Bruins forward Shawn Thornton  talked with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday about Canucks coach John Tortorella and his suspension, his own suspension and more. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page .
Tortorella was suspended 15 days for attempting to enter the Flames locker room after the first period of Saturday’s game, angry that Flames coach Bob Hartley started his fourth line. Tortorella responded with his fourth line, initiating a line brawl right after the opening puck drop.
While the former Rangers coach has come under criticism, Thornton said Tortorella deserves credit for standing up for his team.
“I love the that he always has his players’ back,” Thornton said. “This has happened a few times with him, and it’s happened a few times in the league. Obviously the instance with him going down to the locker room probably makes it a lot more blown out of proportion, but this stuff happens.”
That said, Thornton said he isn’t sure Hartley’s intent was to have his fourth-line players mix it up.
“I don’t think that — and I don’t know because I’m not in the room — but I’m assuming when Hartley started his fourth line he wasn’t planning on a line brawl, he was just trying to start a line to get, maybe create some forecheck and then dump pucks in, get some momentum going for his team,” Thornton said. “We do it sometimes, too.”
Added Thornton: “You can start whoever you want. We [the B’s fourth line] used to start all the time, probably two or three years ago. Our line started all the time. It was more to create momentum, not to drop the gloves.”
Thornton, who was suspended on Dec. 14 for 15 games after attacking Penguins  defenseman Brooks Orpik, says the suspension and league crackdown on violence hasn’t forced him to alter his style.
“I’m back to the way I was before. Nothing’s changed,” Thornton said. “If I need to stick up for a teammate, I’ll stick up for a teammate. That hasn’t changed.”
Thornton said he has no issues stepping in to defend a teammate like Brad Marchand , who is known as an agitator.
“That’s my job,” Thornton said. “That’s what I signed up for. Marchy is on his game when’s he playing on the edge. I like when he’s playing that way. We have the type of team — not just me — we have a fairly tough team all around that maybe he can get away with a little bit more chirping than some other places. But that’s the way we’re built, and if he’s going to keep scoring goals while he’s playing on this edge, then whatever it takes, I’m more than happy to take care of business.”
Looking at the Bruins roster, Thornton says he’s happy with the current lineup, especially the addition of Kevan Miller.
“Everyone talks about how we’re missing size, and I think we are, but I think Kevan Miller has really stepped in and done an unbelievable job filling that roll,” Thornton said. “I guess he got rewarded with a two-year deal because of it. Sometimes people look at what do we need to do here, what do we need to do there, and I’m sure Peter [Chiarelli] is always looking to add without subtracting, in the last few years I’ve been here anyways. But I like the team we have. I think we just competed against two of the best teams in the league and I think we’re still missing Kells [Chris Kelly ] and like I said Seid [Dennis Seidenberg ] isn’t there and I think we showed that we can compete.”
Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins .
On his teammates who are competing in the Winter Olympics in Sochi: “It’s a pretty big honor for all those guys. … I kind of gave up on the dream a long time ago, so I’ll enjoy my time down south while they’re working hard in Sochi.”
On if he’s concerned that some players might get out of shape during the Olympic break: “I’m sure we’ll get something from our strength coach. The last Olympics, I think I was in South Beach, and you take three or four days off and just relax, let your body recharge. Then you get in the gym and start doing your thing. I’m pretty lucky my wife is a workout-aholic. She’s going to drag my butt to the gym whether I want to go or not. I’ll probably golf the first few days and then I’ll get back into the gym. I think everyone is usually on the same page, nobody wants to be a step behind when it comes back to it. We’re all professionals that way.”
On Sam Berns, the inspirational 17-year-old stricken with progeria who died Jan. 10: “I met him seven years ago actually during a Wives Carnival. We hung out for a little bit. We see him around all the time. We had him as a trainer for the day about a month and a half ago. Very sad. He was such a good person. Wise, wise beyond his years. You talk to him and he might have been the smartest guy in our room that day he was in there. Such a good person, such a good family. It was an honor and a privilege getting to know him.”