Shawn Thornton signed a two-year, $2.2 million deal with the Bruins this offseason but, with the lockout entering day 48, he realizes he might not see all of that money.
He also realizes that, at age 35, a lengthy work stoppage could end his career.
“For guys like me I have a few years left and I’m kind of caught in the middle and squeezed out on both sides,” he told CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty. “If this goes on for a year or two then I’m probably done and I have to go back to working for a living.
“That’s fine. I’ve done it before. I worked in a steel factory when I was younger. But on the other side I’d like to play out the last two years of my contract and be a little bit ahead after fighting 400 times over the last 15 years.”
Thornton is the latest player to openly suggest either 1) time is not on his side, or 2) he needs to play to keep his job.
Kimmo Timonen (link): “If this thing drags on another two or three months who knows, I might lose my motivation and we will see what happens after.”
Daniel Alfredsson (link): “I think the longer [the lockout’s] been going here, I don’t feel as eager to get back.”
Jaromir Jagr (link): “I don’t have many games left. I would like to play in the U.S. as soon as possible, like everybody. For this type of hockey [European], I’ve still got time left. But for the NHL, I don’t have many games left.”
Sean O’Donnell (link): “If this goes long or we miss the whole year, then my career is done.”
Justin Falk (link): “I need a season here. It’s a tough situation. We stand together as a union, but there’s such a variety of players — guys on the bubble with one-year contracts that need games to play in this league…I want this to be a start of a career in the National Hockey League. It’s hard not to worry this could do a lot of damage in my career. I need to keep progressing because there’s always someone knocking on the door.”
While these comments aren’t necessarily signs of fractures within the NHLPA, they do suggest union members haven’t forgotten how profoundly the last work stoppage terminated careers.
Eric Macramalla, the author of PHT’s Ask a Lawyer series, estimates about 240 NHL players who played in 2003-04 didn’t return after the lockout.