Thornton had to quite literally fight his way into the league as a younger player after a lengthy start to his career in the minors. He eventually broke through and has become a valuable asset for a Stanley Cup contender. And while he’s not “just a fighter,” so to speak, his claim to fame remains his ability to throw punches with the biggest and baddest the NHL has to offer.
If the league were to rid itself of fighting, players like Thornton would certainly feel the effect of that decision the most. Thornton unsurprisingly thinks the anti-fighting crusade that seems to rear its head every time there’s a fighting-related controversy is a little overblown.
“I think that whenever an incident happens, I think people are a lot quicker to jump on the, I don’t know what to call it, whether it’s pedestal or bandwagon or I don’t know which way to go about it, but the anti-fighting people are a lot more vocal after an incident happens,” Thornton told ESPN.com.
Thornton cited George Parros‘ injury that occurred earlier this season when the Canadiens tough guy slipped and fell during a fight. Parros smashed his face into the ice, and the fighting debate raged on. However, Thornton feels there are more head-related injuries because of hits than fights.
“I don’t know the numbers so I probably shouldn’t [say] but I think a lot more concussions are happening from head hits than fighting, but any time anyone gets punched in the face and gets hurt, people jump all over it,” Thornton told the website. “I think there’s an agenda. I’m not sure where it’s coming from. I won’t say it’s changing the tide, but I think there’s definitely more of an agenda nowadays.”
Thornton also insisted players still want fighting in the game.
“Definitely, with the players,” he said when asked if there was support for fighting among players. “The players don’t want it to go anywhere.”
Read the entire interview by clicking here.