Bruins year in review: Fight of the year
|06.20.11 at 1:48 am ET|
Each day this week, WEEI.com will be taking a look back at the Bruins’ historic 2010-11 Stanley Cup Championship season. We started it off by looking at the goal of the year, and up next is fight of the year.
FIGHT OF THE YEAR
Shawn Thornton vs. Eric Boulton, Dec. 23 vs. Atlanta
“I think that’s what has come up through the whole season is the resiliency of our hockey club. That [game] was the start of it and there were a lot of other examples other than that, but that was the way our team was.”
When the Bruins were shut out at home on Dec. 20 by the Ducks, it seemed they had hit rock bottom. The B’s had won just one of their last five games, and it was only natural to wonder whether Claude Julien was done as coach of the team. The Bruins had two days between the loss and their next game, their last before the holiday break, and they spent both days at Ristuccia Arena trying to reignite the fire that had seemed to have gone out.
Marc Savard and Patrice Bergeron got into during the first practice, as did Shawn Thornton and Johnny Boychuk. The team was angry, and with Julien ramping up the practices to create some intensity, the players were ready to take it out on the nearest person they could find — including each other.
When that Thursday finally rolled around to make a statement against an Atlanta team that had embarrassed them in late November, Thornton took it upon himself to wake his teammates up. Thornton dropped the gloves with Thrashers winger Eric Boulton right off the face-off. The two had fought in that Nov. 28 game, but this fight meant way more to the Bruins’ season.
It was an even bout that lasted well over a minute, so though Thornton came far from pummeling Boulton, he may have changed the entire Bruins’ season by making sure he showed his teammates that it would be an emotional game, and that it was. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Thornton also scored a pair of goals in the 4-1 win.