Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli met with forward Shawn Thornton Monday to inform the veteran he would not be re-signed by the team.
"It was good in the sense that we talked about the time Shawn has spent here," Chiarelli told Bruins TV, the team's in-house video production team. "And he came here, we’re talking about seven years, so he was here from almost the beginning and I told him he was one of the most significant acquisitions we made because he was, one, for the role he played, and two, for the person that he is. It was nice to rehash his time. It was sad to tell him that he wasn’t coming back."
Thornton spent seven years with the Bruins, operating as the team's enforcer while embodying the spirit of the team's rough and tumble style of play. As a fourth liner, his numbers peaked for the Bruins in the 2010-11 season when he scored 10 goals and registered 10 assists for 20 points. He had a rough year this past season after getting suspended for 15 games after attacking Pittsburgh’s Brooks Orpik on Dec. 7, 2013, resulting in severe concussion for Orpik. Thornton expressed regret about that incident, but it seemed to taint him.
At the team's end of year media availability, the 36-year-old Thornton noted that he would continue to play whether he returned to Boston or not.
"Oh yeah, 100 percent," he said. "Body still feels good, which is kind of surprising to me. Fighting for 15, 16, 17 years, I’m actually a little surprised at how good I feel."