Judging by the hockey boards, there is a great deal of excitement about the arrival of Shawn Thornton
on Causeway Street and I was lucky enough to track him down before he made a community appearance here in the Hub last week.
A friendly man with a knowing grin, he casually answered any question I threw at him and seemed to enjoy his new home, seated as he was in the TD Banknorth Garden's "Boston Garden Room."
First off, I asked the new B's policeman to talk a little bit about himself.
"I am from Oshawa, Ontario, just outside Toronto," he said. "I'm 30-years old, not getting any younger."
Predictably, however, Thornton quickly switched to talking about his new team and casually announced that nobody was going to take advantage of this year's crop of Black & Gold skaters.
"I am going to try and bring some energy," he said, "and help my teammates out whenever I can."
Asked about winning the Stanley Cup last season with Anaheim, the very well spoken skater said that words actually fail him when describing the experience.
"I wish I could (tell you how it felt), but I don't think there are any words to explain it, though," said Thornton. "The joy and the excitement that (I) was going through -- you can't put it into words.
"It was a sense of accomplishment, all that hard work paying off, that's for sure.
"It didn't sink in for, probably, three days," he said.
Almost three months later, it's obvious that winning the Stanley Cup remains a distant accomplishment, as if he were to talk about it too much, it might be taken from him. But it is, indeed, real.
And for an admittedly late bloomer, the trophy holds extra special significance.
"I am going into my eleventh year, right now," he said. "I was nine and a half years in the minors.
"I had a couple of cups of coffee with Chicago, up and down, up and down.
"For the most part I had been a career minor leaguer until the last couple of years and (had) a lot of battles down there in the AHL, but I guess it was all worth it in the end," Thornton said.
Ahhh. Battles. Let's talk about that.
"I go out, crash and bang," said Thornton. "And I will stick up for my teammates."
Talking about the fight game, Thornton admitted that he and one possible line mate have already gone several rounds.
"I ran into 'Reicher' (Jeremy Reich) a few times when he was with Providence and I think once when he was with Syracuse many, many moons ago, too," he said, "I'll be looking forward to be playing with
him, that's for sure."
The intensity of playing hockey in Boston is not lost on Thornton, who grew up watching an Original Six team, and he clearly intends to bring that passion to the Garden.
"Being from Toronto I was forced to be a Leafs fan (and) I have been fortunate enough that three out of the four organizations that I have been with now have been Original Six…I was drafted by Toronto. Then I was with Chicago, and now Boston.
"It is always pretty special when you get to put one of those jerseys on," he said.
Speaking of Boston, there is no doubt that the town itself, and the retooled franchise, weighed heavily into his decision to relocate.
"I love the city," said Thornton. "Every time I have been here it's been a great time.
"And I think the team is really moving in the right direction.
"They put a lot of pieces into place last year, and a couple smaller ones (like) me this year, and hopefully that will get the ship going the right way," he said.
If you ask me, with Thornton on board, it seems like that ship is doing just fine.