Bruins extend Thornton for two more seasons

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Bruins extend Thornton for two more seasons

BOSTON -- The Bruins announced today that they've signed forward Shawn Thornton to a two-year extension through the 2013-14 season. General manager Peter Chiarelli confirmed to the media, prior to Monday night's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, that the deal will earn Thornton 1.1 million per season.

Chiarelli also explained why he'll be keeping Thornton around.

"Since we got Shawn, every year to me, he's improved as a player," said Chiarelli. "That and his conditioning has allowed him to be a good fourth-line player in this league, and then a good catalyst in his own way.

"You see some of the skill that he has, when he scores, when he makes some plays. But most importantly, you see the enthusiasm and the vigor that he brings to the rink every day. He's important for this team, and his character is important for this team.

"So, I'm happy to get him signed," added Chiarelli. "And I believe he just takes so much pride in his conditioning, and that's gotten better over the time that I've seen him. I think, without question, he'll be able to play well for two more years."

Chiarelli said that the Bruins liked Thornton's size when they acquired him following his 2006-07 championship season with the Anaheim Ducks. And while they value his ability to drop the gloves, the Bruins also value his offensive skill set.

"I think you have to define the role," said Chiarelli. "There's the role of someone who exclusively fights, and I don't put Shawn in that category.

"I think what Shawn has done, and it kind of started when he came here, was, he really took pride in his conditioning. And that's allowed him to maintain his skating, and it's allowed him to make plays. it gives him room to make plays. He recognizes that that's a valuable part of his game."

Blakely: Thomas isn't a starter, but new All-Star voting is an improvement

Blakely: Thomas isn't a starter, but new All-Star voting is an improvement

BOSTON – There’s certainly some disappointment among Celtics Nation that Isaiah Thomas just missed out on being an All-Star starter in the East.

But one thing we can certainly see with the new voting system … it works way better than the old way of choosing starters.

This was the first year that the NBA decided to allow current NBA players as well as a select panel of media choose who the starting five in the Eastern and Western Conferences would be.

The fan vote would count for 50 percent while media and players would each represent 25 percent of the final tally.

From there, the players would receive a fan ranking, a media ranking and a player ranking.

Because of the aforementioned breakdown – fans count for 50 percent while media and players represent 25 percent of the vote – the fan ranking would be counted twice while the media and player rankings would be counted once.

Let’s look at Isaiah Thomas’ situation which ultimately came down to him and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan for the final starting spot in the backcourt.

Thomas was fourth in the fan voting, second in the player voting and first among guards in the media voting. So when you add the fan voting (4 *2) + player voting (2 *1) + media voting (1*1), you get a total of 11 which is then divided by 4 to arrive at a score of 2.75.

Now let’s look at DeRozan.

He was third in the fan voting, third in the player ranking and second in the media voting among guards. So his score when you add the fan voting (3*2) + player voting (3*1) + media voting (2*1), you get a total of 11 which when divided by 4 brings you to a score of 2.75 – same as Thomas.

The tiebreaker was the fan vote which meant DeRozan and not Thomas, would get the starting nod in next month’s All-Star game.

As much as it may suck that Thomas lost out because of this system, he would not have had a shot at being a starter under the old system in which the fans were the ones to pick starters.

In fact, it would have been Chicago’s Dwyane Wade in the starting lineup under the old system.

No disrespect to D-Wade, but he has not had an All-Star worthy season. And had the old system been in place, he would be an all-star and thus take up a roster spot of another player who frankly, is more deserving.

And if you take a glance out West, they too would have had a starter who has not had an All-Star caliber season.

Golden State’s Zaza Pachulia finished second in the voting among Western Conference forwards, fueled in large part to his home country, Georgia, voting early and often for him. Because of the media and player voting, Pachulia wound up sixth among Western Conference big men which is still too high when you consider some of the players behind him – Memphis’ Marc Gasol, Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns, San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge and Los Angeles Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan – who are all having better seasons.

While no one would say this new system is perfect, considering how this year’s voting would have panned out under the old rules, this change by the league is a good one that should stick around.

NOTE: I was among the media panelists selected by the NBA to vote for this year’s All-Star starters. My selections in the East were Cleveland’s LeBron James, Kevin Love and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo in the frontcourt with Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving and Boston’s Isaiah Thomas in the backcourt. My Western Conference selections were Kevin Durant of Golden State, Anthony Davis of New Orleans and Kawhi Leonard of San Antonio in the frontcourt, with Houston’s James Harden and Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook in the backcourt.