Gameday notes: Bruins face another desperate team in Maple Leafs
|03.31.11 at 12:57 pm ET|
Unsurprisingly, Shawn Thornton’s face was a popular topic Thursday morning as the Bruins prepared for the Maple Leafs. The large comma-shaped gash above Thornton’s right eye will keep him out against Toronto, meaning Thornton will sit for the first time after playing the season’s first 76 games.
“It’s just day-to-day,” Claude Julien said after the morning skate. “He took a lot of stitches but not just what you see on the outside, but on the inside as well. So it’s obviously a dangerous area. They certainly want to be cautious about it and we’re going to respect that.”
Thornton skated with a new helmet in the morning skate, saying a “big hole” was cut to make room for the swelling and so the stitches wouldn’t touch the helmet. Another noticeable alteration to the helmet was that it featured a visor.
“I’m not a big fan of it,” Thornton said after the skate. “I’m not used to it. Let’s just say that.”
Thornton touched on his preference to play without a visor. He noted that if he were to get into a fight, he would have to take his helmet off, running the risk of falling on his head.
“I’m aware of the risks of not wearing a visor, but it’s my choice,” he said. I think it’s more of a risk to fall on my head in a fight.”
Here are some other notes:
With Thornton out, Michael Ryder is back in the lineup after being scratched in the last two contests. He will skate on Gregory Campbell’s line with Daniel Paille as he tries to break out of his funk and show he can be an asset in the playoffs.
“You definitely don’t want to be out of the lineup, that’s for sure,” Ryder said. “When you get in there, you don’t want to try and do too much. You just go out there and work hard and try and make sure you help the team instead of hurting them. That’s what I’m going to try to do tonight.
“Things get worse if you [try to do too much]. You’ve just got to go out and play your game. If you play well, it’s up to the coach’s decision after that.”
Julien hopes Ryder can make it an easy decision.
“When Michael is on his game, he’s a real good asset to our hockey team,” Julien said. “He makes things happen out there on the ice and he gets great quality chances. He’s just got to find his game. I think it’s not us being down on him, it’s us wanting more out of him and we hope that we can find that moving forward because he can be a valuable player for us in the playoffs. And he’s proven that in the past.”
Ryder has just one goal over his last 19 games.
– Steven Kampfer is back in the lineup for the first time since costing the B’s the game March 17 in Nashville. Johnny Boychuk is sitting in his place, as Julien is aiming to give his players rest while also working the scratches into the lineup. Shane Hnidy could play Saturday.
– Julien likes that the B’s have played against some desperate teams of late. That continues with the Leafs, who are seven points out of a playoff spot.
“I think it’s helped us all. We talked about the consistency of our game, and when you play teams that are obviously either battling to get in or battling to stay in or battling for position, this time of year you’re facing a good team every night.
“It’s been good for Tim [Thomas] obviously, but it’s been good for our whole team. Because that’s the one thing we’ve struggled with a little bit as the season went on, was consistency in our play. We went stretches where we played well and then we kind of flatten out there for a while and then picked it up again. So it’s been good all around for our hockey club, and I think that’s been great to play the teams that we’ve played in the last little while.”