On a team wanting for “glue guys” all season long, Shawn Thornton was a “super glue guy” through the thick and thin of the Bruins’ inconsistent 2009-10 campaign.
No one paid a bigger physical toll for the benefit of the Bruins, as Thornton racked up an amazing 21 fighting majors in just 74 games (the Bruins were 13-4-3 in games Thornton fought). His leadership and work ethic were a rare constant on an up-and-down club, even if his offensive game non-existent.
Thornton dropped from six goals to just one (scored in the second game of the season) despite just 17 fewer shots on net. Maybe his hands were just a little worn down from sticking up for all his teammates and doing almost all the dirty work. Regardless, he impressed management enough to earn a new two-year contract that will keep him among the most reliable and beloved Bruins for a couple more seasons.
Stats: 74 GP, 1-9-10, 141 PIM, minus-9
Season highlight: While Thornton would prefer we focus on that goal he scored against Carolina or one of the four assists he accumulated on eventual game-winning goals this season, we still have to focus on his fighting. Obviously, his smack down of Matt Cooke March 18 gave the Bruins and their fans some level of satisfaction, even if Thornton’s teammates proceeded to lay one of their biggest eggs of the year after the battle. While controversy over the Bruins’ lack of a response for the Marc Savard hit had brewed for 11 days, Thornton proved that had he been given an opportunity that day at The Igloo, Cooke would’ve paid the price much sooner.
Season low-light: Thornton was on the wrong end of history Jan. 1 at Fenway Park, as the first fight in Winter Classic history featured a beatdown from Philadelphia tough guy Daniel Carcillo. Thornton wound up on his rear.
Final grade: B-minus
You’d think even blind luck would’ve guided a couple more of those pucks past the goaltender and into the net to help the offense-starved Bruins. But otherwise, Thornton had a solid all-around year providing his team with physical presence and energy.
The crystal ball says … it’s not hard to predict that Thornton will do all the same things for Boston over the next two years with, what he hopes will be, slightly better offensive totals.