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Shawn Thornton on D&C explains confrontation with Rangers forward Derek Dorsett 05.22.13 at 10:40 am ET
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Bruins forward Shawn Thornton checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to offer his take on Tuesday’s 2-1 victory over the Rangers that gave the Bruins a 3-0 series lead.

Thornton and his teammates on the fourth line — Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell — came up big Tuesday, as they were on the ice for both of the Bruins’ goals.

“I’m lucky to play with those two guys,” Thornton said. “They’re not fourth-liners on a lot of other teams. I’m fortunate to have them with me.”

Thornton noted that all three fourth-liners could have signed elsewhere last offseason, but the Bruins kept the trio together.

“You’ve got to give Peter [Chiarelli] credit for having faith in us, bringing all three of us back,” he said. “We were all free agents at the end of the last season. I think I was the only one that got re-upped during the season. They paid a little money to keep all three of us around.

“I haven’t looked at the other fourth lines in the league, but we’re compensated pretty well as far as fourth-liners go. We’re getting some notoriety right now in the playoffs, but the team believed in us before this.”

A key moment in Tuesday’s game came when Thornton replaced Brad Marchand on the ice and confronted Derek Dorsett after Dorsett had been harassing Marchand.

“He’s doing his job,” Thornton said of Dorsett. “He got Marchy off the ice in the first period [on a penalty]. They’re both agitators. If they’re matching him against Marchy, he’s going to try and get under his skin and keep him off the ice as much as possible. Marchy’s probably been our best player in this series so far. He’s doing his job. I had to go out there and politely say that I wasn’t a fan of him being all over our star left winger.”

Thornton said he was ready to fight, but either way he wanted to send a message.

“I didn’t know [if Dorsett would fight],” Thornton said. “If he had wanted to, then I definitely would have obliged. I joked about being polite; I wasn’t going out there to ask him what dinner was later.”

Added Thornton: “It’s a job. I’ve been doing it for a long time. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. I was happy we got to play after that, too, that it wasn’t our last shift.”

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Read More: Brad Marchand, Daniel Paille, Derek Dorsett, Doug Houda
Barry Pederson on D&C: ‘The Bruins just took over’ after Shawn Thornton’s challenge to Derek Dorsett went unanswered 05.22.13 at 9:51 am ET
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NESN Bruins analyst Barry Pederson joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to break down the B’s 2-1 victory over the Rangers in Tuesday night’s Game 3.

Pederson said he was surprised that there wasn’t more of a sense of urgency from the Rangers, who now are in a 3-0 series hole.

“We didn’t see the desperation from New York,” Pederson said. “I thought the Bruins, right from the opening faceoff, kind of took the crowd right out of the game. They had two or three really good shifts in that first period, didn’t allow the Rangers to get any momentum. [The Rangers] only had 24 shots on net, they had two power plays; the Bruins didn’t have any, outshot them 34-24.

“The Bruins for the most part did a really good job of not allowing New York any sustained pressure on them. It looked to me like the Bruins were much more under control and forceful out there than the New York Rangers were.”

Added Pederson: “[The Rangers] look tired to me. They look physically drained, mentally drained. ‘€¦ A lot of these guys look like they’ve hit the wall. But again, I think by doing that, you’re taking away some of the credit that the Bruins deserve. They really went out there with four lines — especially that fourth line last night — and they just wear you down.”

One of the key moments in the game came when Shawn Thornton took Brad Marchand‘s spot on the ice and confronted Rangers forward Derek Dorsett, who had been harassing Marchand.

“One of the more important shifts may have been the one where [Thornton] comes on, when Dorsett’s trying to suck Marchand into a penalty, physically kind of manhandle him a little bit and try to get him off the ice because Marchand’s been such a good player for them in this series,” Pederson said. “And the faceoff right by the bench, you can see Marchand gets kind of yelled at, I’m sure it’s Claude [Julien] just said: Hey, come over here. Shawn Thornton hops on the ice and goes right over to Dorsett and says: Hey, listen, you’re not going to do that.

“Once Shawn proved his point, he went off and Marchand came right back on. And I thought from that moment on, you could see the physicality also with [Milan] Lucic‘s hit on [Anton] Stralman, who never returned after that big forecheck hit. You could kind of see the momentum shift, and the Bruins just took over.”

Added Pederson: “I played on a lot of big, physical teams over the years. I remember Wayne Cashman would always say with guys that felt bad after maybe they came off and didn’t get the upper hand in a fight or something, he’d say: Hey, listen, I don’t care how many you win. What we care about is how many you show up for. That shows everybody else on the bench. And that’s why it was so important for Shawn Thornton to go out there and say: Hey, listen, you’re not pushing around our little guys. That’s not going to happen. He is a valuable part of our team. If you want to go, let’s you and I go right now.

“As soon as he doesn’t do that, the Bruins on the bench go: Aha, OK, we can see what you’re made of. And from that moment on you can see the emotion shift drastically in either direction. ‘€¦ I really thought from that moment on you could kind of see the Bruins say: Exactly, we know that we have you now. We know that you won’t take on our physically tough guys.”

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Read More: Barry Pederson, Brad Marchand, Derek Dorsett, Shawn Thornton
Ed Olczyk on M&M: Jaromir Jagr ‘always looking for that edge’ 05.21.13 at 6:30 pm ET
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Editor’s note: In an earlier version of this story, Olczyk was quoted as guaranteeing a Bruins series victory, but the quote was mistakenly taken out of context.

NBC Sports hockey analyst Ed Olczyk joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday, prior to Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series between the Bruins and Rangers.

Olczyk, who played for six NHL clubs during his 16-year career that ended in the 1999-2000 season and coached the Penguins for a season and a half (2003-04 and part of ’04-05), has a personal connection to Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski, as he coached the Pittsburgh native when Bartkowski was a youngster.

“I just knew that he had the natural ability. It was just whether or not he would take advantage of the opportunities that were presented,” Olczyk said. “I couldn’t be happier for Bart. He’s a terrific young guy. I don’t think he’s really hit his full complement of his ability. He’s only played maybe 20 games in the NHL, whatever the number is. He’s getting a great taste of what it is to be a pro. I think he’s handled the situation very well.

“He has that great ability to skate you out of trouble. He’s poised with the puck. And I think there’s still an opportunity for him to continue to push the pace. And there’s something [to be said] for that, to have a guy back there that can be strong but also can skate you out of trouble. The game isn’t just about off the glass, get in to the neutral zone. Sometimes that’s the only play for a defenseman, sometimes that’s the best play. But for me, I think he’s got a lot of upside. I couldn’t be happier for him and his family. He’s playing obviously in one of the greats sports towns in the world, and playing for a great organization, for the Boston Bruins.

“He’s stepped in here very well, and it looks like he’s a seasoned veteran from watching him play. Is he going to make mistakes? Absolutely, those are going to happen. But when you put in [Torey] Krug, and you have [Dougie] Hamilton there, and you have the leadership of a guy like Zdeno Chara on the back end, I think it really makes those guys feel really comfortable.

“I’m not surprised, particularly with Matt Bartkowski, because I know him very well, but when you do put three young guys in there with not a lot of experience in the second round of the playoffs, more times than not you’re going to have a little bit more trouble, but the Bruins have been able to overcome that. And these guys and the organization could much better off because these guys have gotten this opportunity. ‘€¦ There is something [to be said] for experience, but the experience these guys are getting right now is just so valuable, not only for tomorrow or today, but for down the road.”

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Read More: Ed Olczyk, Jaromir Jagr, Matt Bartkowski, Tyler Seguin
Slumping P-Bruins pushed to Game 7 after OT loss 05.21.13 at 7:42 am ET
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While the attention of local hockey fans is on the Bruins, who visit the Rangers in Game 3 of their second-round series Tuesday night, the AHL’s Providence Bruins are in an intense battle in their own second-round series.

The P-Bruins won the first three games vs. the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins but have lost three straight, including Monday night’s 2-1 overtime loss at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Despite outshooting the Penguins 47-18 — including 33-5 over the last two periods — Providence could only score once: Craig Cunningham‘s second-period on former Northeastern standout Brad Thiessen, who has allowed just one goal in the last two games.

“Listen, we’€™re missing open nets. At some point you’€™ve got to put the puck in the net,” P-Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy told the Providence Journal. “A goalie can only do so much. We had open nets. We missed open nets or there’€™s a pad in the way. We’€™ve got to start finishing, plain and simple.”

Trevor Smith scored a wraparound goal 3:26 into overtime, beating goalie Niklas Svedberg to force a deciding Game 7 Wednesday night in Providence. This is just the fourth time in AHL history a team came back from a 3-0 series deficit to force a Game 7.

Providence was playing without winger Graham Mink, who was suspended for the final two games of the series after pounding Thiessen during a brawl in a fight-filled Game 5 Saturday night.

In the final five minutes of a chippy game Saturday, Mink was cutting across the crease when the fighting started. He started unloading punches on a turtling Thiessen before a referee jumped in to break it up.

“I didn’t say or do anything. It kind of happened and I’m not sure what provoked,” Thiessen told the Times Leader of Wilkes-Barre after recording the shutout in a 4-0 decision. “Whatever they want to do. My job’s to stop the puck.”

Here’s a look at Saturday’s brawl. The nastiness starts at the 6:30 mark of this video.

Read More: Brad Thiessen, Graham Mink, Niklas Svedberg, Providence Bruins
Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘Those defensemen are playing unbelievable’ 05.20.13 at 10:16 am ET
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Bruins forward Shawn Thornton checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to talk about the B’s-Rangers series.

The Bruins took a 2-0 series lead with Sunday’s 5-2 victory, as Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers continued to play below par.

“I think they had their chances, to tell you the truth,” Thornton said. “I think the second period, it could have went either way. We were fortunate to get out of that with the lead. It could have been a different game if Tuukka [Rask] didn’t stand on his head for us in the second period.”

The big story of this series has been the play of the Bruins’ young defensemen, Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton, who have sparked the Bruins with their fresh legs.

“Those defensemen are playing unbelievable,” Thornton said. “Torey Krug, obviously — not just the goal and the assist, those are great plays — but there were some plays he made that probably went unnoticed during the game that made our lives as forwards a heck of a lot easier. Some of the vision he has and some of the plays he made look easy, but they weren’t really easy plays, especially in the neutral zone.”

Thornton said he hasn’t thought much about what will happen when injured defensemen Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference and Wade Redden are ready to return.

“I don’t know what the timeline is for those guys, but I’m sure Claude [Julien] will have some decisions to make once everyone’s healthy,” Thornton said. “Not easy decisions, I’m sure, but good decisions. It’s nice when you have that many options. It’s better than the opposite, when you’re like, ‘Oh, my God, we can’t find anyone to put in the lineup.’ ”

As for the possibility of hard feelings if a veteran sits in favor of a rookie, Thornton insisted it won’t be issue.

“Not in our locker room,” he said. “I’ve been that veteran guy squeezed out of the lineup for the playoffs. It’s all about winning this time of year. There’s no time for any personal feelings or agendas. It’s all about the team. We have a good bunch of guys in that room, and everyone’s aware of it.”

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Read More: Gregory Campbell, John Tortorella, Shawn Thornton, Torey Krug
Barry Pederson on D&C: Rangers’ shot-blocking style causing problems for Henrik Lundqvist 05.20.13 at 9:45 am ET
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NESN Bruins analyst Barry Pederson joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to discuss the Bruins’ strong start to their series against the Rangers. Boston holds a 2-0 series lead following Sunday’s 5-2 victory.

The Bruins have been rejuvenated by the play of young defensemen Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton.

“I think right now they’re showing some signs of [being a better team with the rookies], just because of the element that these three young kids have brought, which is mobility, speed, I think right now playing with a lack of fear, a lot of confidence,” Pederson said. “But you can really see it, to me, from their offensive side. What I mean by that, a lot of times throughout the year when the offense has been struggling, everybody always points at the forwards. And vice versa, when the defensive game is struggling, everybody always point to the defense. I’ve always been a firm believer that your defense creates your offense, and your forwards create your defense.

“So, these guys are doing a really good job, to me, by jumping into plays, recognizing when there are outnumbered opportunities to make it a three-on-two, a four-on-three. Hamilton did a good job of that yesterday as well as Bartkowski and Krug. For now they’re doing I think a really good job of creating some offense and ‘€¦ they are bringing a little bit of speed and mobility that maybe the Bruins have not had back there in a while.”

With the strong play by the rookies, it’s led to a discussion about what coach Claude Julien will do if and when injured veterans Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference and Wade Redden are ready to return. Pederson said he does not anticipate a problem in the locker room.

“The guys recognize what this is all about, is trying to win hockey games,” he said. “It’s one of those problems that you love to have. ‘€¦ You can never have enough good, young defensemen, because they’re first of all hard to come by. And it’s a situation where these guys right now are playing this way. We’ll see how things go when you go into a more hostile environment in New York.”

Added Pederson: “I think if I had to look at how I would rank them, the rookies being taken out, starting with the first guy, I would probably take a look at Hamilton, it would probably go Krug, and then last would be Bartkowski to be removed from the lineup when and if they came back.

“If Redden was the first guy back, I’m not so sure if I would make a move quite yet. These guys have, I think, kind of earned an opportunity to continue. If it was Dennis Seidenberg who was healthy, there’s no doubt that he’s coming back immediately. I just don’t get a sense with Ference that he’s even that close, but again we don’t know anything about the injuries, so we’ll have to wait and see.”

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Read More: Adam McQuaid, Barry Pederson, Dennis Seidenberg, Henrik Lundqvist
Matt Bartkowski on M&M: ‘It’s a great opportunity’ 05.17.13 at 1:59 pm ET
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Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski, during an appearance on the Mut & Merloni show Friday, talked about jumping into the Bruins lineup and contributing to the team’s postseason success.

Bartkowski, 24, was called up from AHL Providence last week following injuries on the Boston blue line and has appeared in three playoff games since.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Bartkowski said. “It’s what you dream of as a player, being able to step in in the playoffs and hopefully perform and then help the team win. It’s what you want to show everybody in the hockey world and the organization that you can do. It’s just a great opportunity for me.”

Bartkowski played almost 27 minutes in Thursday night’s Game 1 win over the Rangers, as he and fellow call-up Torey Krug were forced into a regular role due to injuries to Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference and Wade Redden.

“Before the game the coaches talked to us and said we’re going to be playing a lot of minutes,” he said. “I knew I’d be playing with Johnny [Boychuk] against the [Ryan] Callahan line. So I figured I’d be playing quite a bit.”

In Game 7 against the Maple Leafs on Monday night, Bartkowski opened the scoring with a first-period goal. He said that helped him mentally, although he never felt out of place.

“I felt pretty in control. The more I played, the more comfortable I got,” he said. “Being able to score that goal pretty early kind of settled me down. It just gave me an opportunity to play my game.”

Bartkowski grew up outside Pittsburgh as a fan of the Penguins when Jaromir Jagr was in his prime in the 1990s. Now the two are teammates in Boston.

“I remember growing up watching him play,” Bartkowski said. “Then, I don’t know what year it was [2001], but him going away from the Pens and it was like this heartbreak for the city. I just every year remember watching him do something different every game. It was pretty amazing. And now being able to play with him, it’s pretty cool.”

To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Jaromir Jagr, Matt Bartkowski,
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