Thornton’s style: Praise from all corners
Randy Carlyle hasnt considered Shawn Thornton one of his charges since 2006-07, when they won a ring in Anaheim.
Their five-year separation, however, has done little to dampen Carlyles admiration for his former fourth-liner, who signed a two-year, $2.2 million extension Saturday.
He hasnt changed his style or approach, said Carlyle, now Torontos coach. I think hes getting more recognition because he went out and earned it. Hes a catalyst. He was a catalyst for our hockey club when we had him in Anaheim. Thats what hes doing for the Bruins. Its great to see a player whos put in the number of years of hard work - Im talking years, not months, of hard work - and be rewarded with a contract of that stature. Hes earned everything hes got. He earns it the tough way. You recognize hes not the most skilled guy. But he comes out day in and day out, forces you to play, and forces those confrontations all around the rink.
The Bruins made the signing official Monday.
Im not going to lie. Its a little bit of weight off my shoulders, Thornton said. It wasnt a distraction. But its definitely a little easier when you know youre going to be somewhere for the next couple years.
Thornton will be 36 in 2014, the final year of his extension. But given his physical shape and his commitment to offseason fitness (boxing at The Ring in Allston is one of his go-to workouts), Thorntons legs should be sound throughout the duration of the contract.
Im happy to get him signed, said general manager Peter Chiarelli. He just takes so much pride in his conditioning. Thats gotten better over the time Ive seen him. I think without question hell be able to play well for two more years.
Thorntons job description requires absorbing fists from some of the leagues toughest customers. Thornton isnt in the weight class of battleships such as John Scott. But the 6-foot-2-inch, 217-pound Thornton is one of the most technically proficient fighters in the game. Thornton knows how to protect himself and hand out punishment - just ask ex-teammate Mark Stuart, who Thornton tuned up earlier this season - while playing a smart fourth-liners game.
Hes stuck with the game for a long time, Chiarelli said when asked if he was surprised at how Thornton developed. In my time, Ive seen a lot of guys drop out at certain points in their career. Shawn has gone and surpassed that. Hes gotten better. Each year hes gotten better. He keeps in terrific shape.
Peverley joins skate Rich Peverley participated in the morning skate prior to the game. It was the first time Peverley skated alongside his teammates since suffering a third-degree MCL sprain in his right knee Feb. 15. Peverley didnt take any contact during the session.
Still on schedule, Peverley said. Just taking it day by day. Im getting better. Good to be out with the team.
Peverley might practice for the first time Tuesday. He will join the team on its three-game California trip. According to Julien, Peverley is considered day to day.
Its possible Peverley could play during the trip. He would likely return to the third line. If everybody is healthy, Peverley would replace either Benoit Pouliot or Brian Rolston.
When youre gone for that long, you dont just come back overnight, Julien said. Were going to give him a chance and wait for our doctors to clear him.
Deals on hold Chiarelli said he will not re-sign any impending unrestricted free agents until the seasons conclusion. Players scheduled to reach UFA status are Chris Kelly, Gregory Campbell, Daniel Paille, Greg Zanon, Joe Corvo, Rolston, and Mike Mottau.
Of the group, Kelly, Campbell, and Paille are the most likely to return. Chiarelli has spoken to all to explain his philosophy of wanting them trained on the playoffs instead of their next contracts.
Were coming down to the stretch where we need to be focused on the task at hand, Kelly said. Thats playing every game to the best of our ability, going out there, and winning those games. All that other outside distractions? Thats what it is - outside distractions. Obviously Im happy for everyone who got signed, Thorty and the guys who got extended earlier in the year. But right now, the rest of us are focused on coming to the rink, doing our job, and helping this team do well.
Corvo sits again Corvo was a healthy scratch for the second straight game. Julien said Corvo is slightly banged up. If we really needed him, hed be available, Julien said. But right now, were going to stick with the same lineup of healthy guys. . . . Mottau was also a healthy scratch . . . Joffrey Lupul missed his seventh straight game because of a shoulder injury. He was hurt March 6 when David Krejci checked him into the