One play shouldn't symbolize Thornton’s season, but it is tough to ignore the ugly situation a month ago at TD Garden with Brooks Orpik.
Thornton is known as the Bruins enforcer who follows “The Code,” but on this night he took it too far when he slew-footed Orpik to the ice and then punched him repeatedly when he was already knocked out.
Thornton knows he was in the wrong, but he cannot change the way he plays. He is a fourth-liner who will protect his teammates or try to change the game’s momentum by dropping the gloves.
Even though he was suspended for 15 games, don’t look for Thornton to be Mr. Nice Guy following his return Saturday night in San Jose. He will continue his role, but will be extra careful in the process. His three goals are gravy at this point.