By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
Shawn Thornton is one of many Bruins players entering the final year of his contract, and looking forward to what the future brings for him in Boston.
The 34-year-old Bruins enforcer is coming off his best individual NHL season and his greatest team experience capturing the Cup with Boston, and he has set the bar high for himself this season. Thornton finished last year with a career-high 20 points (10 goals and 10 assists) along with a plus-8 rating and 122 penalty minutes as a staple within the Bs energy line, and continued as one of the most important leadership voices in an incredibly tight Bs dressing room.
So Thornton is coming off a career year and aiming to put together another one to earn a new deal with the Bruins in the adopted city of Boston that hes made his permanent home. As an enforcer in his mid-30s Thornton knows that hell have to prove himself again on the ice amid a group of peers that get meaner, bigger, stronger and younger every single season.
Sources have indicated to CSNNE.com that the Bruins and Thornton havent engaged in any talks on extending Bostons fighter at this point, but hes hopeful that he can play another four or five years in the NHL. That Thornton hopes it happens in the Boston market where hes carved out an identity for himself goes without saying.
I want to play as long as I can, said Thornton. Obviously there are a lot of things that go into it with injuries. But Ill never have to worry about my conditioning. I always pride myself on being as good shape as possible.
Barring injuries, I dont know, four or five more years. I love the game and I still have a passion for it, and I cant imagine not being around the guys. I love camaraderie. I love everything about it. I know for a fact if Im ever told to hang it up that Ill be miserable for a while afterward, so Ill keep playing as long as I can.
Thornton clearly hopes it all works out with the Black and Gold after the end of his upcoming fifth year with the Bruins, and why should it be any different now. Hes been the right guy in the right place for a role perfectly cast for him with the Bruins. He was able to take part in his banner-raising ceremony with his Anaheim Ducks after hed left to sign his first contract with the Bs, and hes enjoyed a front row seat to the Bruins revival since bursting on the scene in 2006-07.
Thornton calls it the luck of the Irish, and theres no reason to believe it wont stay with him in Boston for a good, long time beyond this season.