In response to dannycater's comment:
Thornton is to me important in a lesser extent as Mark Recchi was during the Cup run. It is almost unheard of that a 4th line in the NHL actually has a nickname (Merlot) let alone that one exists as a consistent line on a NHL team. But what Thornton does is not force a McQuaid or Lucic take 5 minutes off for fighting because the B's need a boost, or the B's need to answer to ridiculous checks by the opposing team. Thornton takes care of business, like Recchi took care of tip-ins and giving the B's a veteran presence to look up to in the locker-room or even get a pat on the back. Thornton is a team-first guy and that's the only reason he got suspended in the first place--answering a concussion check on Eriksson. People forget or maybe the thread starter that Thornton picked up the B's during the Rangers series with offense. The guy has a good shot that is on target, and he does actually have hockey skills--forechecking one of them. He's slow, just like Recchi was, but I feel he still adds an important cog to the B's. Would a Florek or Fraser do better with Campbell/Paille--maybe--but I like the intangibles with Shawn. He's a fan favorite and he gets the team and the crowd going and there's nothing wrong with that.
WELL SAID. AGREE 100%