As Big Corsi slowly tears the very fabric of our beloved NHL, it’s important that we eulogize the high compete level players who have been tossed to the wayside. Luckily, hot takist Joe Haggerty is up to the task.
In a post on CSNNE.com, Haggerty lamented the passing of one Shawn Thornton — a hero in the community of intangibles — from the Boston Bruins. According to Haggerty, Thornton was a key cog in the Bruins march to success the past few years.
Was it due to Thornton’s ability to play hockey well? Of course not. Don’t be ridiculous. It was due to other….things. Here’s a taste of Haggerty’s hot take:
He played with a toughness and swagger that raised the confidence level of players around him, and made Boston’s skill players feel like they were protected from the league’s predators. It didn’t make the B’s bullet proof, obviously, as evidenced by the hard head shots that guys like Marc Savard, Nathan Horton, Loui Eriksson and Patrice Bergeron have taken over the years.
But it could have been worse if No. 22 wasn’t glowering at the cheap shot artists from the end of the bench.
Notice how, like a master takist, Haggerty brings up numerous intangibles here. “Toughness” and “swagger” can’t be quantified, of course, but we still know that they are qualities of truly great hockey players. And boy was Thornton absolutely swagtastic, never afraid to YOLO it up on the ice every night.
If Haggerty had taken time to do some research some quantifiable statistics on Thornton (a big no no), it would have just impeded with his delivery of this piping hot take.
And Haggerty is right about how much worse it could have been without Thornton. We can’t really quantify the effect per se, but it’s fun to wildly speculate so why the hell not? Without Shawn Thornton, the Bruins probably wouldn’t have won a Stanley Cup in 2011. Without Shawn Thornton, Bobby Orr never would have even been a Bruin (it works retroactively). And as Dimitri Filipovich rightfully points out, “if not for Thornton a meteor could’ve rained down on the TD Garden and wiped all 20k away.”
Thornton literally saved the lives of thousands — many of whom were undoubtedly children. The dude is basically Jesus.
Not to be outdone by his earlier piping hot take, Haggerty one upped himself, closing the column with this scorcher:
At this point the Bruins only seem to be losing two key players from last season’s squad in Jarome Iginla and Thornton. While Iginla’s 30 goals scored will be missed, they can be replaced on a line with a skilled playmaker like David Krejci.
What isn’t so easily manufactured is Thornton’s force of personality in the B’s dressing room, and life without No. 22 will be one of the narratives for next season whether people like it or not.
We all know 30 goal scorers are a dime a dozen in today’s NHL. What isn’t so easy to find are guys that punch people a bunch and do pretty much nothing else. Nope — you can’t even construct an entire team of truculent guys who probably shouldn’t even have NHL contracts.
RIP Shawn Thornton, and may you find success beating the shit out of people in Florida.