Thornton 'very happy' to agree on two-year extension


Thornton 'very happy' to agree on two-year extension

BOSTON -- Before Monday's 8-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at the TD Garden, the Bruins announced that Shawn Thornton's two-year extension was official.

After the game, Thornton explained why the decision to remain in Boston through the 2013-14 season was an easy one.

"Ive always said I wanted to stay here in Boston," said Thornton. "Its home now. Im very, very happy to get this done, and be around for a couple more years."

"The guys are a great bunch of guys, and its a team thats built with a lot of youth myself excluded obviously but I think they have a bright future here going forward and Id like to be in an environment like this," he added. "I think Ive said it a million times how great the citys been to me and the people here. The fans thats the easy part, theyre amazing to me all the time."

Thornton also admitted that he's glad he no longer has to worry about where he'll be playing for the near future.

"Im not going to lie to you, its a little weight off the shoulders," said Thornton. "But I think myself and the guys that havent had it done yet, have done a pretty good job focusing throughout the season. It wasnt a distraction, but its definitely a little easier when you know youre going to be somewhere for a few years."

Before Monday's game, general manager Peter Chiarelli praised Thornton's qualities that made him a more important commodity than just an enforcer. And after the game, Bruins coach Claude Julien praised those same values that Thornton brings to the table.

"Everybody knows that Shawn will come to play every night, play hard, and go to his team's defense," said Julien. "He's a good team player. He's in that room, he works hard everyday. He's got a lot of qualities, and I think he's got some good leadership qualities in him, that, when it's time to get ready for a game, he's making sure that he's ready, and he's making sure that people around him are ready.

"He's got a job that's not an easy job. And anybody who's played this sport, who's watched this sport close enough, knows how tough it is to go into the job that he does, every night. Whenever we get pushed around or we're behind and we need a wake-up call, all of a sudden he goes and he takes charge. He's never told to do it. He just does it on his own. He knows his role extremely well. For him to be rewarded with a new contract is worthy of his work.

"I'm glad to see that he's here for a couple more years, at least," added Julien. "And the one thing I like about guys that do that job is that they can also play. That's important, in my book. I've always told Peter Chiarelli that. I don't want a guy that you throw out there and can't play."

With Thornton, that's not the case. And that's why the Bruins locked him up for two more seasons.

Amid signs his job might be in trouble, Julien says: 'I'm not quitting on this team'

Amid signs his job might be in trouble, Julien says: 'I'm not quitting on this team'

BRIGHTON, Mass – Roughly 12 hours after embattled Bruins coach Claude Julien bristled at a question about his job security and labeled it “shock journalism” in the heat of the moment after a tight loss to the Blackhawks, the B’s bench boss delivered a classy, heartfelt response to the same question.

Julien was asked about it in French by a reporter from the Montreal Gazette, but answered in English because of the “loyalty he feels to the people in Boston.”

In essence, Julien basically said he should be relieved of his duties if he’s deemed to be behind what ails the Black and Gold, but he’s going to keep working to fix things until that day comes.

It was exactly the kind of response you would expect from a coach who's taken the B’s to the mountaintop in his 10 years running the team and will always be respected and loved in Boston long after his coaching days are done.

“How do I deal with all of the rumors and all that is going on? I didn’t feel like [Friday night] was the appropriate time for me to answer that after a game where you’re emotions are pretty high. I wasn’t getting into that, but to be honest with you my job is to coach the hockey club,” said Julien. “Am I worried about my job? No, I’m not. Because it’s not my job to worry about it. My job is to fix things, and my job is to coach this team and do everything I can. If I become one of the reasons that we’re not doing well, then management has to make that decision.

“It’s not my decision to make. I’m not quitting on this team. I’m not quitting on anybody. I’m not quitting on management. I’m ready and willing to go through the hard times, and I said that at the end of last year. If it’s deemed my fault, then I shouldn’t be here, and that’s all I can say.”

While the Bruins roster is clearly less than perfect and has a larger dose of youthful players than in years past, Julien also freely admitted that they should be held to a higher standard after proving many nights that they should be a playoff team. That’s the mandate from Bruins ownership and that’s the challenge that Julien has willingly accepted.

It’s also the challenge that’s falling a bit short now as they’ve lost three crushing games in a row and have fallen behind the Ottawa Senators in the playoff standings, with Toronto also right behind them holding six games in hand.

“If we’re going with what we said we were going with and there’s going to be some growing pains along the way, so be it,” said Julien. “I think we put ourselves in a position earlier in the year where we could all of a sudden believe that we’re a playoff team...absolutely. I still think we’re a playoff team. Whether we can do it or not we’ll find out at the end of the year, but my job is to do everything I can to get us into the playoffs and that’s what I’m going to do.

“As far as the rumors are concerned, they’re out there and I know that. But I don’t worry about it because worrying is wasting a lot of my time. And my time is spent trying to fix things here.”

Julien and the Bruins are headed to Pittsburgh for a Sunday matinee against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and will have two games against the red-hot Pens headed into an All-Star break weekend that must feel like a well-earned oasis for Julien at this point in the season. 

Sox hope to bring David Ortiz back to Boston for new role

Sox hope to bring David Ortiz back to Boston for new role

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- David Oritz’s time in Boston as a player is over. He continues to say there’s no Brett Favre-type comeback, no matter how many people ask him.

However, that doesn’t mean his time with the Red Sox is over.

Sam Kennedy, Tom Werner and Dave Dombrowski are heading down to the Dominican Republic to tour the team’s academy on the island to see what changes, if any, need to be made.

Ortiz will join them on those tours.

“He’s just a good guy to go to the Dominican with,” Kennedy said. “We thought it’d be great to catch up. Haven’t seen him since before the holidays.”

But the front office members intend to exchange more than just pleasantries and stories from the holiday season. One goal on the trip is to bring Ortiz back to the organization as an employee.

“Yeah that’s something on the agenda,” Kennedy said. “We’re gonna talk about what he may or may not want to do. He did say after the season let’s just talk in January. He was so overwhelmed and tired so it’s a good time to start those conversations.

“I know he has a lot of plans, broadcasting, a lot of businesses he’s involved with and we’ll see what he’s up to. But we hope to cement something so he’s a part of the organization.”

What role that is yet to be determined. Assuming he doesn’t pursue a broadcasting career.

“I truly don’t know what’s on his mind,” Kennedy said. “He’ll obviously be good at whatever he decides to do, but I would hope that we could create a role where he has influence in the baseball operations side, he has influence in marketing, as an ambassador. A lot of our alums we’ve found really enjoy working with young players. Pedro [Martinez] is a perfect example of that.

“So we’ll see what he’s interested in doing, but I have heard him talk about broadcasting in the past and I think he’d be great at it if he decides to do it.”