|08.28.13 at 2:19 pm ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton, who is entering the last year of a two-year, $2.2 million deal, said Wednesday that he does not plan on retiring after the season and would like to play “another year or two at least” with the Bruins.
This comes as little surprise, as Thornton said earlier this month at his annual Putts & Punches for Parkinson’s tournament that he wants another contract. Thornton noted Wednesday that prior to signing with the Bruins before the 2007-08 season, he had played on one-year deals and wouldn’t have a problem going back to them at this contract’s expiration.
“I’ve got this year. I’m going to worry this year,” Thornton told WEEI.com. “Hopefully it works out and obviously I’d like to play another year or two at least, and preferably with the Bruins, but that stuff’s kind of out of my hands.”
Thornton, 36, spent time in the Toronto, Chicago and Anaheim organizations before settling in with the Bruins, where he has become a regular at the NHL level. His best season came in 2010-11, when he had 10 goals and 10 assists for 20 points, all of which were career highs. He has led the Bruins in penalty minutes in each of the last four seasons.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|08.27.13 at 2:12 pm ET|
Bruins winger Shawn Thornton joined Mut & Merloni on Monday afternoon as part of the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon.
Thornton and his teammates soon will return to the ice and look to start another run to the Stanley Cup finals after losing to the Blackhawks in six games. This is the second short offseason for the Bruins in three years, following their Stanley Cup title in 2011.
“It’s different because we won last time. You get a little leeway when you win,” Thornton said. “I think back then we had 12 or 13 weeks. But we won, so let’s get ready. But when you lose, that taste is in your mouth and it’s like you’re rattled all summer and you want to prove a point. Everybody wants to be ready for Day 1.
“I think it’s tough, personally, mentally, to tell yourself that you played just as many games, just as long as the team that beat you, because it leaves such a sour taste in your mouth.”
Asked if would every be able to watch a replay of the heartbreaking, last-minute loss in Game 6, Thornton said, “No. Never. That one will sting for the rest of my life. I hope I win another one. And if I do, then I’ll be like, ‘Wow, I’ve got three rings; I should have had four.’ That’s how I look at it. I hate losing. That one stung.”
The Bruins had some turnover this offseason — including sending Tyler Seguin to the Stars for Louis Eriksson — but kept the core of their squad intact.
“The last four or five years we’ve had teams that can compete every year. I think management has done a really good job of keeping the nucleus together and bringing in pieces here and there to try and fit in the needs,” Thornton said. “Louis Eriksson supposedly — I haven’t played against him a ton because he’s on the West — but supposedly they say he’s one of the more underrated guys in the NHL, being in Dallas, not getting a lot of big-market notoriety. I’m excited to see this guy play.”
Thornton makes regular visits to patients at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute throughout the year to offer an emotional boost.
“It’s a feel-good moment,” he said. “We go over there for an hour, it’s an hour or two of our time. To see these kids and what they’re fighting through, their attitudes and how happy they are and they’re talking about how lucky they are and things are going well and all this stuff. Sometimes we complain because our [steak] strip on the private flight is medium-well. It puts a lot of things into perspective.
“Speaking for myself, I really enjoy it. But I know a lot of my teammates try and get over there as much as possible, too, because we really like it.”
For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.
|08.25.13 at 6:15 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli has been added to Team Canada’s Olympic management staff, something that became official Sunday as Olympic hopefuls (46 players) met in Calgary for a three-day orientation.
|08.22.13 at 2:43 pm ET|
This season will be the first with the NHL’s realigned conferences and divisions, meaning the days of the Northeast Division are over and the Bruins will have some new rivals in the Atlantic Division. Over the coming days, WEEI.com will look at the Bruins’ divisional opponents, new and old.
We’ll start by looking at the only team in the Atlantic that’s coming over from the old Western Conference, which is the Red Wings. The Bruins will play Detroit four times this season, with two of their first five games of the season coming against the Red Wings.
Under the new format of the NHL, the top three teams from each division make the playoffs, with the two teams with the next-highest point totals getting the final two spots. Detroit shouldn’t worry about grabbing one of those two extra spots, as they figure to contend for one of the top two or three berths in the division.
WHAT THEY ARE
A perennial contender with a lot of skill on offense. They finished 20th in scoring in a shortened season that general managers throughout the league have said was impossible to properly assess, but they finished seventh in the league with 2.92 goals per game in 2011-12 and second with 3.13 goals per game in 2010-11. The additions of Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss should help them move away from last year’s relatively low offensive output and get back near the top of the league in the scoring department.
No team can truly recover from losing Nicklas Lidstrom, which the Wings did prior to last season, but Detroit still finished with 2.29 goals allowed per game in 2013, which was fifth-lowest in the league. They can thank steady defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who has played in every game the last two seasons, and former UMaine goaltender Jimmy Howard for that.
All in all, the Red Wings are a balanced team that shouldn’t expect its very lengthy playoff streak (see below) come to an end any time soon. They should challenge the likes of the Bruins and Canadiens for the top spot in the division in the coming years.
The Red Wings finished third in the Central Division in 2013. In clinching the seven seed, they made the playoffs for the 22nd consecutive season, a span that has seen four Stanley Cup championships for Detroit.
As for the Red Wings’ stay in the playoffs, one can’t help but wonder how it affected the Bruins’ bid for the Stanley Cup. After eliminating the second-seeded Ducks in the conference quarterfinals, Detroit took the eventual champion Blackhawks to the brink of elimination by taking a 3-1 series. The Blackhawks marched back to win the series, with Brent Seabrook notching the dagger in overtime of Game 7 to eliminate the Red Wings.
Before free agency started, the Red Wings gave Pavel Datsyuk a three-year extension. The prize of Detroit’s offseason was Alfredsson, who chose the Red Wings’ group of Swedish players (Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen and Kronwall, among others) over the Bruins’ perceived better shot at the Stanley Cup. The contract is for $5.5 million, but because he is over 35, the sides were able to structure a team-friendly deal (a la Jarome Iginla with the Bruins) with a $3.5 million cap hit and an additional $2 million for an easily attainable bonus (10 games played).
The Red Wings also brought in Weiss, the longtime Panthers forward, with a five-year, $24.5 million deal. Their biggest loss was forward Valtteri Filppula, who left Detroit in free agency for a big payday with the Lightning in the form of a five-year, $25 million deal.
'¢ The Red Wings and Bruins have met 579 times, with the Red Wings holding the edge with 249 wins, 234 losses, 95 ties and one overtime loss.
The last time the teams met, Detroit beat the B’s in a shootout the day after Thanksgiving in 2011. The game snapped a 10-game winning streak for the Bruins. Datsyuk scored this goal.
'¢ Speaking of Datsyuk, he’s super awesome at hockey. It will be a treat for hockey fans to see the three-time Selke winner in the division, with Patrice Bergeron also contending for the award as the league’s top defensive forward each year (he won it 2011-12).
During a playoff game in 2012, Pierre McGuire called David Krejci “Boston’s version of Pavel Datsyuk.” Krejci called Datsyuk the best player in the world, while Zdeno Chara thought highly enough of him to make him his first pick in the 2012 fantasy draft to determine All-Star Game teams.
'¢ The Red Wings’ 22-season playoff streak is the fifth-longest in the history of the NHL. The longest such streak was by the Bruins, who reached the playoffs in 29 straight seasons from 1967 to 1996.
Detroit’s streak is the longest active one. The next-longest is that of the Sharks, who have made the playoffs in nine straight seasons. The B’s have been in the postseason for the last six seasons, which is tied for the fourth-longest active streak.
'¢ The presence of the Red Wings in a division with the Bruins, Canadiens and Maple Leafs makes the Atlantic the most Original 6 heavy division with four such teams. The Rangers are in the Metropolitan Division, while the Blackhawks (Central) are now the only Original 6 team in the Western Conference.
|08.20.13 at 9:02 pm ET|
The Bruins announced Tuesday that they have renewed its affiliation with the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL. The Stingrays have been the Bruins’ ECHL affiliate since last season.
Previously, the Stingrays served as the Capitals’ ECHL affiliate from 2004-12.
|08.20.13 at 5:19 pm ET|
The Bruins announced Tuesday that they have promoted Keith Gretzky to Director of Amateur Scouting, hired P.J. Axelsson as a European amateur scout and hired Keith Sullivan as an amateur scout.
Gretzky, who is the brother of Wayne Gretzky, has been with the Bruins as an amateur scout since 2011. He replaces Wayne Smith, who was fired this offseason following the draft. Smith had been the team’s Director of Amateur Scouting since 2007. In that span, the Bruins have had a shaky go of it with their first-round picks, as top-10 picks Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton are the only sure-fire NHLers, while 2007 eighth overall pick Zach Hamill has been a career AHLer, playing in four organizations with just 20 NHL games and has been viewed largely as a bust.
Axelsson rejoins the Bruins after spending his entire NHL career with the Bruins from 1997-2009. In 797 games, the 1995 seventh-sound pick had 103 goals and 184 assists for 287 points. He will be based out of Sweden.
Sullivan was a scout for the Coytotes from 2007-11 before scouting for the Jets in 2011-12. He was the general manager of the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the USHL last season and will be based out of Omaha.
|08.13.13 at 10:44 am ET|