes, most of those coming in fighting majors. When a fight is needed Thornton is always the first to step up and drop the gloves. Despite just 13 points on the season Thornton can show signs of offensive talent, and who will ever forget that move on his penalty shot against the Winnipeg Jets
Anthony’s Grade: B-
You may look at Shawn Thornton’s stats and not be impressed (5 G, 8 A, 13 PT), but Bruins fans know when Thornton is on the ice he can change the complexion of a game in an instant with his toughness and willingness to drop the gloves. Thornton dropped the gloves to change the momentum of the game for his team multiple times and that is an intangible that cannot go unnoticed, but Bruins fans know the role of tough guy Shawn Thornton. Thornton appeared in 81 games for the Bruins and even scored on a penalty shot with his signature leg kick. The 34-year-old left winger has been a bright spot for the Bruins as a gritty fourth-liner and with his new extension, he will wear the black and gold sweater again next season.
Final Grade: A-
It’s safe to say that Shawn Thornton’s presence as the team’s enforcer has paid dividends not only for No. 22, but also for the Boston Bruins. Thornton has been a staple on the team’s merlot line for the last five years, and, as a result, was given a two-year contract extension by GM Peter Chiarelli. No. 22 led the team in fighting majors and compiled 154 penalty minutes, a career high for the 34-year old who was scratched in the last two games of the Caps series in favor of Jordan Caron (a move that is still mind boggling to your’s truly). While Thornton’s future is secure, his fellow linemates, Daniel Paile and Gregory Campbell, could both be heading out during the off-season. Either way, expect Thornton to carry the same intensity with or without Paille and Campbell next season.
It doesn’t matter if Shawn Thornton wears the deserving “A” on his chest or not, he is one of the true leaders both on- and off the ice for the Boston Bruins. The intensity, courage, and effort he brings to the team every time he steps foot on the ice is second-to-none. His professionalism speaks for itself. When being scratched in the post season against the Caps (still a perplexing move to say the least) Thornton immediately spoke to the media and supported the decision of head coach Claude Julien, and emphasized that it’s about the team and not the individual. The first one to drop the gloves to spark the crowd, and the first one to jump in to defend a teammate, you could say that for the money, Thornton is almost irreplaceable….and he’ll sometimes show flashes of offensive greatness (video below)
Final Grade: A-
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