When he signed with the Bruins two summers ago after winning the Stanley Cup in Anaheim, he and his wife Erin made a promise to themselves that they would do their best to enjoy and take advantage of the city.
"When I was a free agent that summer, my wife and I decided wherever I signed, we would live there full time," Thornton told NESN.com recently. "We heard so much about Boston and figured we should take in everything it has to offer while we're here."
The Thorntons settled into a nice condo near the TD Garden and have done their best to breathe in the culture of this historic city, from walking and biking around to see the sites, to frequenting its hundreds of high quality eateries, to enjoying a few pints of Guinness with the Dropkick Murphys.
"This city has so much to offer, from the history, to the food in the North End, to Fenway Park, it's such a great culture," Thornton said. "Of course we support the sports teams, and also, yeah, we've become good friends with the Dropkicks."
Thornton isn't the only Bruin to take up full-time residence in Boston either. Many of the players stayed in town for the summer and Thornton believes this has made the team closer both on and off the ice.
"It's great that so many of us stick around and live close by because we've really become a close-knit bunch," he said. "We're able to grab a bite in the North End after games and, in the summer, it's easier to keep in touch and see each other."
Unfortunately, as Thornton pointed out, the miserable weather all summer hasn't allowed for typical outdoor activities like, say, a barbecue. But that hasn't stopped his offseason training regimen. He has done his best to stay in shape indoors, working out at the gym and taking boxing lessons in Allston.
"It's been quite the experience," Thornton said. "It really conditions you and [my trainer] doesn't let up on me. I'll tell you, he's pretty hard on me. But I needed that because it breaks up the monotony of regular training and also helps my fighting skills."
Thornton is hoping to take the lessons learned there into the upcoming season. Thornton has already learned what it takes to win a Cup — thanks to his 2007 run with the Ducks. But while the Bruins didn't make it that far last season, he believes that he and the team have a better idea of what it will take to get closer to the Cup this season.
"We learned a lot last season," he said. "We had a great year, finishing first in the Eastern Conference. But we learned how that doesn't matter in the playoffs. We played great against Montreal, but unfortunately for some reason we forgot what got us to where we were against Carolina and didn't have it in that series.
"I really think, though, that that was a good lesson for the young core and we can take that into this season. I'm really excited to get going and see what this team can do with that experience under our belts."