Shawn Thornton, Bruins Ready to Meet Challenge of Preparing for New Campaign After Short Offseason

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Shawn Thornton, Bruins Ready to Meet Challenge of Preparing for New Campaign After Short Offseason MIDDLETON, Mass. — The Bruins will face a new challenge this year.

They are suddenly the hunted, with every team in the league gunning for what Boston finally earned for the first time in 39 years this past spring. And after four grueling rounds of playoff action en route to winning the Stanley Cup, the Bruins won't have much time this summer to prepare for the upcoming season.

For most of the Bruins, that short offseason will be a new experience. But one Bruin has been through it before, and Shawn Thornton hopes to apply what he learned in the wake of winning his first Cup in Anaheim back in 2007 to his preparations for the upcoming season.

"I'm fortunate enough to have been through this once before," Thornton said Monday at his second annual Putts and Punches for Parkinson's charity golf tournament. "I kind of know what it takes. I loosely started working out about the end of June, a couple weeks after we were done. And then I got back into it around the first week of July, went hard for about four and a half weeks, then took a week off and now I'm back hard at it again."

While Thornton has dealt with a truncated offseason before, this will be his first chance to actually defend a title. He signed with Boston as a free agent in the summer after the Ducks won the Cup, so he hasn't yet dealt with the pressures of playing a season as a reigning champion.

He has dealt with jumping back into action just a few short months after finishing a Cup run, so he knows how tough it can be to get ready to face that challenge after a short summer filled with the distractions and celebrations that come with winning a championship. And he's happy to offer any advice to his teammates on how to deal with the challenges that await, though he hasn't yet been called upon to offer too many words of wisdom.

"I haven't talked to too many guys this summer," Thornton said. "Everyone has been staying to themselves, which is understandable. You need to get a mental break from each other too, just as you do from the rink. Once camp comes around, if there's any questions from whoever about what to expect, I have a little bit of experience and there's a couple other guys who have been to the Finals too that can help out."

Even without discussing too much with his teammates yet, Thornton is confident that the Bruins will be up to the task of being ready for next season.

"I think mentally it's a tough balance to be able to let your body rest, but stay in shape at the same time," Thornton said. "But we have a hard-working team. I don't think conditioning will be an issue. It's more mental than anything else."
 
Thornton's workouts this summer have once again included regular sessions in the boxing ring. But even though Thornton is the club's primary pugilist, he insists the ring work in the summer isn't designed to improve his work as a fighter in the rink during the winter.

"It's not to be a better fighter, it just breaks up the monotony of my workouts," Thornton said. "I just go in and touch the mitts instead of getting on the bike or going for five-mile run or sprints or whatever. I just go in and box for an hour and get a good workout in. It might help me a little [as a fighter], but it's definitely just for fitness. It's tough to get that good a workout doing anything else."

It's also tough to get back into the swing of the regular workouts needed to be ready for next season after such a long grind in this spring's playoffs, but Thornton isn't about to complain. After all, a few less weeks of rest is a small price to pay for that day with the Cup.

"I'll take it, if it means you've won, you'll take it," Thornton said of the short offseason. "Maybe if we could have wrapped a few series up before seven games it could have been longer, but we won, so we can't complain about having a short summer."

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