The Fighter: Inside Thornton's ring

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The Fighter: Inside Thornton's ring

Shawn Thornton didn't have much choice in the matter.

He was a young player in a preseason camp when he was told he would be a forward, not a defenseman as he had been his entire career. Lined up against a more established tough man in a scrimmage, Thornton soon found himself dropping his gloves.

"It was a good fight," said Thornton. Like that, an enforcer was born.

"I kind of got thrown into that role," he told CSNNE's Carolyn Manno. "If I wanted to move on and not go back to my hometown and go to community college, it was 'Do what you have to do.' It's been like that ever since."

Fifteen years after his first camp, Thornton has established himself as the muscle for one of the NHL's best teams, the Boston Bruins. Still, after all the fights, his role doesn't come naturally.

"I drink a boat load of coffee and put my head in a different space," he said. "I have to put my head in a different space to be able to do it."

He also has to be in exceptional physical condition, which has taken more work as the rounds of his career draw on.

To keep up with the league's younger pugilists, he trains -- predictably -- at a boxing gym in downtown Boston. The workouts last for an hour and go at a breakneck pace: three-minute intervals, with one minute of rest in between.

"Boxing's one of the toughest workouts around," said Thornton's trainer, Tommy McInerny, who also works at Sports ClubL.A. in downtown Boston. "He gives me 140 percent every time."

It shows.

"Our coach can put him on the ice for 10-12 minutes a game sometimes," said Bruins president Cam Neely, "which is unusual for some other players in that particular role."

In July, Thornton received a two-year contract extension to remain with the Bruins. He likes his team, and though he didn't choose it all those years ago, he likes his job.

"I feel good where I am," Thornton said.

Tuesday, Jan. 17: Hershey Star Wars jerseys raise big bucks

Tuesday, Jan. 17: Hershey Star Wars jerseys raise big bucks

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading, while feeling like Felicity Jones could have been a little better on SNL last weekend. It didn’t feel like it was the right platform for her and she was just straight reading the cue cards in her monologue.  

*Congrats to the Hershey Bears, who raised over $42,000 for charity with their Empire-inspired Star Wars jerseys from last weekend.

*When Bruins winger Brad Marchand begins to score his value goes way, way up, according to TSN stat maven Scott Cullen.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mike Harrington wants the Buffalo Sabres to get into “attack mode” rather than the passive mode they’ve been in for some time.

*A discussion about the NHL trade deadline and which players are likely to get moved still weeks and weeks away from that deadline.

*The Winnipeg Jets are searching for answers after another loss, and have called upon Ondrej Pavelec in a move of desperation.

*Funny commercial with Brent Burns and Joe Thornton, who have to be the ultimate bosom, bearded buddies in the NHL.

*For something completely different: as the next Lando, Donald Glover understands why the character is vital to the Star Wars universe.