BOSTON | Dale Hunter spent the past few days talking about how much fun he had in Game 7s as a player. He got to take part in four of them with the Washington Capitals and more with the Quebec Nordiques.
He appreciates those experiences, but nothing like Boston Bruins tough guy Shawn Thornton.
“I really never ever thought this was ever going to be a career,” Thornton said. “I was just happy to play road hockey and pretend. I never thought I’d actually be here.”
Thornton got a chance to play in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final last season and four more such situations dating to 2008. Not bad for a grinder from Oshawa.
“It’s pretty cool. Obviously it’s what every kid dreams of coming up through,” he said. “I’m happy to be a part of it.”
As of Wednesday morning, Thornton didn’t know if he’d get to be a part of Game 7 against the Caps, as he’s one of a couple of choices to be a healthy scratch.
Still, he’s one of the most articulate, well-spoken players in the Bruins’ locker room … even though he struggled to come up with playoff Game 7 memories growing up. Not surprisingly, he was a Toronto Maple Leafs fan.
“No, not off the top of my head. I really don’t. I’m trying to think,” he said. “The Leafs were terrible, so I don’t even know if they got there.”
Then there was 1993 and the Leafs losing to Wayne Gretzky and the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference finals.
“Yeah, that’s a bad memory. I was at the SkyDome watching that with my mom,” Thornton said. “It was a bad memory. That’s the only Game 7 I really remember growing up.”