Shawn Thornton LW BOS 2 Months

Shawn Thornton doesn't think players will end up taking it too easy during the Olympic break.

Those that aren't playing in Sochi will get to spend some time vacationing before they have to return to their team's for practice. That creates potential problems as teams or players that have momentum could lose it and players could get rusty. Still, Thornton is confident that those NHLers on break won't lose sight of the bigger picture. "Guys do a pretty good job of staying in shape during the break," he said. "They may take 4-5 days off to enjoy it at first, but then everybody is back working out wherever they are. Nobody gets out of shape anymore. Everybody takes care of themselves." He added that it might be in contrast to 2010, where he felt guys were a little sloppy in the games immediately after the break. It helps that those not participating in the Olympics will have a week of team practices before play resumes.

Shawn Thornton LW BOS 3 Months

If you are looking for some penalty minutes, you might want to consider starting Shawn Thornton Saturday afternoon against the Oilers.

The Oilers just acquired tough defenseman Mark Fraser from the Maple Leafs and he will no doubt be looking to show his new team what he's made of. We can't think of a better candidate for him to challenge than Thornton, whom he fought in last year's playoffs.

Shawn Thornton LW BOS 3 Months

Shawn Thornton returned from his 15-game suspension on Saturday.

Thornton was punished for repeatedly hitting Brooks Orpik in the head after he had knocked the Penguins defenseman down. He was credited with a shot on goal and blocked shot in his return. He also logged 8:42 minutes in Boston's 1-0 win over San Jose.

Shawn Thornton LW BOS 3 Months

Shawn Thornton will be back in the Boston lineup after sitting out 15 games due to a suspension.

He was punished for repeatedly hitting Brooks Orpik in the head. Thonton, who will skatein his usual spot on the Bruins' fourth line, is excited to be returning. "It's been a long, long, long time," Thornton said. "I don't want to sound like I'm bitching, like I'm the victim here, but five weeks is a long time not to be playing. I'm looking forward to [Saturday], to hopefully play and start moving forward, focusing on the tasks ahead and not on the past." Thornton may try to behave himself a little upon his return so if you are counting on him for penalty minutes, we would advise you hold off on activating him. Read more at: http://nesn.com/2014/01/shawn-thornton-excited-to-return-pledges-to-continue-to-play-his-game/

Shawn Thornton LW BOS 3 Months

Shawn Thornton said he's still friends with Brooks Orpik.

Thornton just completed a 15-game suspension for knocking Orpik down and then repeatedly punching Orpik in the head. Orpik ended up with a concussion as a result. "He basically said things happen in the heat of the moment, that he's been guilty of it, too," Thornton said. "He's feeling better. That helped a lot. I still have to text him congrats for making the Olympic team. I keep forgetting to do it."

Shawn Thornton LW BOS 3 Months

Shawn Thornton has finished serving his 15-game suspension.

Thornton received the lengthy ban for his attack on Pittsburgh's Brooks Orpik back on Dec. 7. He is eligible to return to Boston's lineup on Saturday night versus San Jose. In 27 contests, he has three goals and 41 penalty minutes.

Shawn Thornton LW BOS 3 Months

Shawn Thornton is eager to return to Boston's lineup from his 15-game suspension.

"I've been itching (to play) for a while," said Thornton, who is eligible to return for Saturday's game in San Jose. "I can see it now, at least, getting ready for Saturday. Probably since last Saturday I've been a little more focused and positive as far as trying to get ready for this first game back after having five weeks off. I'm sure it's going to be a little bit of an adjustment, but we'll work through it." He has three goals and 41 penalty minutes in 27 contests.

Shawn Thornton LW BOS 4 Months

Shawn Thornton has decided not to take his appeal of his 15-game suspension to a neutral arbitrator.

Thornton appealed it to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, but Bettman upheld the length of his punishment. Thornton is eligible to return on Jan. 11 after he knocked down Pittsburgh's Brooks Orpik and then proceeded to punch the Penguins player twice in the head.

Shawn Thornton LW BOS 4 Months

Shawn Thornton might decide to appeal his 15-game suspension to a neutral arbitrator.

Thornton has that right after NHL commissioner Gary Bettman declined to change the length of his punishment. The Boston Bruins certainly seem prepared for Thornton to go that route. "We respect the process including the ability to attend the hearing with Commissioner Bettman in support of Shawn," the team said in a statement. "At this time, we will decline comment until the process is complete and Shawn has exhausted all rights available to him."

Shawn Thornton LW BOS 4 Months

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has decided not to change the length of Shawn Thornton's 15-game suspension.

Thornton can now push his appeal further by taking it to a neutral arbitrator. He's already served eight games of his suspension for knocking down Pittsburgh's Brooks Orpik when the play was dead and then punching Orpik twice in the head.