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Bruins lose Dougie Hamilton, Kevan Miller in win over Maple Leafs

12.08.13 at 9:43 pm ET
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The Bruins picked up a 5-2 win over the Maple Leafs Sunday, but lost yet another player to injury.

Dougie Hamilton left the game with what seemed to be a lower-body injury after taking a hit along the boards in the first period. It was the latest injury for a team that is already without two regular defensemen in Johnny Boychuk (back) and Adam McQuaid (lower-body). Kevan Miller also left the game in the final minutes on an apparent head injury suffered on a hit from Dion Phaneuf.

Peter Holland scored the first goal of the game, sending a bouncing puck past Chad Johnson after Torey Krug couldn’t clear it from the crease. The Bruins bounced back in the second period with three goals, two of which came on the power play. Carl Soderberg took a feed from Reilly Smith and sent it past Jonathan Bernier, while Krug scored his eighth goal of the season on a slapshot from the right circle that went past a screening Zdeno Chara and then Bernier. Kevan Miller made it 3-1 on his first career NHL point.

The Leafs made it a one-goal game 37 seconds into the third when Jay McClement beat Johnson on a rebound, and the B’s had to kill off a pair of third-period penalties before Jarome Iginla made it 4-2 on his sixth goal of the season. Patrice Bergeron scored an empty-netter after the expiration of a hooking penalty.

The Bruins were already down three forwards given Loui Eriksson’s concussion, Chris Kelly’s broken fibula and Shawn Thornton’s pending suspension, which forced Matt Fraser to make his Bruins debut and Ryan Spooner to play his third game of the season for the B’s. Both players skated on the third line, while Jordan Caron stepped onto the fourth line in Thornton’s place.

The Bruins will next play Tuesday in Calgary.


- Krug’s goal made for yet another in which Chara has had a big hand of late. Chara, who scored the game-winning goal Saturday and was in front of the net on David Krejci’s tying goal against the Penguins, was also in front on Krug’s goal Sunday, which made for a span of three of four goals in which Chara either scored or provided a critical screen.

With eight goals this season, Krug is now tied with Erik Karlsson once again for the lead among NHL defensemen.

- Spooner began the night taking faceoffs for the Bruins but quickly surrendered those duties to Carl Soderberg after losing his first four draws. It paid off when Soderberg won a second-period faceoff clean and got the puck to Miller to set up the Bruins’ third goal of the game.

It wasn’t all good for Soderberg on faceoffs, however, as his lost draw vs. McClement early in the third led to the Leafs making it a one-goal game.

- Milan Lucic can skate, and he did it again when he took the puck into the Toronto zone, took two Leafs with him and threw the puck in front to Iginla for the Bruins’ fourth goal.


- If Hamilton and/or Miller is out for any period of time, the Bruins will have to make yet another call-up. The guess here is that it would be the right-shooting Zach Trotman, though David Warsofsky might also be an option.

The 6-foot-4 Trotman would make sense over the 5-foot-8 Warsofsky for multiple reasons, most notably that he’s a right shot, and Miller was the only righty on the Bruins’ back end after Hamilton went down.

- Sunday was the fifth time this season the Bruins have had to play the majority of a game with only five defenseman. They’ve lost Johnny Boychuk twice, Adam McQuaid and Dennis Seidenberg once and now Hamilton once.

Just like Thursday, the B’s also saw their remaining defensemen take penalties despite being down a blueliner. Both Seidenberg and Miller took third-period penalties, which forced Krug to play 1:04 on the penalty kill.

- Speaking of defensemen and penalties, Dennis Seidenberg got Jerry D’Amigo with a hit to the head in the corner in the third period. Seidenberg may have been trying for the shoulder, but he got him high and was given a minor penalty for an illegal hit to the head.

- Phaneuf somehow didn’t get a penalty for his hit from behind on Miller in the corner, which sent the Bruins defenseman into the boards head first and forced him from the game.

Chris Kelly out 4-6 weeks with broken right fibula

12.08.13 at 11:33 am ET
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Chris Kelly will miss four to six weeks with a broken right fibula suffered in Saturday’s game against the Penguins, the Bruins announced Sunday. Kelly was injured on a slash from Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis in the second period and has been placed on long-term injured reserve.

The Bruins also announced that they’ve placed Adam McQuaid (lower-body) on injured reserve and have called up forwards Ryan Spooner and Matt Fraser from Providence on an emergency basis.

The Bruins are now without Kelly, Loui Eriksson (concussion) and Shawn Thornton (awaiting suspension) and are missing both Johnny Boychuk (back) and McQuaid on defense.

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James Neal has phone hearing for kneeing Brad Marchand in head

12.07.13 at 11:25 pm ET
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Shawn Thornton isn’t the only player who figures to be suspended for their actions in Saturday night’s game between the Bruins and Penguins, as Penguins forward James Neal will have a phone hearing for kneeing Brad Marchand in the head.

Because it’s a phone hearing, any suspension for Neal will be five or less games. Thornton’s is in person, which would allow the league to suspend him for more than five games.

Marchand had fallen to the ice after some stick work from Sidney Crosby, at which point Neal glided by and stuck out his left leg to hit him in the head.

“I was skating by him. I haven’€™t like seen the replay or anything so I mean I hit him in the head with my leg or my foot or my knee or shin area I don’€™t know,” Neal said after the game. “But I mean, he’€™s already going down and I guess I need to try to avoid him, but I have to look at it again. I haven’€™t gotten a chance to look at it.”

Asked if he intended to hit him in the head, Neal, who has twice been suspended by the league, denied it.

“I mean, what do you want me to say? That I was trying to hit him? No, I’€™m going by him, I don’€™t get out of the way like I said,” he said. “I need to be more careful and I guess get my knee out of the way, but I’€™m not trying to hit him in the head or injure him or anything like that.”

Marchand was clearly told by the Bruins to not divulge his thoughts on the situation. Asked whether he saw the replay, Marchand happily and confidently replied, “no.” He gave the same response when asked if he had an opinion on the play.

“I can’t comment on this, guys,” Marchand said after a few questions. “I know you guys can tell I can’t comment. You know I want to, but I can’t.”

Marchand didn’t even honestly shed light on Crosby’s role in the play.

“I think I just tripped myself,” he said. “Tough skates today. Two left feet.”

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma admitted that the play could have been avoided.

“It was a sequence there where I think Marchand and Sid were in it physically,” Bylsma said. “Marchand went down as Neal was skating by, and he didn’€™t really make an attempt to get out of the way on Marchand.”

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Loui Eriksson has concussion from Brooks Orpik hit, Chris Kelly also out for Bruins

12.07.13 at 10:38 pm ET
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The Bruins will be without three forwards for at least Sunday’s game against the Maple Leafs, as Loui Eriksson has a concussion, Shawn Thornton will not travel as he awaits his suspension and Chris Kelly is out with a lower-body injury.

Eriksson suffered his second concussion of the season in the first period Saturday on a hit from Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik. Thornton was later given a match penalty for attacking Orpik on the ice on a play after the whistle in which he threw Orpik to the ice and knocked him out with two punches to the head.

Kelly suffered a lower-body injury on a slash in the third period. Orpik, as you could probably guess, has a concussion.

“It’s just an unfortunate situation,” Claude Julien said. “As you know, Shawn’s got a hearing with [Brendan] Shanahan now, so he won’t travel with us to Toronto tomorrow and I don’t know what’s going to happen from there. At the same time, Loui’s not traveling with us either. He’s got a concussion, and the other guy we just found out at the end of the game, Kelly has suffered an injury from a slash and he won’t be traveling with us either.”

Julien was clearly upset with the actions of both teams, including Orpik’s hit on Eriksson.

“Those are unfortunate incidents when you see guys getting injured,” Julien said. “That’s called Eriksson. It’s also called Orpik.”

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma thought rather differently.

“Well I think the hit by Orpik is a good hockey hit. Eriksson touches the puck, the puck’€™s coming around the wall there, it does take a strange bounce, he does touch the puck, and it’€™s a good hit,” Bylsma said. “Clearly they took exception to it. They put people on the ice to take exception to it, and the events that ensued, you saw Thornton.”

In addition to inserting Jordan Caron into the lineup, the Bruins will have to recall two players from Providence. Mark Divver of the Providence Journal reported Saturday night that those players are Ryan Spooner and Matt Fraser.

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Shawn Thornton will have hearing, ‘feels awful’ for hit on Brooks Orpik

12.07.13 at 10:36 pm ET
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Nearing tears in front of his locker stall in the Bruins locker room after Saturday’s 3-2 win over the Penguins, an emotionally shaken Shawn Thornton apologized for his first-period attack on Brooks Orpik in the first period that sent the Penguins defenseman to the hospital.

“Listen, I feel awful. It wasn’t my intention for that outcome,” Thornton said. “I know Brooksie. I’ve gotten to know him over the last several years here. I skated with him in the summer, over the lockout.”

Thornton said he sent Orpik multiple text messages to check on his condition after Thornton was ejected from the game for the hit.

“I’ve texted him a couple of times,” Thornton said. “I feel awful. It was definitely not what I wanted to see or anybody wanted to see.

“Obviously, I made a mistake. I’m aware of it. I’ve been told I’ll be having a hearing. It’s hard for me to say much more other than it was not my intention. I felt sick the whole game.”

Thornton was asked if he felt he was just protecting his teammates after Orpik took out Loui Eriksson and James Neal kneed Brad Marchand in the head earlier in the first period.

“That’s always my job, I guess, to defend my teammates but I’ve prided myself for a long time to stay within in the lines. It’s hard for me to talk about it right now. I can’t say I’m sorry enough. I’m sure I’ll be criticized for saying it but it’s true. I hope he’s doing all right. I heard he’s conscious and talking. I’m happy to hear that.”

Will it change how he plays in the future?

“I really don’t know how to answer that to tell you the truth. I haven’t had enough time to think about it.

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Bruins come from behind to beat Penguins, but dangerous first period overshadows win

12.07.13 at 9:42 pm ET
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Saturday night featured a thrilling 3-2 come-from-behind victory, but they lost two players against the Penguins Saturday night: one to an injury and another to one to a match penalty following an on-ice attack.

After Loui Eriksson left the game as the result of a hit from Brooks Orpik that left the B’s forward clearly woozy, Shawn Thornton twice went after Orpik as the first period went on. The first attempt resulted in a roughing minor when Orpik didn’t accept Thornton’s invitation, while the second was an ugly scene in which Thornton grabbed an unsuspecting Orpik from behind, threw him to the ice and punched him in the head twice, knocking him out and forcing Orpik from the game in a stretcher. Thornton, who has never been suspended before, faces a suspension for the play after receiving a match penalty.

It wasn’t the only dirty play that happened, as the whole fiasco occurred on the whistle that came when James Neal stuck out his leg to knee Brad Marchand in the head. Marchand stayed in the game, while Neal received just a minor penalty.

As for the rest of the game, the B’s came back to score two goals in the final 1:29 to win the game. David Krejci beat Marc-Andre Fleury with Tuukka Rask pulled to tie it, with Zdeno Chara scoring on a wrist shot from the high slot with 13 seconds remaining.

The Bruins and Penguins swapped goals early on, as the B’s followed up a Chris Kunitz power play goal that went in off the skate of Zdeno Chara with Reilly Smith’s sixth goal of the season. Then, following the expiration of his penalty for kneeing Marchand, Neal beat Rask to make it 2-1.


- Shawn Thornton. Click here for more on that.

- That would be really bad for the B’s if Eriksson is concussed again, as he already missed five games earlier in the season after suffering a concussion on Oct. 23 against the Sabres. He had been finding on Bergeron’s line with Brad Marchand over the last month, so another disruption from a head injury would be brutal.

Reilly Smith moved up to Bergeron’s line to play in Eriksson’s place.

- How Neal only got two minutes for what would have been the most despicable play of any other game is anyone’s guess. Marchand was down on the ice and Neal stuck out his leg to hit him in the head. Thornton won’t be the only receiving a suspension as a result of this game, as Neal (and maybe Orpik) also figure to hear from the league.

- Smith’s goal was nice and all (it actually came from the same spot where Torey Krug beat Fluery in overtime in the teams’ last meeting), he missed a wide open net right in front on a third-period power play.


- Lucic’s goal is further proof of the impact Zdeno Chara has in front of the net. There was no way Fleury could see Krejci’s shot with the 6-foot-9 obstacle in front of him.

Shawn Thornton facing suspension after Brooks Orpik leaves on stretcher

12.07.13 at 7:56 pm ET
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Bruins forward Shawn Thornton received a match penalty and thus automatic ejection and suspension for a predatory play that forced Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik from Saturday night’s game on a stretcher.

After Orpik crushed Bruins forward Loui Eriksson with a hit that knocked Eriksson out for the game, Thornton tried to fight Orpik minutes later, but when Orpik declined Thornton was sent off for roughing. Later in the period, after Brad Marchand had taken a knee to the head from James Neal, Thornton skated over to a scrum, grabbed Orpik from behind, threw him to the ice and punched him in the head twice.

Orpik remained down on the ice for several minutes before being taken off the ice on a stretcher. The Penguins issued an update following the second period saying that Orpik was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital and was both alert and conscious.

Thornton has never been suspended before, but he is likely to receive a sizable suspension, while Neal is also in line for supplemental discipline. Orpik could also hear from the league for his hit on Eriksson.

Recently, Thornton spoke specifically in an ESPN interview about “the code” that players must adhere to and the pride he takes in it. He even pointed out the scenario of sucker-punching players that are down.

“I take a lot of pride in that. I do,” Thornton said. “People could probably criticize that I’€™m a little too honorable, I suppose, in some instances. I’ve been a firm believer my whole life that what goes around comes around. If you’€™re one of those guys that suckers someone when they’€™re down or you go after somebody that doesn’€™t deserve it or isn’€™t the same category as you, that will come back and bite you at some point, too. I also take a lot of pride in the fact that I can play 8-12 minutes a night. I’€™ve had to work extremely hard on that part of my game to bring more to the table than just fighting. That’€™s part of my game, but I can do a lot more.”

On Saturday morning, Bruins coach Claude Julien addressed the subject of retaliation as it related to the Bruins opting to not go after Max Pacioretty Thursday night.

“We’€™re all guilty of that stuff. We’€™re suspending guys for illegal hits and then we’€™re punishing guys for good, clean hits,” Julien said. “So where does a guy have the opportunity to go out and play a physical game if there’€™s a good hit, he knows he’€™s going to be punished. So I guess there’€™s that fine line there that becomes important to look at. You want to stick up for your teammate, but at the same time we don’€™t want to take the good physicality out of the game. And every team is guilty of that; including us.

“We’€™ve made a reputation of that by saying we’€™re going to stick together; and that’€™s great. So you’€™re treading a fine line there when it comes to that. … If we want to clean up the game, we want to be honest with both sides when it happens to us or against us, let’€™s call a spade a spade.”

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