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NHL commissioner upholds Shawn Thornton’s 15-game suspension 12.24.13 at 12:39 pm ET
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The NHL announced Tuesday that commissioner Gary Bettman has upheld the 15-game suspension given to Bruins forward Shawn Thornton for attacking Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik on Dec. 7.

Thornton, who has missed eight games since the incident, appealed the original decision by NHL senior vice president of player safety Brendan Shanahan that was announced on Dec. 14. He met with the commissioner in New York on Friday, along with his agent, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli and three representatives from the NHL Players Association.

The NHLPA argued for a suspension in the range of 10-12 games, noting that Thornton had never previously been suspended and the punishment was not consistent with previous penalties for similar actions.

Wrote Bettman in Tuesday’s announcement: “I have no trouble concluding that a very lengthy suspension is warranted and that the decision to impose a 15-game suspension is supported by clear and convincing evidence. In fact, in light of all the circumstances relating to the underlying conduct, it is certainly possible to argue for a more severe punishment, but I am comfortable relying on Mr. Shanahan’s judgment.”

Added Bettman: “The objective evidence makes it clear to me that Mr. Thornton’s conduct was premeditated and an act of retaliation, and I do not believe that any person with experience in the game could conclude otherwise.”

Thornton, who can appeal the decision to a neutral arbitrator as per the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement, will forfeit $85,615 in salary. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

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Bruins score 3 power-play goals, pull away from Predators late 12.23.13 at 10:35 pm ET
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Bruins forward Jarome Iginla celebrates after scoring in the first period of Monday night's victory over the Predators. (AP)

Bruins forward Jarome Iginla celebrates after scoring in the first period of Monday night’s victory over the Predators. (AP)

The Bruins scored a season-high three power-play goals Monday night as they beat the Predators, 6-2, in their final game before breaking for Christmas.

Jarome Iginla redirected a Zdeno Chara shot past Carter Hutton just 1:16 into the game, with Matt Fraser scoring his first goal as a Bruin shortly after off a rebound that was bad enough for the Predators to replace Hutton with Marek Mazanek. The B’s made it 3-0 on Reilly Smith‘s second power-play goal in as many games.

The Predators got on the board in the second period with a Craig Smith power-play goal and made it a one-goal game on Smith’s second of the game at 3:25 of the third, but the Bruins got two goals out of a 5-on-3 and subsequent 5-on-4 from Iginla and Carl Soderberg, respectively. Brad Marchand made it 6-2 off a feed from Smith late in the third.

Ryan Spooner had three assists as he continues to get comfortable at the NHL level. Tuukka Rask made 29 saves in the win, which was the 400th of Claude Julien‘s coaching career.

The Bruins will break for Christmas and return to action Friday against the Senators.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

– Both power-play units have been very good, and the B’s weren’t so bad on the 5-on-3 either. With Chara back at the point on a third-period two-man advantage, the Bruins got a goal from David Krejci‘s unit and then got Soderberg’s goal with Paul Gaustad still in the box. The goals came within 50 seconds.

– For the second straight game, the Bruins got a power-play goal out of Soderberg feeding Smith from the goal line. It was the fourth time the B’s have scored on that play, but perhaps the biggest takeaway with that goal is that the second power-play unit of Smith, Soderberg, Spooner, Patrice Bergeron and David Warsofsky has moved the puck extremely well the last two games.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

– With a second-period hooking penalty, Bergeron now has 15 penalty minutes in the last four games.

- It was nice to see Adam McQuaid back, but he ended up missing most of the first period after a fight on his second shift. McQuaid returned to the game late in the period, but maybe fighting isn’t the smartest thing for a player who should be easing his way back.

With McQuaid returning to the lineup, the Bruins elected to make Matt Bartkowski a healthy scratch and keep Warsofsky in the lineup. Bartkowski hadn’t looked great playing on a pairing with Dennis Seidenberg, while Warsofsky’s work on the second power-play unit probably was reason enough for the Bruins to keep him in.

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Video: Ex-Bruin Tyler Seguin talks trash behind cops’ backs 12.23.13 at 8:39 am ET
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When Tyler Seguin was traded from the Bruins to the Stars over the summer, B’s general manager Peter Chiarelli made no attempt to hide the fact that the team had tired of the young forward’s immature behavior.

The gossip website TMZ on Sunday published a video from a house party Seguin attended on Cape Cod over Fourth of July weekend, right before he was traded, and it shows Seguin showing some questionable judgment.

Two police officers, reportedly called to the house on a noise complaint, are seen shaking hands with Seguin as they start to leave. Seguin then turns toward his friends and whispers, “[Expletive] the 5-0.” He then jokingly asks if they should start a chant, “[Expletive] the po-po.”

Here’s the video (contains NSFW language).

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Claude Julien: Loui Eriksson ‘feeling better’ 12.22.13 at 1:18 pm ET
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Loui Eriksson

Loui Eriksson

WILMINGTON — The updates on concussed Bruins forward Loui Eriksson have been minimal, but the 28-year-old was at Ristuccia Arena again Sunday as the Bruins practiced.

Eriksson has not been skating, and though Claude Julien didn’t share too much regarding what type of activity (if any) Eriksson can endure, the B’s coach did say that Eriksson is feeling better.

“I don’t know exactly what he’s doing. I think the fact is he’s feeling better,” Julien said. “He doesn’t mind being around right now. That’s a step in the right direction. At one point, he just couldn’t tolerate too much noise or too much activity around him. It’s a step in right direction here. I don’t know exactly where he is in rehab, but it’s a good sign to see him here.”

Eriksson has missed the last seven games after suffering a concussion on a hit from Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik on Dec. 7. It’s the second concussion of the season for Eriksson, as he missed five games earlier in the season following a hit from John Scott on Oct. 30 in Buffalo.

The two concussions Eriksson has suffered this season are the first two of his career.

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

 

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Daniel Paille practicing with Bruins 12.22.13 at 11:27 am ET
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WILMINGTON — Bruins forward Daniel Paille took another step forward in his recovery from a concussion when he practiced Sunday for the first time since being sent back from last week’s road trip.

Paille, who has missed the last six games, has been skating on his own since Friday. He wore a yellow sweater with Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith in Sunday’s practice in place of Brad Marchand, who was the only player from Saturday’s lineup absent from the practice. Marchand, who was hurt twice in Saturday’s game but returned to the game, will travel to Nashville and play Monday. Paille won’t make the trip.

Following the practice, Paille said that he had been experiencing neck pain in previous games and eventually spoke up after feeling especially uncomfortable on the plane from Toronto to Calgary last week. It was at that point that the team sent him back to Boston and he was diagnosed with a concussion.

“I wouldn’t say it was one hit,” Paille said. “For a while I was kind of just working on my neck and then I think over time it’s been hit after hit. I didn’t necessarily have symptoms back then; it was just my neck was really sore and hard to move. The travel from to Toronto to Calgary, it felt a little bit different and that’s where I said something to the team.

“But they knew — the medical staff and the coaches — they knew that my neck was sore, and that was the issue to begin with, but as soon as I told them that it had kind of progressed on the travel from Toronto to Calgary, that’s when they sent me back here.”

Adam McQuaid continues to practice with the Bruins as he works his way back from a lower-body injury. He will make the trip to Nashville and could potentially play Monday against the Predators after missing the last nine games.

The Bruins face an interesting dilemma with when to get McQuaid back in the lineup. If they hold him out Monday, he gets three extra days to heal but then will return to play back-to-backs Friday and Saturday. If they play him Monday, he’ll at least be able to get some rest before getting into his second game.

“To us, when a guy’s ready to go, he’s ready to go,” Claude Julien said. “You don’t hold a guy back when he’s ready to go just because you’re looking at the schedule. I think right now it’s a matter of if he’s ready to go, he should be playing. I don’t that we should be holding him back any longer when he’s feeling good. That’s a decision we’re going to have to make tomorrow. He’s telling us he’s feeling pretty good right now, so we’ll make sure that that’s the case tomorrow.”

Dougie Hamilton (lower body) skated for the second straight day. Hamilton took the ice late in Sunday’s practice and skated by himself.

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Marshfield’s David Warsofsky shows power-play ability in Garden debut 12.21.13 at 11:46 pm ET
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David Warsofsky

David Warsofsky

In his second NHL game, defenseman David Warsofsky got a chance to show what he can do in the role that suits his game best — power-play quarterback. And the Marshfield native and Boston University product ran the Bruins’ power play the same way he’s been running Providence’s, which is very well.

Buffalo’s Linus Omark went to the box for hooking 9:07 into Saturday’s game, and with the Bruins’ top line just finishing up a shift, it was Warsofsky and the second power-play unit (which also included Patrice Bergeron, Reilly Smith, Carl Soderberg and Ryan Spooner) that got the first crack.

They set up a nice cycle and got Buffalo’s penalty killers moving, and Warsofsky’s ability to move his feet and open up lanes was a big part of it. Thirty-two seconds into the man advantage, Smith found the back of the net after a pretty passing sequence that saw all five Bruins touch the puck in about a five-second span.

“I think I’ve obviously been playing on the power play down in Providence, and that’s kind of the role I want to come into,” Warsofsky said. “I felt comfortable out there. … Not every guy gets the chance when they come up to play on the power play, so it was nice to see the coaches have some confidence in me and put me out there.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Patrice Bergeron doesn’t hesitate to drop gloves in rare fight 12.21.13 at 11:07 pm ET
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Patrice Bergeron got in his third-career NHL fight Saturday. (AP)

Patrice Bergeron got in his third-career NHL fight Saturday. (AP)

Bruins fans saw a rare sight when Patrice Bergeron dropped the gloves in the second period of Saturday’s 4-1 win over the Sabres.

It was the first regular-season fight of Bergeron’s NHL career (he’s had two postseason fights) and it came as a result of a cross-check to the face he took from Buffalo defensemen Tyler Myers. With the two exchanging cross-checks (including a low shot from Myers), Bergeron said Myers getting him in the face was “the last straw.”

Myers won the bout, and though Bergeron skated to the box to the roar of the Garden crowd, there isn’t too much to like there. Given Bergeron’s concussion history (four at the NHL level, the most recent of which was last season), the risk/reward doesn’t swing in the Bruins’ favor.

In that case, however, Bergeron said he wasn’t afraid to go.

“I was fine with it,” Bergeron said. “I kind of asked him also.”

Claude Julien‘s take on it was that Bergeron had to fight to stand up for Myers’ cross-check, which he said he “couldn’t believe” wasn’t called a penalty.

Asked whether there’s any hesitation for him to fight given his concussion history, Bergeron said he was too fired up at the time to weigh the pros and cons.

“Obviously you don’t think about that when you’re on the ice and you’re fired up and you’re not happy with what just happened,” he said. “I kind of realized pretty quickly he was pretty tall and had a pretty good good reach, but you don’t think about it.”

The fight and his second-period cross-checking penalty gave Bergeron 13 penalty minutes over his last three games, which is one more than he had in the first 33 games of the season. He certainly won’t be winning the Lady Byng this season, but Bergeron isn’t concerned with the uptick in penalties he’s been taking.

“I mean, the other penalties before were more like part of the play ‘€“ a couple that my stick got caught in people’€™s skates,” Bergeron said. “Bu it’€™s part of the game also. You know, you’€™ve got to play and try to avoid them, but when it does happen there’€™s not much you can do.”

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