BOSTON -- Bruins veteran forward Shawn Thornton is back in Charlestown, Mass., where he resides year-round now, training for the upcoming season both in the weight room and at a local boxing gym. Thornton recently had his day with the Stanley Cup back in his native Ontario, where he took it to Whitby, Oshawa and Toronto. This was the second time Thornton got to enjoy this grand experience -- he won the Cup with Anaheim in 2007 -- and this time he made sure he soaked it all in.
"It was pretty low key this time, but it was an awesome day," Thornton said of his second go-around with Lord Stanley. "I wasn't stressed to get anywhere. So I got to just enjoy the day. I was fortunate enough that it got in from Finland the night before it was due here, and Mike -- the keeper of the Cup -- surprised me, showing up to dinner where I was with 12 of my friends. Nobody was expecting the trophy. ... So that was cool."
Thornton told himself after his day with the Cup in 2007 that if he ever won it again he would take it to the top of the CN Tower in Toronto. So that's just what he did last week before making a pit stop at a local bar and then visiting the homes of family and friends.
"That was fun, and we also brought it to the King Beer Market in Toronto, where one of my friends is one of the owners. But other than that, we did some pop-ins, did a big photo shoot at my parents, took it to the in-laws and just tried to relax and chill with it this time around," he said.
It's been a hectic summer for all members of the Bruins organization. Thornton, who is the only Bruin that resides full time in Boston, admitted that being an ambassador of the team at local events has left him with little down time. But, he said, he hasn't minded it because he's happy to see the Bruins get the spotlight.
"Obviously the week after we won was crazy celebrating, but the week after that was pretty quiet," Thornton said. "I went up to Montreal and that was nice. Actually got my green card. And that was pretty relaxing. Then I went home to Ontario for a couple of days and then back here. But around here [Boston] it's pretty crazy because it feels like every few days I have something going on. But, I mean, I am the only guy around for the summer really, so the B's are a big deal right now and I'm trying to do whatever I can personally and for the team to help appease the masses."
Winning the Cup also means that Thornton isn't sneaking into any local pubs or restaurants. In fact, he was surprised to be recognized on a recent trip to Las Vegas.
"It's sunk in for sure," Thornton said. "I mean, every day there's four, five or six people that come up to you and recognize you from winning it. I was actually in Vegas earlier this summer and there were people recognizing us in the airport there too, so it's been pretty crazy. Everywhere you go, you know people are really excited about the Bruins finally bringing it home."
With that excitement over the Bruins' first Stanley Cup in 39 years, the expectations for next season will be immense. But, as Thornton pointed out, management has done a splendid job of positioning the team to be in contention for the Cup for the foreseeable future.
"You look at our team -- 'Krech' [David Krejci], 'March' [Brad Marchand], 'Luch' [Milan Lucic] -- and all of them are in the early- to mid-20s. And with exception of 'March,' who will sign soon I'm sure, they're locked up for the next little bit. I think Peter [Chiarelli] has done a good job managing and, even with us winning it, being able to keep the team together. He brought in a couple of new guys to fill some voids that left and I think the core is there. We got 'Big Z' [Zdeno Chara] back, obviously, and ... missing 'Rex' [Mark Recchi] in the locker room, guys will have to step up a little bit leadership-wise, but other than that we're in good shape."
As Thornton mentioned, with the departure of Recchi, new leaders will need to emerge. There has been talk among fans and media that Thornton should be given the 'A' (for assistant captain) that Recchi wore last season. Patrice Bergeron also wears an "A" and Chara wears the captain's "C" on his jersey.
"It would be awesome but I haven't had a letter on my jersey since I've been here and it doesn't stop you from leading in different ways," Thornton said. "Letter or no letter you have to continue to do your job, and I know there's a list of my teammates that could wear that. A couple of years ago it rotated around, so I'm sure the coaches and upper management will talk to Z and see what the consensus is. But if they consider me, that in itself is a great honor."
James Murphy covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com. Ask a question for his next Bruins mailbag here.