Shawn Thornton is back in Boston after spending some time back home skating with the Oshawa Generals over the last few weeks, and hes concerned about the direction the NHL lockout is taking.
The calendar has now entered November, all NHL games up until Dec. 1 have been cancelled and its now Day No. 47 of the lockout.
The Bruins fourth-line winger granted an interview with Greg Hill on the WAAF Hillman Morning Show, and said that he along with many other NHL players isnt sure what to make of the reports the Winter Classic may be cancelled at the end of this week. Thornton attended the NHLPANHL negotiations in Toronto two weeks ago and spoke his mind, and has mixed feelings as a player in his mid-30s that will be giving up key earning years if the NHL misses an entire season due to the lockout.
I havent heard anything good. From what Ive heard the NHL has refused to meet with us and then is going to go ahead and cancel the Winter Classic, said Thornton. I dont know if its to create leverage. I really dont have a feel for this. You would think theyd want to get everybody in a room to find a solution for this.
I dont know if its just a PR trick. I dont know if theyre adamant about shutting down for the season or only having a half-season. I dont have a feel for it, but either way I dont like the way things are going.
The 35-year-old has previously called the two-year, 2.2 million contract extension he signed going into this season as his nest egg, and is legitimately concerned about kissing some or all of that money goodbye due to labor issues.
Im worried. Financially Ive made some pretty good money the last couple of years. So Im not hurting, but Im definitely concerned that I dont have any paychecks coming in at this point, said Thornton. For guys like me I have a few years left and Im kind of caught in the middle and squeezed out on both sides. If this goes on for a year or two then Im probably done and I have to go back to working for a living.
Thats fine. Ive done it before. I worked in a steel factory when I was younger. But on the other side Id like to play out the last two years of my contract and be a little bit ahead after fighting 400 times over the last 15 years.
Thornton worked the late shift in an Oshawa-area steel factory from 16-19 years old that has employed his father for 37 years, so he knows what working for a living is all about. He also knows that NHL careers are essentially on borrowed time, and is just hoping a solution over the next month will let him put off the real world for a few more years.
Its not the end of the world. I get it, said Thornton. But if I could not go back there and play out the last couple of years then that would be ideal.
There is a faction of NHL players particularly the veterans that sound increasingly ready to make some kind of deal with the league if discussion sparks up again, so perhaps that will happen this week instead of a Debbie Downer announcement canceling the Jan. 1 Winter Classic.