Shawn Thornton

Shawn Thornton unsure whether he'll retire after coming season

DJ Bean
August 11, 2015 - 7:25 am

Thirty-eight-year-old Shawn Thornton is entering the final year of a two-year deal with the Panthers. He doesn'€™t know if it will mark the end of a long playing career. "It'€™s tough to [say]," Thornton said Monday. "I don'€™t know. I'€™m OK either way. Going into my 19th year pro, for my job, I'€™m very happy with what'€™s happened over my career. I'€™m OK if I have to shut her down. If I have a tough year and that'€™s it, then so be it. If I happen to have a good year and things work out and somebody wants to give me a paycheck for another year, I'€™m more than happy to [keep playing]. "I love competing. I love staying in shape. I love the game, I love being around the guys. I'€™ve said if before: I'€™ll play until they rip the skates off me. If that happens to be [next] summer, then it is. If it happens to be the summer after, even better." Though he has been an NHL regular for the last nine seasons, Thornton has been playing professionally since 1997-98, his first of four seasons with the St. John'€™s Maple Leafs of the NHL. Out of 19 professional seasons, this will be the third in which he makes $1 million or more. He made just over a million in 2013-14 before taking a deal with Florida that pays him $1.2 million annually. Thornton, who lives in Charlestown, plans to work in the media after his playing days are done. He has good relationships with both sports radio stations and both sports television channels in town. He got a head-start on his future career by working as on-air talent with Comcast SportsNet late in his Bruins career. He added to his post-playing resumé in the spring when he worked as an analyst for NBC Sports'€™ coverage of the NHL playoffs, working alongside Mike Milbury and Keith Jones. While Thornton found the work challenging, he said it reaffirmed his desire to make it a profession in the coming years. "That was an experience," Thornton said. "I liked it. I really liked it. The second night was probably a little bit better than the first. [I was] a little bit more settled in. [It was] a little nerve-wracking, I'€™m not going to lie to you. I didn'€™t go to broadcasting school, so it'€™s a little different when the cameras are right on you. "But those guys were great helping out. It was great to try it. Jonesie and Millbury were really, really good about in between takes, giving me some advice here and there. I really enjoyed it." Thornton politely passed when reminded he could always try to become beat writer.