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Shawn Thornton on D&H: Tomas Kaberle ‘one of the best defensemen in the league’ 02.21.11 at 12:55 pm ET
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Shawn Thornton

Bruins forward Shawn Thornton, while on his way to the airport for the Bruins’ road trip that starts with a game Tuesday in Calgary, checked in with the Dale & Holley show Monday and talked about the team’s recent roster changes. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Asked if there was any tension around the team last week, Thornton acknowledged that there was. “There always is this time of year,” he said. “The media obviously reports it. I think it gets worse these days, with —I’m not bad-mouthing anybody, but — countless blogs and stuff that nobody really has to [be accountable]. You can just throw stuff against the wall and hope it sticks. There’s a lot of names being thrown around nowadays. I think everybody’s hoping that they get one right. So, yeah, there’s a little bit of tension. I think the best thing to do is not try to pay too much attention to it.”

Thornton had high praise for new Bruins Tomas Kaberle, Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley. “I’ve known Tomas for a long time,” he said. “We were in the minors together for a little bit, actually. The way he moves the puck and the way he sees the ice when he has the puck — even without it — he’s such a smart player. He’s one of the best defensemen in the league, and I think we’re very, very fortunate to have him.”

Of Kelly, Thornton said: “He can skate, he can shoot, he competes really hard. I think he’s a good pickup for us.”

Thornton said the adjustment period for the new Bruins shouldn’t be long, especially considering their age and the fact that Peverley comes from Atlanta, where first-year Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay is using a style similar to the one used when Ramsay was an assistant in Boston the past three seasons. “I think it should be pretty seamless, being that they’re older guys,” Thornton said. “Kelly, Peverly, Kaberle — they’ve all been around the league a bunch. … The fact that Kelly’s been in the league for six, seven years makes it a little easier than being maybe 20 or 21.”

Bruins goalie Tim Thomas challenged Canadiens netminder Carey Price to a fight when the teams met in Boston earlier this month. While it didn’t go so well for Thomas, Thornton was impressed with the effort and strategy. “His game plan was pretty good for a guy fighting somebody a lot bigger,” Thornton said. “I’ve actually used his game plan before. But when you miss your grab on the way in, sometimes it goes all out the window. And it did for him. But you know what? He did a good job. He protected himself well.

“He’ll be the first to tell you it wasn’t much of a fight. But that was the loudest I’ve heard the Garden I think in a long time, when those two squared off. It was pretty fun.”

Read More: Carey Price, Chris Kelly, Rich Peverley, Shawn Thornton
Sunday scrimmage for Bruins 02.20.11 at 11:54 am ET
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WILMINGTON — Tomas Kaberle isn’t in town, but those packing the stands at Ristuccia in Wilmington get to see Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley for the first time. While that’s all fine and dandy, the real question of how these lines will shake out remains unanswered. Rather than wearing their traditional color-coded practice sweaters to indicate lines, the B’s wore black and white uniforms for a skate that included a scrimmage.

Unfortunately the scrimmage was of 4-on-4 variety, so the lines for the B’s with Peverley in the mix remain unknown. Check back for more following practice.

Read More: Chris Kelly, Rich Peverley,
Chris Kelly won’t join Bruins until Friday 02.17.11 at 3:26 pm ET
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Bruins forward Chris Kelly, acquired Tuesday night in a trade with the Senators, will not be available to play Thursday night against the Islanders due to immigration issues. Kelly, a Canadian citizen previously employed in Canada, will remain in Ottawa, where he will join the team Friday.

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli issued the following statement Thursday afternoon:

“At this time we have not received the proper immigration approval necessary for Chris to play in tonight’s game against the New York Islanders. This is the normal operating procedure for a non-immigrant to legally work in the United States. Chris will meet the team in Ottawa tomorrow and will be available to play in tomorrow’s game against the Senators.”

Read More: Chris Kelly,
Amidst trade rumors, players try to block out the chatter 02.16.11 at 5:07 pm ET
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By now, there are few people who don’t know that Peter Chiarelli wants to trade for a defenseman. Not only has the Bruins general manager stated it several times, but it’s been discussed heavily by media and fans alike as the Feb. 28 trade deadline grows nearer.

Blake Wheeler would rather listen to a goal horn than trade rumors. (AP)

Tomas Kaberle has been the most popular name in the rumor mill, and with reports emerging Tuesday that the Bruins are the only team he would accept a trade to, many are playing hypothetical GM in trying to predict what the B’s could move to Toronto should a deal be made.

Yet as the rumors are generated, players face the annual task of trying to block out all the trade whispers. Claude Julien admitted Wednesday that there’s “no doubt” that players can have a tough time dealing with it, adding, “I’m sure there’s some players thinking about that.”

From the moment the Bruins acquired Chris Kelly late Tuesday night, rumor sites and various sultans of speculation made the connection that given the two players’ cap hits, Blake Wheeler could potentially be expendable in a trade for a defenseman. The 24-year-old has heard his name in various rumors before, and will use past lessons learned to handle this trade season.

“I guess the first lesson you learn [is] you don’t read anything because you’re always better than you are when things are going good, and you’re always worse than you are when things are going bad,” Wheeler said Wednesday. “Trades and all of that are the same way.”

“I can’t speak for everyone in our locker room. I know personally, I don’t read anything. I’m sure most of the guys don’t read much either, because what good does it do to read your name and that you’re going to be traded? Ninety-five percent of the time it’s not true anyways, so until that happens, you’ve just got to worry about your business here.”

While players are better off not focusing on names and who could go where, the Bruins are in a different situation from years past, as it is universally know that the team has a move in mind. With Chiarelli targeting a defensemen, the logjam that already exists on the blueline could face even more competition. Johnny Boychuk was the team’s healthy scratch on Tuesday, and the B’s have scratched a different defenseman over the last three games.

While the seven guys on the Bruins’ blueline are already pushing one another for a spot in the lineup, Boychuk would welcome another defenseman under one condition.

“If it’s going to help our team, then yeah,” Boychuk said Wednesday. “Anything to help our team.”

Earlier in the season, various rumors suggested Wheeler could be on the move to the Coyotes, the team that he elected not to sign with after they spent a fifth overall pick on him. Nothing happened there, but Wheeler can bet that he will continue to hear his name brought up in rumors. With Wheeler a part of a team that is in the midst of a season-worst three-game losing streak, the winger is more focused on changing the team’s luck than worrying about a change in uniform.

“The rumors you hear never happen, and the ones you don’t hear about, those ones seems to happen,” he said. “From our standpoint, I think our focus is that we have games to play. We have points to earn, and we can’t worry about what’s being written in papers, or online in blogs.

“We start worrying about things we can’t control and all of a sudden things we can control are going to slip. We’ve already lost three straight, so the most important thing for us is to start winning. Whatever happens from other standpoints is going to happen, and that’s out of our control.”

The Bruins will be on the road for the next six games and will not return to the Garden until March 3. Julien can see why players could worry about whether they’ll be with the club for that next game in Boston, but at the same time knows that it isn’t the hands of anyone in the dressing room.

“I know it weighs on players’ minds all the time when you hear rumors about a certain player on your team,” Julien said. “At the same time, you want the players to be professionals and deal with the issues as professionals and say it’s out of your control. At the same time, those players, if it’s not here, it will be somewhere else.

“It’s not like they’re not going to be playing hockey anymore. You really have got to take that approach and say, ‘You know what? It’s one game at a time. Right now I’ve got to do my job and let the people that make those decisions that are out of my control make them. That’s the best way to approach it.”

Five more days and the players won’t need to think about it. For now, the only change they’ll need to focus on is in the final scores.

Read More: Blake Wheeler, Chris Kelly, Johnny Boychuk, Tomas Kaberle
Zdeno Chara: Former teammate Chris Kelly a ‘great addition’ for Bruins at 1:31 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — The Bruins will see a new face in their lineup when Chris Kelly, acquired in a trade with Ottawa Tuesday night for a second-round pick, joins the team for either Thursday or Friday’s game. While Kelly will have nearly an entire Bruins dressing room full of new teammates, he will be reunited with B’s captain Zdeno Chara, with whom he played in Ottawa in the 2003-04 and 2005-06 seasons. Chara had high praise for is former teammate and the move that the team made to acquire him.

“It’s a great addition. He’s a hard-working player, a smart player,” Chara said following Wednesday’s practice. “He always plays his role well and is going to give us more depth in the middle and the experience he has. I think it’s a great addition.

“He’s always a guy that you can rely on to get the job done. He’s a very smart player, and he’s always thinking on the ice before he does anything.”

As for where he will fit in the lineup, Peter Chiarelli said Tuesday night that he expects Kelly to play center on the team’s third line. Coach Claude Julien wouldn’t go that far, saying Wednesday that he needs to see the player first and has “team issues to deal with.”

In 57 games this season, Kelly has 12 goals and 11 assists for 23 points and a minus-12 rating.

Read More: Chris Kelly, Zdeno Chara,
Mike Milbury on D&H: B’s made ‘wise decision to add to their depth and toughness’ at 12:52 pm ET
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Mike Milbury

NESN and NBC Sports hockey analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday to talk Bruins and NHL news. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Milbury indicated he likes the Bruins’ acquisition of Chris Kelly from the Senators. “I think the Bruins have made a wise decision to add to their depth and toughness,” he said. “In both cases, you can’t get enough of it, particularly when it comes time for playoff time.”

The Bruins reportedly have interest in Maple Leafs defenseman Tomas Kaberle. “He’s a quiet player,” Milbury said. “He’s efficient, he’s not a physical force, doesn’t have a big shot, moves it pretty well from the point. I didn’t mean to be too critical of him the last time we spoke. If I was, I stand somewhat corrected.”

Added Milbury: “This is a player that’s going to need to step it up in terms of intensity and commitment level if he does come to Boston. That’s how I see it.”

On Friday night, the Islanders sought revenge on the Penguins for previous hits by sparking a number of brawls. The NHL responded with suspensions and a $100,000 fine for the Islanders due to their inability to control their players. However, Penguins owner Mario Lemieux said it didn’t go far enough.

“What happened on Long Island was unacceptable,” Milbury said. “Clearly, the league made that statement. We allow fighting because we like it. … We like the manliness of it. We like the immediate retribution for a perceived slight to our teammates or to ourselves. We like it when guys stand up for themselves. And we like it that they’re willing to sacrifice and are they’ll go as far as dropping the gloves to do it.

“But it’s not supposed to be a tactic. We bristle when people come up from behind, because it crosses our sense of etiquette in the hockey world. We bristle a little bit more when it seems to be not a mano-a-mano retribution thing but almost a team-wide, orchestrated thing. And we really don’t like it — and what happened on Long Island — is when somebody is in a compromised position that the fighter continues to pummel his opponent. And not only that, once it’s over, he comes back to taunt him from the runway. All silly, and a black eye for the league.

“Fortunately, it’s an aberration. It doesn’t happen very often any more. But when you allow fighting, and you allow those emotions to vent, it’s difficult to control it. From time to time, you’ll see this stuff. As I said, fortunately it’s less frequent now.

“The league acted. Was it strong enough? You can debate that. You could certainly have an argument about whether it was forceful enough to make changes in behavior. But it was a strong and it was an immediate statement. I think everybody would grant that.”

As for Lemieux’s criticism, Milbury noted that Matt Cooke still is a member of the Penguins. “Pittsburgh is not a goody-two-shoes team,” he said. “They’re a snippy little bunch. They’re not shy when it comes to a hit when you’re vulnerable.”

Read More: Chris Kelly, Mario Lemieux, Mike Milbury, Tomas Kaberle
Patrice Bergeron has maintenance day as Bruins practice at 12:01 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — The Bruins will be on a flight to New York Wednesday, but they first squeezed in a practice at Ristuccia Arena. Patrice Bergeron was not on the ice, nor was newly acquired center Chris Kelly. Coach Claude Julien said Bergeron was simply given a maintenance day, while B’s general manager Peter Chiarelli said Tuesday that it would be unlikely that Kelly would be able to make it to Boston by Wednesday morning.

Here are how the color-coded lines looked.

Milan Lucic – David Krejci – Nathan Horton

Brad Marchand – Mark Recchi

Blake Wheeler – Tyler Seguin – Michael Ryder

Daniel Paille – Gregory Campbell – Shawn Thornton

Check back for more following practice.

Read More: Chris Kelly, Patrice Bergeron,
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