Shawn Thornton: 'To get a standing ovation in a visiting arena is pretty special'

Mike Petraglia
November 04, 2014 - 7:32 pm
If ever Shawn Thornton wanted a reminder of what he meant to Bruins fans over the last seven years, he got it in a 45-second tribute in the first period Tuesday night at TD Garden. As they did with the return of Johnny Boychuk two weeks earlier, the Bruins gave a video tribute on the large monitors above center ice midway through the first period. It featured him holding up the Stanley Cup in 2011, scoring a goal and naturally some of his better fisticuffs over his time in black and gold. He showed his appreciation by waving his stick in the air. "It'€™s pretty touching you know," Thornton said. "Very, very kind, very gentle. Gentle? That'€™s not the word I was looking for. To get a standing ovation in a visiting arena is pretty special and I appreciate it. The fans have always been great to me here and again tonight. It'€™s pretty nice." Thornton, who signed a two-year, $2.4 million deal on July 1, played 17 shifts and spent 14 minutes on the ice as coach Gerard Gallant used his whole bench. He finished with one shot, one takeaway and four hits, but no fights. "Well, Turk rolls four lines so I think he has had confidence in our line all year," Thornton said. "Again tonight was another case of that. I think it'€™s nice to have two guys in Mack [Derek MacKenzie] and Kopy [Tomas Kopecky] that I'€™m playing with, it makes life a little easier for me. It'€™s nice to have the trust in us to put us out there." Thornton said the emotion of his return ended when he took the ice for his first shift. "Once the game got going it didn'€™t matter," Thornton said. " I was out there to win and out there to play hard and it doesn'€™t matter who you'€™re playing against. The weird part was over by the time the puck dropped to be completely honest. "I enjoyed it, I embraced it. Listen, I'€™m really appreciative of the way I was treated when I came in here. I had a great seven years and tonight was very nice of them to give me that tribute and get that standing ovation. They didn'€™t have to do that. I just wish we would have won but as far as getting it over with, I enjoyed it, I was looking forward to it and it was everything and more." Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo, now a teammate, says Thornton's leadership has already been felt in the dressing room. "He'€™s been great since he'€™s got here," Luongo said. "He has showed a lot of leadership and character, something that this team has needed. He has been a good influence on our young guys and a big part of our team."