For the past four years, however, Thorne has been on the outside. While he broadcasts Baltimore Orioles games or does baseball work for ESPN, he's got the Finals games on a TV at the back of the booth, but he's no longer a hockey announcer, except for the Frozen Four.
Could that change? Thorne's contract is up October 1. The last time he was available, Versus and NBC didn't offer Thorne enough to jump over, but things can change quickly in TV land. Plus, the NHL's contract with Versus is up after 2011 and an expected extension with NBC should be ending then, too.
There's no doubt that Thorne's heart remains with the NHL.
"I miss the hell out of it," he told FanHouse when the Orioles visited Oakland to play the A's this weekend. "There's nothing like it, a month and a half of the last man standing."
Thorne likes the fact that the NHL has found, in Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin, some faces for the league, personalizing the game with highly identifiable athletes and creating interesting matchups in the process. "The NBA does that, the NFL does that, baseball has done it," he said. "There are so many players for the fans to really know all of them. But the first thing you have to have is talent, and if all things are a-go, a great story, a great background and some PR ability, then you're on your way."
"They won't die," Thorne said with a laugh about Detroit. "Do they ever get old? They seem to have no end to grind-it-out players. And Ozzie has been outstanding."
Spending as much time in Baltimore as he does, Thorne was particularly taken with the Capitals' run, which concluded with a tremendous battle with Pittsburgh in the conference semifinals.
"I can't believe the interest that generated," Thorne said. "The Capitals took that city over the latter part of the season and the playoffs -- they were the talk of the region. It was just like Detroit, everyone was running around, 'Who's playing? Who's hurt? What's the score?' People were big-time into it."
But at least for now, Gary Thorne is away from the sport that made his name. He generally doesn't attend games, he said, and when he does, he doesn't visit the broadcast booth. He doesn't want to make anyone uncomfortable. And he goes on, fondly remembering his time behind the mic in June as teams hoisted the Cup.
"I try to stay positive," he said. "I was lucky to do as many Finals as I did."