Thornton: 'I don't like the way things are going'

570024.jpg

Thornton: 'I don't like the way things are going'

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.

Report: Cavs. Pacers, Nuggets discuss deal involving George, Love

Report: Cavs. Pacers, Nuggets discuss deal involving George, Love

Don’t count the Cleveland Cavaliers out of the Paul George sweepstakes just yet.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein and Chris Haynes, the Cavaliers are still working on a way to get George with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in Ohio.

The latest rumor involves a three way deal being discussed between the Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers, and Denver Nuggets. According to Hayes, the deal would send George and Kenenth Faried to Cleveland and Kevin Love to Denver.

Presumably, Indiana would end up with good picks and a few young assets.

Click here for the complete story.

Will the Harris signing mean more time on the edge for Hightower?

Will the Harris signing mean more time on the edge for Hightower?

David Harris is expected to be a savvy middle linebacker who will line up his teammates when they help. He's expected to provide some level of leadership, even in his first year in New England, as an accomplished-but-hungry 33-year-old who has not yet reached a Super Bowl. 

What Harris is not expected to do is improve the Patriots pass rush. He was in on one sack in 900 snaps last season.  

But in a roundabout way he might. 

MORE: How does Derek Carr's new deal impact Jimmy Garoppolo?

There are dominos to fall now that Harris has been added to Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia's defense. How much will Harris play, and whose playing time will he cut into? Those questions don't yet have answers, but one of the more intriguing elements of the Harris acquisition is how he will benefit Dont'a Hightower's game.

If Harris can pick up the Patriots defense quickly -- and all indications are that there should be few issues there -- he could take some of the all-important communication responsibilities off of Hightower's shoulders. 

Ever since taking the reins from Jerod Mayo as the team's signal-caller, Hightower has had to be on top of all requisite pre-snap checks and last-second alignment changes. It's a critical role, and one that Hightower performs well, but those duties place some added stress on the player wearing the green dot. Perhaps if part of that load can be heaped onto Harris' plate, that might allow Hightower to feel as though he's been freed up to focus on his individual assignments.

Harris' presence might also impact where on the field Hightower is used. Hightower may be the most versatile piece on a Patriots defense loaded with them, but with Harris in the middle, Hightower could end up playing more on the edge, where he's proven he can make a major impact (see: Super Bowl LI).

For Belichick and his staff, having the ability to use one of their best pass-rushers -- and one of the most efficient rushers league-wide, per Pro Football Focus -- on the edge more frequently has to be an enticing byproduct of the move to sign Harris. Especially since there are some question marks among the team's end-of-the-line defenders behind Trey Flowers and Rob Ninkovich. 

We'll have to wait for training camp before we have an idea of how exactly Harris fits in with the Patriots defense. But the effect he'll have on his new teammates, and Hightower in particular, will be fascinating to track.