Thornton was a prospect in the Chicago Blackhawks system when Tallon took over as the GM there in 2005. He received a few call-ups but generally stayed in the AHL with the Norfolk Admirals. He signed with the Anaheim Ducks during the 2006 off-season and would win his first Stanley Cup at the end of that campaign. Afterward one season in Southern California, the veteran forward signed with the Boston Bruins and remained there for seven seasons, picking up another Stanley Cup title along the way.
This morning, Thornton was kind enough to give his thoughts on taking his talents to West Broward, as well as answering questions from the media.
thornton audio (click to hear Thornton speak)
The 37-year-old spoke with Tallon, whom he knows from his time in Chicago, a couple of days before July 1st. It was tough to leave Boston he admits, but he is excited to start a new chapter in his career.
Thornton works out by boxing in the offseason. Since he was 16 he has boxed. Enjoys the training but skills dont translate to NHL. #FlaPanthers— Francisco Oporta (@FJOJR) July 31, 2014
Thornton has not participated in any amateur fights but believes the conditioning aspect of the sport is superb.
Thornton has much respect for former #FlaPanthers enforcers Barch & Parros. He's stayed in NHL due to rounding out his game & intangibles.— Francisco Oporta (@FJOJR) July 31, 2014
The Oshawa native has been able to take care of himself. He used to be a defenseman but he switched to being a forward because it was the only way for him to stay in professional hockey. He takes pride in his conditioning and being able to contribute with more than just his fists.
Thornton believes being an enforcer & agitator are 2 different things. Usually he is the one who has to clean up the mess. #FlaPanthers— Francisco Oporta (@FJOJR) July 31, 2014
Thornton knows that fighting in the league creates awkward situations, as often times the guys he fights are good guys or close friends beyond the ice, but it is a job.
Thornton has moved on from the incident involving Brooks Orpik. Shouldn't have done it but has served his time & paid for it. #FlaPanthers— Francisco Oporta (@FJOJR) July 31, 2014
Regarding the young talent in Florida, Shawn has taken notice of their skill level, especially that of Aleksander Barkov. He did not know much about the Finn before facing him in the 2013-14 season.
Thornton feels fortunate for winning the Stanley Cup twice. Will be willing to give any advice to young guys about the game. #FlaPanthers— Francisco Oporta (@FJOJR) July 31, 2014
Thornton knows there will be plenty of other players on the roster with Cup-winning experience for the youth to go to such as Willie Mitchell, but he will look to fit in with the team first and get to know his new teammates.
Thornton didn't take Cup to any weird places. Took it to grandma before she passed away in Oshawa. Boston in childrens hospital #FlaPanthers— Francisco Oporta (@FJOJR) July 31, 2014
Thornton believes community service is the best way to know his new surroundings. Bringing a smile to people's faces by taking a short amount of time out of a team's day is the least players can do.
So that's all everyone. Here's to hoping the grit and toughness that Thornton has in spades will be accompanied by some offensive production on the bottom-six which would surely be a boon for a Panthers team that has rarely seen much, if any of that, on those lines in the past few years.