|04.04.11 at 2:41 pm ET|
Claude Julien told reporters prior to Monday’s game in New York that Shawn Thornton (stitches) would be able to go if it were the playoffs. Since it isn’t the playoffs, the B’s are being careful with Thornton and likely going without the forward vs. the Rangers.
“Doubtful,” Julien said Tuesday. “He’s skating this morning but he still has the visor. I don’t think we’re 100 percent comfortable right now medically. As long as they’re not comfortable, I guess we have that luxury of being a little more cautious.”
Thornton was cut above the eye last week by a skate against the Blackhawks. He received approximately 40 stitches, some of which were on the inside and could potentially break from much contact.
“I think if we’re in the playoffs today and he had to play, there’s no doubt he’d be in there,” Julien said, adding that the medical staff feels it’s “a lot safer if we take the cautious route.”
Thornton has appeared in 76 games this season, totaling nine goals and nine assists for a career-high 18 points.
|04.04.11 at 10:59 am ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton has had a career year this season, setting career highs with nine goals and 18 assists in a campaign that seems to argue with him strictly being called an enforcer. Now, those efforts — and how far he’s come — have been recognized, at least locally. The Boston chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association has chosen Thornton as the Bruins’ candidate for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.”
In the past, the award has gone to players coming off injuries (Steve Sullivan, 2008-09) or facing major adversity (Jose Thoeodore won it last season for his performance after his son’s death, while Phil Kessel and Jason Blake won it in the past for playing through cancer). Thornton didn’t have to deal with such life obstacles, but his career has been far from smooth sailing.
Drafted in the seventh round back in 1997, Thornton never made it to NHL in five seasons with the Maple Leafs, and after stops in Chicago and Anaheim, he came to Boston in 2007 having never played 50 games in a season. Since coming to the Bruins, he has played at least 70 games in three of his four campaigns. Furthermore, his offensive production has increased without his fighting suffering. Though nine goals won’t get him confused with Steven Stamkos, his work ethic is something all his teammates aim to replicate.
|04.02.11 at 8:50 pm ET|
After scoring 21 goals and adding 19 assists in 72 games, the Bruins winger was honored before Saturday’s division-clinching 3-2 win over the Thrashers as the 2010-11 Bruins “Seventh Player Award” given to the Bruins player who goes above and beyond the call of duty and exceeded expectations, as voted on by Bruins fans.
“Well, it was a question mark whether I was going to be on the team this year, so it’s a honor to win that award,” Marchand said. “It’s special.
“I think I was expected to be defensively responsible and bring energy into the game. Now I think I still have to do the exact same thing, but maybe bring a little more offense.”
Marchand celebrated the honor by picking up his 20th assist on Boston’s first goal Saturday, a score by Mark Recchi.
Technically still a rookie after 20 games last season, Marchand has earned the trust of his coaching staff by playing the left wing on the team’s second line, playing with Patrice Bergeron and Recchi.
“It’s huge, they’re great offensive players,” Marchand said. “They’re both very smart. They make a lot of unbelievable plays that you don’t see coming a lot of times. So with guys like that, you’re expected to produce. It’s a pretty insane time playing with guys as good as them.”
“I think it’s very deserving and that’s certainly not to take away some of the other guys that have made tremendous steps as well,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “But, he’s one of those guys that obviously surpassed maybe a lot of our expectations, obviously not his because he had made that prediction. But nonetheless, I think he’s been a real good player for us from starting off on the fourth line and really making that line probably one of the best fourth lines we’ve had here for a long, long time and obviously was probably one of the best fourth lines in the League.
“He graduated obviously with Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] and Rex [Mark Recchi] and those guys have certainly, as much as he’s benefited from them, they’ve benefited from him as well. They know that. He’s such a good skater and he plays hard every night. He’s been a real good player for us and I think it’s going to be exciting to see him jump into the playoffs, just by the way he is. He’s going to be pumped for that and I think he’s going to be a really good asset for our hockey club.”
Marchand is expected to receive consideration for the NHL’s Calder Trophy, awarded to the league’s top rookie. The favorites are considered Carolina’s Jeff Skinner and San Jose’s Logan Couture.
But that obviously isn’t the trophy foremost on Marchand’s mind.
“We didn’t come into this season wanting to win this division,” Marchand said of the Northeast title Saturday. “We have a goal, and that’s to win the Stanley Cup. So it’s a stepping stone, and it’s a good accomplishment for a great team. But there’s a long way to go before we accomplish our goal. It’s special, but at the same time we’re a long ways away.”
|04.02.11 at 8:37 pm ET|
By his own admission, the last three weeks haven’t exactly been a joyride for Michael Ryder.
He is a player talented enough to serve the same capacity as Miroslav Satan did in last year’s playoffs. He is a veteran sniper who has playoff experience finishing his chances.
But, in the second half of this season, it’s been a different story. His penalty shot score to win Saturday’s game against Atlanta and clinch the Northeast title for the Bruins was his 18th goal but first since Feb. 27, a span of 12 games.
“Yeah, I’ve struggled to find goals lately,” Ryder said. “Last game goal post, then [Saturday] crossbar. Just got to try and stay with it. If I keep just working hard and shooting the puck, it’ll go in for me.”
In that stretch, he has been benched twice by coach Claude Julien, once last Saturday against the Rangers and once on March 10 against the Islanders.
“You want to be in the lineup, nobody wants to be out,” Ryder said. “It’s frustrating and I’ve been there before, so I kind of know what it takes to get back in. It’s just working hard and finding your game, and not letting the little things get to you. Just make sure when you get back in that you take advantage of the chances that you get.”
Sometimes you get a break and Ryder made his own break with just under eight minutes left when he forced a neutral zone turnover by the Thrashers and broke in alone. He was hooked from behind by Johnny Oduya and was awarded a penalty shot.
I was just trying to skate and get away from the guy behind me. I don’t really know what happened. Just fell down and they called a penalty shot. I was just trying to catch my breath, that’s it.
Thursday night, during the shootout, Ryder went up top and missed the net during Boston’s loss. This time, he made sure to get it on net. And when he went up top on Ondrej Pavelec, above his right shoulder, the crowd exploded. Ryder had finally snapped his goalless streak at 12 games.
“I was just excited to get the goal,” Ryder said. “I was tired on the penalty shot, so I didn’t know what I was going to do. Like I said, that was a big win for us. I knew if we got the lead and I scored there, it would get the team going and hopefully we could pull out the win. Last game I missed the net, [Saturday] I hit it. It was a big goal for us, we wanted to make sure we got the win, and I think we’ve played better games but as long as we get the two points that doesn’t mean anything.”
By benching him twice and putting him on the third and fourth lines, Julien wanted to give him time to think about what it will take to rediscover that touch in time for a Stanley Cup run in two weeks.
“I think it’s just a matter of it was nice to see him score that goal,” Julien said. “Obviously it turned out to be a big goal for us, but these are steps in the right direction. I think, you know, when he starts feeling confident about doing those things and doing them without over-thinking, he’s going to be a good player again.”
|04.02.11 at 3:27 pm ET|
Michael Ryder ended his scoring slump and gave the Bruins a 3-2 win over the Thrashers that clinched the Northeast Division Saturday at TD Garden.
Ryder, who entered the contest having gone 12 games without a goal, beat Ondrej Pavelec on a penalty shot at 12:31 of the third period to break a 2-2 tie. It was Ryder’s second game back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch for two consecutive games due to lack of production. Ryder’s penalty shot goal was the Bruins’ first since Marco Sturm did it back in 2007, and it was their first at home since Ray Bourque in 1994.
Tuukka Rask, who allowed a shaky power-play goal in the first period and was caught out of position on the second goal, improved his record to 11-13-2 with the win.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Brad Marchand, who received the 7th Player award prior to the game, continued his recent hot streak with a first-period assist on Recchi’s goal. The helper gave him five points (2 G, 3 A) over his last four games. Marchand’s linemate, Patrice Bergeron, has assists in his last three games.
– Good to see Paille making the most of his time in the lineup while the opportunity is there. He did all the work for his shorthanded tally, knocking down a puck from Zach Bogosian and circling back to beat Pavelec.
– A stick-tap to Michael Berger from Mut & Merloni, who drove the WEEI.com stat truck Saturday, pointing out that Paille’s shorthanded goal was the 11th of the season for the Bruins, which put them in a tie with the Rangers for fourth in the NHL. The Islanders have a league-best 14, while the Flyers and Penguins each have 12.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Dustin Byfuglien continues to be a problem for the Bruins. In scoring his first-period tally to tie the game at one, the Thrashers defenseman picked up his third goal against the Bruins this season in four games.
– If Nathan Horton’s performance on Saturday took place in mid-to-late December, fans would throw fits. He’ll get a break for his zero-shot game Saturday due to the fact that he had five points over his previous five games.
– Shawn Thornton was held out of the lineup once again due to the stitches he received Tuesday night. The game was a rather sleepy affair on both sides, and a guy like Thornton is the type you want in your lineup to ramp up the energy.
|04.02.11 at 2:35 pm ET|
The Bruins and Thrashers each added another goal in the second period and are tied, 2-2, at the second intermission.
The Thrashers grabbed their first lead of the game when Evander Kane fired a loose puck past Tuukka Rask as the B’s netminder was trying to get back in position at 1:37. Daniel Paille tied the game about five minutes later, causing a turnover in the Thrashers’ zone while on the penalty kill and firing a wrister past Ondrej Pavelec for the Bruins’ 11th shorthanded goal of the season.
After two periods, the B’s hold a 17-15 advantage in shots on goal.
|04.02.11 at 1:43 pm ET|
The name of the game was easy goals in the first period Saturday, and thanks to a softy allowed by each team, the Bruins and Thrashers are tied at one.
Mark Recchi scored his 14th of the season when a shot from Patrice Bergeron trickled through the legs of Ondrej Pavelec and needed just a tap-in to make it 1-0. The Thrashers tied it up when Tuukka Rask took a delay of game penalty and let a Dustin Byfuglen shot bounce off him and in. The Thrashers are 1-for-2 on the power play, while the B’s are 0-for-1.
The Bruins are outshooting the Thrashers, 6-4.