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Thornton on D&H: ‘I wish I had knocked him out’

03.19.10 at 11:15 am ET
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Shawn Thornton took out Bruins' frustrations on Matt Cooke Thursday night. (AP)

Shawn Thornton took out Bruins' frustrations on Matt Cooke Thursday night. (AP)

Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton was a guest of the Dale & Holley show Friday morning (audio here) to talk about Thursday night’s game against the Penguins and his fight with Matt Cooke. “I tried to address it as best I could,” Thornton said. “I wish the fight would have went on a little longer, and I wish I had knocked him out. It didn’t happen, unfortunately. But it was addressed. I think that was the biggest thing. He didn’t have to fight me, and he did. I think that sort of put some water on the fire.”

Asked what he said to Cooke before they fought, Thornton said he suggested Cook remove his helmet, but the Penguins forward elected not to. “I was just asking what he wanted to do, I didn’t really care,” Thornton said. Thornton proceeded to remove Cooke’s helmet for him before landing a big right hand to the face.

Thornton said it was important that Cooke accepted Thornton’s challenge last night, for both teams’ sake. “I don’t respect people that play the game the wrong way. I think that’s probably evident by me throwing punches when he was down on his knees, because I don’t ever do that,” Thornton said. “I have to give him credit for stepping up and taking one in the head for his team, because it could have got a lot uglier for guys who probably didn’t deserve it to be ugly for if he didn’t do that.”

Like the fans who booed the Bruins’ effort Thursday night, Thornton was surprised by his team’s lackluster performance. “We just didn’t bring enough emotion or energy,” Thornton said. “I have no answer for the lack of energy, other than guys being sick, but that’s not an excuse for anything. I’m just saying some guys were under the weather. But the guys that aren’t could have played better, too.”

Thornton said he was impressed with the energy from the fans. “I know after my fight was maybe the loudest I’ve heard that place other than Game 6 against Montreal a couple of years ago,” he said.

The Bruins are battling for a playoff spot, but their disappearing acts — Thursday night’s included — do not inspire confidence. “The lack of consistency I suppose is concerning,” Thornton said. “We need everyone going. I think in the playoffs, everyone takes it up another level. I’m assuming that everyone, if we get in the playoffs, or when we get in the playoffs, everyone will come to play every night. We’re a really good team if everyone comes to play. We can’t have any passengers, myself included.”

Check back later for more from this interview.

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Claude Julien press conference, 3/18

03.18.10 at 10:58 pm ET
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Claude Julien spoke to the media following the Bruins’ loss to the Penguins on Thursday night.

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Shawn Thornton press conference, 3/18

03.18.10 at 10:12 pm ET
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Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton spoke to the media following the Bruins’ 3-0 loss to the Penguins. Thornton wasted no time seeking revenge vs. Penguins forward Matt Cooke at the start of the game.

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Zdeno Chara press conference, 3/18

03.18.10 at 9:44 pm ET
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Bruins captain Zdeno Chara addressed the media following the Bruins’ disappointing 3-0 loss to the Penguins at home.

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Matt Cooke press conference, 3/18

03.18.10 at 9:36 pm ET
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Matt Cooke spoke to a crowd of media following the Penguins’ 3-0 win over the Bruins on Thursday night.

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Bruins blanked by Penguins

03.18.10 at 8:33 pm ET
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Summary – In one of the most anticipated games of the season, the Bruins got their revenge but ended up losing the contest as the Penguins beat Boston 3-0 at TD Garden on Thursday. Tuukka Rask started and took the loss for the Bruins with 28 saves while Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his 33rd win of the year by stopping 17 pucks.

Boston got the dramatic bits out of the way early when Shawn Thornton threw down the gloves against Matt Cooke on Cooke’s first shift of the game at 1:58 in the first period. The retribution by Thornton was the Bruins initial response for Cooke’s hit on Marc Savard on March 7 that left the center with a Grade 2 concussion. Savard will miss the rest of the year.

After that, it was time to play hockey.

Tyler Kennedy got the Penguins on the board first when he took the puck on the rush down the right wing and beat Rask high for the early goal advantage. It was Kennedy’s 10th goal of the year with the helpers coming from Ruslan Fedotenko and Brooks Orpik at 8:34.

Boston took three penalties in the second period and were able to kill them all but the momentum shifted in the direction of the Penguins who outshot the Bruins 15-5 in the frame. Pittsburgh broke through with an even-strength goal by Alexei Ponikarovsky with 14.1 seconds left to take a two-goal advantage into the third period.

Pittsburgh made it 3-0 when Michael Rupp beat Rask far side at 5:14 in the third to put the Bruins away for good.

Three Stars

Marc-Andre Fleury — The Penguins goaltender did not need to stop many pucks against the Bruins, but he ended up stopping enough to his his 33rd victory of the year.

Alexei Ponikarovsky — Pittsburgh acquired the scoring forward at the trade deadline and he scored the separation goal for the Penguins with his 21st in the second period.

Michael Rupp — The center got in a fight with Zdeno Chara and scored the Penguins third goal of the game in the third period to seal the Bruins fate.

Turning Point — The ways things go for the Bruins offense, the first goal that Rask allowed was the one that broke their back. The emotion of Thornton’s fight against Cooke had worn off and when regular hockey activities commenced Boston found itself outmatched. Kennedy got the strike with a rush down the right wing that was fed by Fedotenko. Rask could not follow the quick shot that Kennedy let go and the Penguins had the lead and never looked back.

Key Play — It may not have been the key play to the game, but Thornton tracking down Cooke for the retribution fight on Cooke’s first shift of the game was essential for Boston’s reputation with its fans and within the NHL. Cooke jumped the boards for his shift at 1:56 in the first period and Thornton had his glove off and ready for the fisticuffs by 1:58, showing that he was going to waste no time in getting the matter over with. Cooke got the first few punches in on Thornton but the Bruins enforcer scored the next couple of hits and pulled Cooke’s sweater over his head that brought the forward to his knees. Thornton took the fighting major as well as a 10-minute misconduct.

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Second period summary: Bruins-Penguins

03.18.10 at 7:47 pm ET
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The second period started with the Bruins holding on by a thread.

Vladimir Sobotka went to the penalty box at 2:22 for a hooking penalty. Out came one of the best penalty killing tandems in the league in the form of Daniel Paille and Steve Begin along with defensemen Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg. Normally a team will role out two penalty killing units on a power play with the first unit the best killers and the second unit efficient killers who can create an odd-man break when given the opportunity.

Boston never got the second unit on the ice.

It was more like Pittsburgh never let them off the ice. The full two minutes was spent in Boston’s defensive zone as the Penguins rained shots on Tuukka Rask. The young goaltender was up to it and proved to be the best penalty killer the Bruins had on the shift even as Pittsburgh dumped 10 shots on net (to the Bruins zero) in the first five minutes of the period.

Boston got its third chance on the power play at 7:37 when Sergei Gonchar took at tripping call. Once again the Bruins mustered next to nothing.

The second fight of the night broke out at 11:53 when captain Zdeno Chara went toe-to-toe with center Michael Rupp right after a face off. Chara got the best of Rupp in the captain’s first official fight of the season.

Seven-seconds after Chara went to the box, fellow defenseman Mark Stuart joined him with a hooking penalty at 12:00. That left the Bruins without two of their top three defensemen for an extended period of time. Once again, Rask stepped up and killed the penalty for the Boston.

The third time was the charm though. Pittsburgh got another shot on the power play at 17:44 when Steve Begin went for “kneeing” (a trip, more or less). Pittsburgh went through the normal routine — set up camp in the Boston zone, cycle, shoot, rebound, cycle, shoot. Right after the penalty ended the puck ended up on the stick of Kris Letang at the top of the left circle. He shot and it was deflected five-hole through Rask by Alexei Ponikarovsky for the two-goal lead.

Shots through second (total):

Bruins — 5 (10)

Penguins 15 (20)

Read More: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Mark Stuart, Michael Rupp, Tuukka Rask Print  |  Email   | Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
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