Veteran enforcer dealt with emotions of being placed on waivers again following
diet, training in St. Louis to try and be fit, leaner, is grateful for another chance
HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- Veteran forward Chris Thorburn was packed and had his truck fueled up and ready to make the trek to San Antonio.
After Thorburn was put on waivers and going unclaimed, he was not on the opening night roster because the Blues carried nine defensemen and no extra forwards following the suspension of Robert Bortuzzo.
But Thorburn was recalled from San Antonio of the American Hockey League on Friday and the Blues assigned defenseman Niko Mikkola to the Rampage with Bortuzzo eligible to come back against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday and the need for the Blues to carry an extra forward.
"Packed and ready to go, but I got a text last night to come to practice today," Thorburn said. "Obviously the emotions were high last night. Just super happy to be back."
Thorburn, 35, played for the Blues in their final preseason game at Washington last Sunday but was informed by GM Doug Armstrong he would be going on waivers and to give him ample time to get his family prepped for the trip to Texas.
"We were in Washington and I got home early because I went on waivers, just in case something happened on waivers," Thorburn said. "Nothing obviously did and talked to 'Army' after that and he said that he was going to give me a couple extra days just to sort some things out, get things organized and head to San Antonio. And then he text me last night and said to report to practice today. I'm super excited. It's great being back and being around the guys in the locker room."
Needless to say, Thorburn had some anxious days the past week.
"It's been tough to sleep since Sunday night to be quite honest," he said. "There are a lot of emotions, just a lot of mind games ... I don't know, just stuff playing through your head. It's hard to explain. My wife calmed me down. She does a great job through my whole career doing that for me and I don't know how she does it. She put me in a good place and then obviously the news last night was really awesome.
"My age is no secret. In hockey, it's up there. Not in the real world, but in hockey age, it's high. The last couple years, it's really played through my head where my mind would be at if something like this were to happen. I'm proud of myself and the way my wife handled it and coming out of it. Coming today, I felt rejuvenated. Just a second opportunity. You appreciate it a lot more. It's almost like a kick in the butt really. I'm just going to try and take advantage of every opportunity I get. I'll take one day at a time as cliche as that sounds, but that's kind of where I'm at now."
That's why Thorburn, who has 134 points (53 goals, 81 assists) in 800 NHL games, is just rolling with the punches these days.
"Just roll with it. I think before this happened, I was just kind of stuck in my ways as far as just labeling myself as a tough guy or whatever you want to call me," Thorburn said. "After this and after this second opportunity, not that I'm gonna get away from that because it's that's obviously what's gotten me my career, but just trying to add something more to the table. It's about winning, the business is about winning. You've got to bring more, you've got to be more than a one-dimensional player. It's just a matter of getting better every day, trying to contribute in different ways but at the same time, bringing what I've always brought."
Thorburn stayed in St. Louis this summer and trained, changed up his diet (for the better) by eliminating sugars and carbs and came into camp with the right mindset.
"I stayed here, trained with the guys here with the training staff and the guys off the team, 'Petro' being one of them," Thorburn said. "I had a great summer. I feel faster and leaner, new diet, just because the game's getting faster. I had to match that, or at least get up to a speed where I can compete. I thought I did that, but it came down to numbers. Everyone that came into camp that needed to have a good camp had a great camp, from the kids to the second-year guys to the third-year guys. Everyone performed and I just got caught in a numbers game or whatever it was. I totally understand the decision. Not that I was happy or satisfied with it, but I get a second opportunity to take advantage of it and that's what I'm going to try and do.
"It was just eliminating a lot of the bad sugars I'd been taking in. I like pop, soda, so I cut that out completely and it was tough. Started to see results, which is all you ask for. It helps you stick to it. That's just the biggest thing is the sugar and the carbs. Being in an Italian background, that was tough too because bread and pasta was a big part if it, cold cuts. But those are my favorites. I had to make some sacrifices."
Thorburn won't play Saturday and understands he's just an extra forward for the time being but a guy popular in the locker room and looked up to fondly.