|Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘I’m very, very fortunate that I got to be here for 7 years’||06.17.14 at 11:44 am ET|
Thornton, who will hit free agency this offseason, was informed by Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli Monday that the team will not pursue re-signing him after seven seasons in Boston.
“I’ve been around a long time. I assumed it would’ve been [Chiarelli] talking to my agent Monday afternoon instead of me walking in there,” Thornton said. “There’s always a chance of me walking in there to see if I’d be a good soldier, be the extra guy for the next year or two. But I pretty much knew it was coming.
“I talked about it on Sunday with some friends and family. I got the text on Saturday saying he wanted to meet Monday. I kind of put my head around it.”
Thornton wouldn’t cite specific reasons given by Chiarelli for his decision, but the enforcer was grateful for the opportunities given to him over the years.
“It’s just the business. I said it yesterday, I did a few interviews, I’m very, very fortunate that I got to be here for seven years,” Thornton said. “It doesn’t happen anymore. Guys don’t stay around in one market, being a fourth-line guy and being a tough guy. I think you get moved around a lot more than that nowadays. So to do it in this city for seven years, I’m really fortunate.
“I think there are guys in Providence who are just ready to play, and you got to see a few of them do it last year. They’ve got to make some room for these guys. I could understand that.
“But [Chiarelli] didn’t have to tell me early. He didn’t have to tell me face to face. Everything about this organization from Day 1 until yesterday was first class, and I appreciate it.”
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: Bruins’ bad start ‘carried over to most of the rest of the game’||05.16.14 at 12:49 pm ET|
NBC Sports analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to break down the Bruins’ 3-1 season-ending loss to the Canadiens in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
The Bruins found themselves in trouble from the start in Game 7, after noticeably poor execution led to a quick Dale Weise goal to give the Habs a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
“It started with a bad turnover by Matt Bartkowski, we showed it on television. That puck has to be in deep,” McGuire said. “I know it’s a simplification and people are probably saying, ‘What does that have to do with it?’ It had a lot to do with it, because you had all your forwards expecting to shoot it, and they don’t get back in time. Montreal makes a really smart move and Brandon Prust wins a footrace and gets it to Danny Briere, who eventually gets it to Weise, because Bartkowski’s looking at the puck.”
McGuire told Mut & Merloni on Wednesday that Game 7’s first goal would be significant, and he was proven right by the outcome of the game.
“I told you guys the other day the first goal was going to matter. The Bruins were never able to get it back on the rails,” he said. “Now, give Carey Price some credit, and the Bruins also didn’t have a lot of puck luck, but that was a bad start and it carried over to most of the rest of the game.”
McGuire said he could tell from his spot between the benches that the Bruins seemed deflated by the early goal.
|Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘We’re still in shock’ following Game 7 loss to Canadiens||05.16.14 at 10:43 am ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday to discuss the B’s season-ending loss to Montreal in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series, as well as his future in Boston. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The Canadiens broke through with the game’s first goal from Dale Weise just 2:18 into what was generally considered an ugly opening period for the Bruins in their 3-1 loss Wednesday. Thornton was on the ice for the goal.
“That goal against 2 1/2 minutes in, kind of, didn’t take the passion away, but they’re a good team,” Thornton said. “They’re a tough team to battle back against. We can’t give them that goal. It was a bunch of errors that led up to it, but it was Game 7, you don’t want to be battling from behind 2 1/2 minutes into the game.”
Thornton said the locker room was quiet after the game and that he’s still in disbelief over the outcome.
“We’re just disappointed. We’re still in shock, I think. We planned on winning it,” he said. “We planned on going until the end, winning it all. We’re just as in shock as everyone else, if not more.”
Asked to rank the most significant factors in the series, Thornton put the play of goaltender Carey Price, who made 29 saves in Game 7 to cap off an impressive seven-game stretch, and the Canadiens’ role players ahead of Montreal’s speed and quickness.
“I don’t think [speed and quickness] was the reason,” Thornton said. “We didn’t bury enough of our chances. We had ample opportunities to bury it. … A little bit of puck luck, a little bit of timing and I think it could’ve been different, but it wasn’t. They won, they move on. We don’t, we drown in our sorrows.”
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: Game 7 referee Dave Jackson ‘will blow his whistle a lot’||05.14.14 at 12:54 pm ET|
NBC Sports analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to preview Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals between the Bruins and Canadiens at TD Garden. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
While Monday’s 4-0 Game 6 win never seemed in doubt for the Canadiens, the Bruins set a physical tone with a scrum, which appeared to come out of frustration, at the end of the game, something that came as little surprise to McGuire with a deciding game upcoming.
“You’re trying to plant the seed doubt, no question about that,” he said. “I was a little surprised it didn’t take place with about eight minutes to go. In fact, I may have mentioned to [play-by-play announcer] Kenny Albert in the last 10 minutes that there would be more shenanigans.
“That’s just the way it works. It’s a long series, it’s a hard series, it’s a rivalry series. Boston has one significant advantage over Montreal: They’re most robust, they’re bigger. That’s just the reality, you can’t argue with it. Play to your advantage.”
Whether or not the Bruins will be allowed to play their physical style in Game 7 may depend on the officiating. Wednesday night’s referees will be Dave Jackson and Dan O’Rourke — who previously officiated the Bruins’ Game 2 victory that included B’s coach Claude Julien picking up a bench minor — while Shane Heyer and Brad Kovachik will be the linesmen.
“Dave Jackson will blow his whistle a lot,” McGuire said. “He’s called [games] by the letter of the law — now, only on stick infractions; hooking, holding and that stuff. He lets you play physical, chest to chest, shoulder to shoulder. … Dan O’Rourke is the best skating official in the league right now and he keeps up with the play very well. He will not be a whistle-blower.”
The team that has scored first in each game this series has won the game, something that McGuire believes will be equally important on Wednesday, especially with it being a Game 7.
“In the last 19 Game 7s, 17 times the first goal has won, and the only time we had a deviation was in the first round where Colorado scored the first goal against Minnesota, and San Jose scored the first goal against Los Angeles in Game 7,” he said. “That’s the only two deviations we’ve had. … That’s pretty significant.”
|Game 7 roundup: Luck, faith on Canadiens’ side entering finale?||05.14.14 at 11:11 am ET|
TSN’s renowned radio host Tony Marinaro believes he has found the magic touch to send the Canadiens to the Eastern Conference finals with a Game 7 win over the Bruins on Wednesday night. Prior to Monday’s Game 6 in Montreal, with the Habs facing elimination, Marinaro had the Rev. Joseph Fugolo say a prayer for the Canadiens, particularly struggling forward Max Pacioretty, who scored in Montreal’s 4-0 win.
On Wednesday, Marinaro — who is broadcasting from the WEEI studios and will appear with Mut & Merloni at 1 p.m. — had Fugolo back again to “bless a white Canadiens road jersey” in hopes of keeping luck on the Habs’ side.
Whether you believe in the power of prayer or not, Pacioretty had arguably his best game of the series on Monday with a goal and an assist, and said after the game that it “felt good” to get back on the scoreboard after missing some opportunities in previous games. Pacioretty is hoping that kind of effort continues for him in Wednesday’s deciding Game 7 at TD Garden.
Montreal’s Nathan Beaulieu is hoping to bring some pride to the organization’s contingent of “Black Aces.” The Black Aces are the minor league players the Habs call up from the Hamilton Bulldogs — the team’s AHL affiliate — in the last month of the season, and Beaulieu is the one who got the call before Game 6 on Monday. Beaulieu’s efforts on the big stage made an impression on Canadiens coach Michel Therrien.
Even on the road, there’s no avoiding a crowded Bell Centre for a Habs-Bruins game. The Canadiens will host a viewing party with Game 7 being shown on the big screens at the arena. Tickets were sold for $10 with proceeds going to the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation.
Some Canadiens fans are so excited for Wednesday’s Game 7 that they have swarmed into a pair of local barber shops to have the Habs logo shaved in their hair. The barbers told CBC that fans have been lining up by the hundreds, and designs have included the Stanley Cup and P.K. Subban‘s face.
As is to be expected, there is plenty of support for the Habs north of the border in this series. But one Canadian bar went so far to hang a Zdeno Chara doll from the ceiling by a noose.
No matter who wins on Wednesday night, the Montreal Gazette’s Jack Todd writes that hockey is the real winner in this series. However, he did save room to leave his prediction at the end: a Canadiens win and eventual return to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since 1993.
Adrian Dater of the Bleacher Report sees the Canadiens as not only the hungrier team, but also the better team, giving them the advantage over the Bruins in Game 7. Dater views the Bruins as worn down and offensively challenged, and he expects Carey Price to once again outplay Tuukka Rask.
Alternatively, Yahoo’s Nicholas J. Cotsonika refuses to count the Bruins out despite the celebrations on the streets of Montreal after the Habs’ win on Monday. Cotsonika cites Boston’s recent Game 7 experience — the Bruins have played nine deciding games in the last seven years — and home-ice advantage as enough reason to like their chances.
If the Bruins want to win Game 7, playing their physical game may be the best way to do it. Sports statistics website FiveThirtyEightSports compiled penalty numbers from recent postseasons and determined that teams take significantly fewer penalty minutes in Game 7s than any other game in a playoff series, a likely result of officials swallowing their whistles rather than more disciplined play.