Shawn Thornton Makes His Return To Boston

Fans who attended Tuesday night’s Bruins game at the TD Garden were treated to an interesting sight — a fan favorite was on the ice, though not in Black and Gold.

Shawn Thornton, who drew the love of Bruins fans over seven seasons in Boston for his tough, gritty, workman-like style on the ice and his strangely Bostonian appearance off it, was back on Causeway Street Tuesday rocking a Florida Panthers sweater. It was his first trip back to Boston since signing a two-year, $2.4 million contract with Florida in July.

Strange as it was seeing Thornton in a different uniform, the homecoming was that nice. Playing a season-high 16:03, Thornton landed a shot on net and was honored by the B’s with a video montage of his best moments in Boston. Fans gave the 37-year-old a standing ovation.

Over his seven seasons in Boston, Thornton played a major role in the development of the Bruins brand into what it is today. He arrived in 2007 with little fanfare, but quickly won fans over with the snarl that many great Bruins of past generations showed. The presence he brought to the dressing room in addition to the style of play he brought to the ice helped change the culture in Boston. It was what allowed the Bruins to finish as the top seed in the Eastern Conference in Thornton’s second season with the team, and win the Stanley Cup in his fourth.

Like he was a key piece to the restoring what it meant to be a Bruin, Thornton played a key role in bringing Lord Stanley’s cup back to Boston. It was during that 2011 Cup run that the legend of the Merlot Line developed. The line, comprised of Thornton, Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell, were the blueprint of fourth-line play. They played physical, were strong on the forecheck, protected the puck and provided a burst of energy to the bench.

The Vancouver Canucks were taking to the B’s in the first period Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011 when Thornton & Co. hopped over the boards and provided the team with a shift that proved to be game-changing. Throwing it right back in Vancouver’s face, the line gave the Canucks all it could handle. The shift swung the momentum of the game, and Bruins went on to win, 3-0, clinching their first Stanley Cup in 39 years.

Of course, the fighting is what Thornton was most known for in Boston. He was the team’s chief enforcer. When opposing players took liberties on players, they heard from Thornton in timely fashion. In addition to fighting, he was a good hockey player, which was why Dale Tallon gave him the $2.4 million deal, pricing the fourth liner — who made $5.375 million over seven seasons with the Bruins, according to CapGeek.com — out of Boston.

All cap issues aside, the addition of Thornton to the Bruins roster back in 2007 is one that is up there with the signings of Zdeno Chara and Marc Savard; the hirings of Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien. The character he brought to the dressing room and the style of play he brought to the ice helped change the culture on Causeway Street. It helped bring the Bruins back to prominence.

Jack Eichel Named Rookie of the Month

BU men’s hockey freshman phenom Jack Eichel was named the National Division I Rookie of the Month by the Hockey Commissioners’ Association. The forward assembled a 4-4–8 scoring line and a plus-nine rating in four games, all Terriers wins. In case you haven’t heard, Eichel is projected to be picked within the top two spots in June’s NHL Entry Draft. The only player ahead of the North Chelmsford native on draft boards is Canadian stud Connor McDavid.

If drafted first or second overall next summer, Eichel would be the highest player drafted out of the NCAA since former BU goaltender Rick DiPietro was taken by the New York Islanders with the first overall pick in 2000.

Don’t Trick Big Papi Into Buying Fake Jewelry

Like many professional athletes, Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz likes to make fancy, expensive jewelry a key part of his wardrobe.

As for how much of the $127 million fortune Big Papi has made playing baseball has gone toward jewelry is unknown. But what we know now is that a portion of that investment garner fraudulent returns. The 38-year-old slugger has filed a lawsuit against a California jeweler for $127,000, claiming he was sold “imitation or low-quality metals and gemstones” in 2010. The story was first reported by the Boston Globe.

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Posted by: Patrick O'Rourke on