|Shawn Thornton talks Tuukka Rask, Malcolm Subban and the Merlot Line||06.26.12 at 6:14 pm ET|
Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton was at Fenway Tuesday to take in a Red Sox game, and he took a few minutes to talk to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. Here are a few highlights of the conversation:
On Tuukka Rask being the No. 1 goalie this coming season:
“I’ve been texting with him. He’s back in Finland, so I haven’t had a full conversation with him, but I’ve texted back and forth with him. Not about anything hockey-wise, just life stuff.
“It’s June, so I’m not too worried about it right now. I have all the confidence in the world in Tuukka. His numbers have proven that he can start in this league. All his teammates love him. He’s a great guy. They still have to re-sign him, but I’m very confident with him between the pipes.”
On the team giving three-year deals to line mates Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille:
“I’m ecstatic. I’ve loved playing with those guys. We kind of know where each other are on the ice now. We don’t have to talk, we’ve been with each other for so long now that we can kind of just read off each other. That should help us in years to come.”
On the chemistry between fourth-liners:
“I’ve been on it longer, I guess. I get along with them very well as friends, first and foremost, and obviously as teammates. I’m happy to have them back.”
On having a Subban (Malcolm Subban) in the organization:
“I don’t follow junior hockey, so I didn’t even know [P.K. Subban] had a brother playing, to tell you the truth. If he was the best player available and he’s going to make our team better in the future, then I mean Peter’s a pretty smart man and I’m sure they made the right choice.”
Rob Bradford contributed [a.k.a. did all the legwork] to this report.
|Peter Chiarelli conference call: Bruins not expecting return of Tim Thomas, Joe Corvo||06.01.12 at 4:54 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli confirmed goalkeeper Tim Thomas said he wants to sit out the 2012-13 season, citing familial reasons.
Chiarelli said on Friday that he will have to suspend Thomas if the goalkeeper does not play next year, but Thomas’ cap number will still impact the team.
“As of right now I’m operating under the premise that there’s a strong possibility that he’ll be taking the year off and we’ll have to go about our business without Tim Thomas for the year,” Chiarelli said.
If Thomas does not come back, Chiarelli said the Bruins would use Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin as the goalkeepers.
Even though Thomas’ exploration into taking a year off coincides closely with the expiration of his no-trade, Chiarelli said he doesn’t think that factored into Thomas’ decision. The Bruins general manager said the reason why Thomas wants a year off is because the goalkeeper cares about his family and wants to play in the 2014 Winter Olympics. Chiarelli added that Thomas had expressed issues of exhaustion before.
“I remember one of the things that he told me after, the year before, we met, that he was really tired,” Chiarelli said. “And we had exit meetings after we won the cup and he was really tired. And he said to me after these exit meetings he definitely was worn down a bit.”
Thomas isn’t the only player with a questionable future as the Bruins are still involved in various contract negotiations. On Friday team announced the signing of Daniel Paille and Chris Bourque.
Chiarelli said Bourque, the son of Hall of Famer Ray Bourque, has a chance of making Boston’s lineup and playing with skilled players.
“He does have those attributes,” Chiarelli said. “He does have the ability to shoot and find seams, but he also has a great element to his game where if he has to play lower down the line that he can do that.”
|Looking back and ahead: Daniel Paille||05.17.12 at 12:32 am ET|
With the Bruins’ season in the books, WEEI.com will take a look at each player on the roster one-by-one to provide some perspective on what went wrong this season and what the future holds for the 2011 champions.
2011-12 stats: 69 games played, 9 goals, 6 assists, 15 points, minus-5
Contract status: Unrestricted free agent ($1.075 million cap hit in 2011-12)
Looking back: While the retirement of Mark Recchi and the free agent defection of Michael Ryder left some uncertainty as to how Boston’s top three lines would look entering the season, it seemed a certainty entering camp that Claude Julien would not touch the fourth line of Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton. That was indeed the case, and Julien kept the “Merlot Line,” as Thornton has long called it for the maroon practice sweaters of fourth-line players, intact.
Though the line (at least the incarnation with Paille rather than Brad Marchand) did not see its offensive success of the previous season, the trio of Paille, Campbell and Thornton continued to bring what’s required of it: energy and prolonged stays in the offensive zone.
For the most part, the former Sabres first-round pick had horrible luck this season. He was hit in the face by a Steve Staios slapshot to the face on Nov. 7. He also suffered a mild concussion on Dec. 8 and dealt with an arm injury in early March. He also found himself as the odd man out when Jordan Caron‘s torrid play down the stretch left him in the press box for four games in late March. Despite the numerous injuries and healthy scratches, Paille missed only 13 games over the course of the regular season.
It wasn’t his best statistical campaign (he still hasn’t repeated his 19-goal performance of 2007-08 with the Sabres), but it was a season in which Paille proved to be a bit of an iron man for Boston due to his ability to get back into the lineup quickly after injuries. If such goofy statistics were kept, it wouldn’t be surprising if Paille led the league in shorthanded scoring opportunities. As has long been the case with Paille, his finishing skills often let him down, but his ability to do everything but score makes him perfectly suitable as a fourth-liner and penalty killer.
Paille actually did not take a penalty in the first half of the season. In fact, his first trip to the box of the season was a fighting major that came on Jan. 16 against Ed Jovanovski, the second second fighting major of the 28-year-old’s career. He finished the regular season with 15 penalty minutes.
Looking ahead: When it comes to the Bruins’ priorities with their free agents this summer, Paille is certainly no Chris Kelly, but he’s still someone who has carved out a niche in Boston and would be a good guy to have back.
Paille is one of five Bruins forwards who are free agents (the others are Kelly, Campbell, Brian Rolston and the restricted Benoit Pouliot), so Boston’s offense could look pretty different next season. If Paille isn’t brought back, it could open up a full-time job for Caron or provide an opportunity for a youngster like Jared Knight. If Rolston retires (which he has yet to decide), a spot for Caron might be there anyway.
The 28-year-old Paille is also a great character guy who is a good presence in the Bruins’ dressing room. After spending the previous season seeing significant time as a healthy scratch, it seemed he had earned himself a full-time job in the Boston lineup this season, but he didn’t feel entitled or pout when Julien had to scratch him in favor of Caron late in the regular season. Of course, if Paille does re-sign with the Bruins, he’ll probably do so in hopes of being in the lineup every night.
Paille might never end up justifying his first-round selection (20th overall back in 2002), but he serves his role as a fourth-liner very well in Boston. Perhaps there there will be opportunities in free agency for the Ontario native to play more and on a higher line, but the Bruins would be smart to do what they can to retain his services.
|Claude Julien hopeful Johnny Boychuk (knee) will play in Game 1||04.12.12 at 1:17 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien would only say he “hopes” defenseman Johnny Boychuk will be in the lineup Thursday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Capitals.
Based on this week, it would appear that Boychuk should be ready to return after missing the last two games of the regular season with a sprained knee. He participated in Thursday’s morning skate, marking the fourth straight day he’s been on the ice with the team. In practices and line drills, Boychuk has played on the second pairing with Andrew Ference.
Julien would not reveal the healthy scratch among forwards, but it should be either Jordan Caron or Daniel Paille, as the two have shared the left wing on the fourth line this week in practice.
Adam McQuaid (upper-body) and Tuukka Rask (abdomen/groin) will not dress. Anton Khudobin will serve as the team’s backup to Tim Thomas.
Here are the Bruins’ lines:
Milan Lucic – David Krejci – Rich Peverley
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot – Chris Kelly – Brian Rolston
Daniel Paille/Jordan Caron – Gregory Campbell – Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara – Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference – Johnny Boychuk
Greg Zanon – Joe Corvo
|Infected cut forces Dennis Seidenberg out of Bruins’ lineup for first time this season||03.29.12 at 12:07 pm ET|
Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg was the only Bruin missing from morning skate Thursday, and he’ll miss his first game of the season when the B’s host the Capitals Thursday night at TD Garden.
Seidenberg will be kept out of the lineup with an infected cut. The blueliner suffered the cut on his left leg Saturday against the Kings, and after getting it stitched up played Sunday and Tuesday prior to it becoming infected.
“In LA, he suffered a cut on his leg, and they stitched it up and everything was good, but a little infection has gotten into it now, so he’s on antibiotics and just to play it safe, we’re going to keep him out,” coach Claude Julien explained. “It’s just day-to-day, it’s not long-term. It’s just to take care of that.”
Joe Corvo, who has been a healthy scratch for the last six games, will be inserted into the lineup in place of Seidenberg. With Seidenberg not playing for the first time this season, centers Patrice Bergeron and Chris Kelly will remain the only two Bruins to play in each contest.
Julien added that the team will “probably” go with the same forwards as they have the last two games, meaning Daniel Paille is likely to remain a healthy scratch.
|Bruins hold optional practice, with more likely to come||03.28.12 at 1:16 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Fresh off their fourth game in six nights, the Bruins held an optional practice Wednesday at Ristuccia Arena to prepare for yet another four in six stretch.
Healthy scratches Daniel Paille, Mike Mottau, Joe Corvo and Torey Krug were joined by Shawn Thornton, Gregory Campbell, Jordan Caron, Benoit Pouliot, Greg Zanon and Marty Turco. Coaches Bob Essensa, Doug Houda and Doug Jarvis were on the ice while Claude Julien and Peter Chiarelli watched from above.
Julien had said the team was tired after Tuesday’s win over the Lightning, due in large part to their busy schedule and having to travel back from California this week. As a result, an optional skate was in everyone’s best interest.
“Some of those guys are logging big minutes here, and I think it’s just about managing it,” he said Wednesday. “Again, we’ve got four [games] in six [days] coming up, so we need to get some rest somewhere along the way.”
With a busy schedule the rest of the way (six games in the next 10 days), Julien said it’s likely that optional practices will be more frequent.
“I think there’s a good chance some of it’s going to be like that,” he said. “We’ve talked about [finding ways to stay rested] since the start of the year, and we have to find some times where we can get some of our rest. When you come back from a trip like we did, Monday wasn’t a day off. Monday was a travel day, so today was about giving some of those guys some recuperation time, and hopefully get set for the stretch run here.”
|Bruins plan to go with same lineup vs. Lightning||03.27.12 at 12:16 pm ET|
The Bruins kept their same lines from Sunday night’s game when they took the ice for Tuesday’s morning skate, and after the skate coach Claude Julien said that the team will probably go with the same lineup vs. the Lightning.
“More than likely we’re looking at the same lineup,” Julien said.
That would mean that Daniel Paille will be a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game. Jordan Caron is expected to remain on the Merlot Line with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton.
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