|Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘Those defensemen are playing unbelievable’||05.20.13 at 10:16 am ET|
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.”
“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.”
|Patrice Bergeron: ‘It’s not bad to win in regulation’||05.19.13 at 1:43 pm ET|
The Bruins are hoping to keep up their one-goal magic in Game 2 against the Rangers.
The Bruins can take a 2-0 lead against the Rangers with a win at TD Garden before the series shifts to New York for Games 3 and 4.
“The last two games were good,” Shawn Thornton said. “I don’t have a ton of confidence in overtime. I’m on the edge of my seat the whole time. But the experience we’ve had in the last few years, the core group here, helps in the extra frame. We’re not jumpy, we’re not edgy. We’re trying to control pucks and play our game. That’s helped. These are two teams pretty evenly matched. There are going to be a lot of close games. Let’s hope we can continue to feed off that experience.”
Thornton would like his fourth line to finally put one in the net after coming so close in the last two games.
“We’re pretty deep as far as the lines go,” Thornton said. “I’m still waiting for us to chip in. We’ve talked about it. Listen, we’ve been close. We’ve had a ton of chances. We’re not putting them in right now. It’d be nice if we could take the pressure off some of the big boys with a couple of goals from our line.
“With three different guys [scoring in overtime so far], it’s kind of been the thing for our team the last few years. When we’re successful, we have everyone chipping at different times. That needs to continue for us to have success.”
Daniel Paille, another member of the Merlot line with Thornton, was asked about what a 2-0 series lead would do for the Bruins.
“If the situation like that were to come today, we’d feel pretty good about ourselves but we try not to jump too far ahead,” Paille said. “New York was down 2-0 in [last series] and they fought back to win the series and won two games at home right away. Obviously, we want to put ourselves in that position but we have to do the little things first.”
“I think every second, every shift is important and it’s about making sure you’re ready for that one shift,” Patrice Bergeron said when asked about the overtime magic. “It goes with experience, also. We’ve been through it so many times, we know what to expect. We know that we have to keep putting pressure to keep going at to get some results. It’s not bad either to win in regulation, also. If you do have to go into overtime, you have to keep your poise but still keep attacking.”
|Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘We didn’t have any passengers’||05.17.13 at 10:03 am ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning to talk about Thursday night’s 3-2 overtime victory over the Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series.
The Bruins appeared to be in control for much of the game, but Thornton said there was no overconfidence heading into OT.
“I was actually thinking that we’ve hit a lot of posts tonight,” Thornton recalled. “I don’t know how many times you’ve seen it where you have that many chances to win and then all of a sudden they come down the other way and pop one. We talked about it, we wanted to come out in overtime and put the pedal down. They’re a good team, so you can’t give them any reason to get going.”
Added Thornton: “I thought it was pretty even until overtime. We stepped it up. I liked that pretty much all the guys were going last night. We didn’t have any passengers. It’s been a while since we’ve had everyone, all lines going. That was positive.”
Brad Marchand, who left the team’s morning skate with an apparent injury, bounced back with a strong game and scored the winner in overtime — something Thornton said he predicted.
“That was his best game last night of the playoffs,” Thornton said. “I told him it was such. I actually called him in between the third and overtime for scoring — I was very psychic, obviously. He played really well. He wants to do better. He’s a competitor, you can tell. His whole life, everyone has told him he’s too short, too whatever. He wants to win. It was good to see him get back to those ways last night, that’s for sure.”
The Bruins were playing without three injured defensemen, but young blueliners Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug came through with solid performances.
“They were really good,” Thornton said. “I thought maybe one of them out of the three might have had some jitters — no one in particular. I saw Bart and Dougie in Game 7, and they were both spectacular in Game 7, too. But Kruger’s first game in a while, he scores a huge goal. I think his first shift he had a couple of plays where he skated out of the zone, and I think that settled him down. I think all three of them were unbelievable back there last night. A little — I don’t want to say surprised, because I’ve seen them all play, and I know they’re very capable of playing in those games. But you’re right, when it’s your first playoff game or your second playoff game, you could have those jitters, and they didn’t. They were unbelievable.”
|Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘We’re fighting for our lives every night’||05.15.13 at 9:09 am ET|
The Bruins pulled off a miraculous comeback against the Maple Leafs in Game 7 on Monday night, while the Rangers routed the Capitals in their Game 7 the same evening. Thornton said neither team will get an advantage from the way the previous series ended.
“It’s a whole new series,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what happened a few days ago. You clear the slate and off you go. ‘¦ For us, that was a pretty emotional overtime, obviously, and an emotional comeback. We almost have to forget about that and get started on this new one.”
Thornton missed an open net toward the end of the last game when his shot from 10 feet in front went over the goal, apparently after deflecting off the mask of Toronto goalie James Reimer, who had been prone on the ice. Thornton returned to the bench and slammed down his stick.
“I wasn’t happy,” Thornton said. “I put it where I wanted to. I didn’t know he was going to be able to get his head up that high. I was going for the top of the net. I still didn’t see what it hit. People are telling me I hit him in the mask. I was ready to put my hands up; I thought it was in. Then I didn’t see the red light go on. I wasn’t very happy, that’s for sure.
“Almost, almost. That’s kind of my life story scoring goals. A lot of almosts.”
The Bruins have been plagued by inconsistency, something that continued from the latter part of the regular season into the playoffs.
“I don’t have an answer. We should be ready to go every night,” Thornton said. “It just seems like we have a little bit of success, then we deviate from the plan a little bit, shoot ourselves in the foot, and then we have to crawl our way back out of it again. We have been crawling out of it, but you can only do that for so long. I’m sure that will be addressed. We’ve got to get back to just playing the way we want to play.
“That being said, though, other teams are trying, too. It’s not we can go out there and dominate 20 minutes. They’re fighting for their lives the whole time. Toronto’s a lot better team than a lot of people gave them credit for. Yes, we haven’t played to the best of our ability at all times every night, but you’re not going to dominate a game in the playoffs for 60 minutes. It just doesn’t happen.”
Touching on the prospects of this being a physical series, Thornton indicated he’s ready for whatever comes his way.
“They say that for every playoff series before it starts,” Thornton said. “It should be physical. It’s the playoffs. They said that about the Leafs. They said that when we played Montreal a couple of years ago, and they didn’t have too many guys that were over 5-9.
“It’s the playoffs, it’s going to be physical. Do we like that? Yeah, we should. We should be physical, they should be physical. We’re fighting for our lives every night. That’s what makes the NHL playoffs so great.”
|Shawn Thornton on Game 7: ‘Obviously, we didn’t want to be here’||05.13.13 at 5:42 pm ET|
Leave it to Shawn Thornton to lighten the mood heading into a winner-take-all Game 7 against the Leafs at TD Garden. Asked what was the biggest advantage to flying back to Boston on the morning of Game 7 instead of flying back right after the Game 6 loss, Thornton had an immediate response.
“I didn’t have my dogs kicking me in the back in the middle of the night,” Thornton said. “I probably got more sleep last night staying over than I would have coming in. I think we got some more rest. We didn’t fly out at an atrocious time this morning. Everyone got their sleep, got in, had a good meal. I don’t know. I feel pretty good.”
The Bruins flew back to Boston mid-morning, after being grounded in Toronto Sunday night due to a “malfunction” with their charter plane. Thornton said the key for the Bruins in Game 7 will be attitude.
“Try not to get too high before the game and try to keep it fairly even keel,” he said. “If you get too ramped up, everyone can start looking like they have my hands, bobbling pucks. We have a lot of experience but they’re going to be pretty fired up over there, too. You have to try and keep it even keel but we have to be ready for them.”
Thornton also said the mood in the dressing room is not one of nervousness.
“Not uneasiness,” Thornton said. “Obviously, we didn’t want to be here but we are so you turn the page and get ready for tonight and embrace it. Game 7s are pretty fun for everyone so just have fun with it.”
“This is a great opportunity,” added Chris Kelly. “Play in Game 7 at home. We’ve worked hard all year to put ourselves in this situation. Obviously, it’s not the ideal situation but I don’t think it is for them, too. I’m sure they wouldn’t have wanted to play a Game 7 at the start of the series. But we are where we are and I’m excited.”
Kelly has been centering the third line with Jaromir Jagr and Rich Peverley. Kelly is confident that face-off wins can finally result in goals in Game 7.
“I think we’ve done a good job in the face-off circle, not ony the center men but a five-man unit getting in there and helping out,” Kelly said. “It’d be nice to manage the puck a little bit better than we have, putting it in better situations than where we can retrieve it after those face-off wins.”
|Shawn Thornton ‘can’t believe’ Tuukka Rask not a Vezina finalist||05.08.13 at 1:15 pm ET|
TORONTO — The three finalists for the Vezina Trophy were revealed Wednesday and the Bruins were surprised to hear that Tuukka Rask was not one of them.
Rask, who finished third in the league with a .929 save percentage and was tied for first with five shutouts in 36 games this season, was beat out by favorite Sergei Bobrovsky of the Blue Jackets as well as San Jose’s Antti Niemi and Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist. Rask’s 2.00 goals-against average ranked sixth in the NHL this season, while he played seven games less than both Niemi and Lundqvist.
While the Bruins say they’re focused more on the postseason than any individual awards, some admitted to being confused as to why Rask wasn’t a finalist for the award, which is voted on by the league’s general managers.
“I can’t believe he’s not nominated,” Shawn Thornton said. “I don’t know what the reason is. It’s the same as three years ago, when he started with us. If I’m not mistaken, he had the best save percentage, the best goals against in the league and he wasn’t even a question mark for the Calder or the Vezina.”
Rask’s numbers during the regular season are very similar to his stats from the aforementioned 2009-10 season, when, as Thornton pointed out, his 1.97 GAA and .931 save percentage were tops in the league. Thornton thought he deserved more recognition then just like he thinks he deserves it now, and though he said that Rask “definitely” flies under the radar because Boston is known for being such a strong defensive team, he still thinks Rask’s numbers tell a lot of the story of Boston’s success. He isn’t alone in that line of thinking, either.
“From the first game this year, Tuukka has been the guy to go. He’s won some games for us in the season,” David Krejci said. “He’s been great for us in the playoffs. He had 47 shots against the last game and he kept us in the game last game and the first two games as well. It’s great to have somebody back there that you can rely on. He’s been so good for us the whole year. I just hope that he’s going to keep playing the way he is.”
Rask’s backup, Anton Khudobin, said he was surprised that Rask wasn’t a finalist either, saying the 26-year-old “put up good numbers and had a lot of shutouts.” While he understands that people may associate the Bruins as being a great defensive team because of players like Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, he doesn’t think that’s a reason for people to discount numbers like Rask’s.
“I don’t think any goalie has an easy job in this league,” Khudobin said. “I don’t think so. Of course we have great defensemen, there’s no doubt. Plus it’s a team sport, to win something, every piece has to be good.”
Thornton and Claude Julien both said that they don’t think Rask will lose too much sleep over being excluded, a quality they like about their netminder.
“I don’t know what the reason is,” he said. “I’m just glad we have him on our team. I know that the type of person he is, he doesn’t need the recognition. He’s going to continue to play no matter what, but it’s unfortunate because both years he’s been our starter he’s been unbelievable.”
On a less surprising note, Chara was not one of the top three vote-getters from writers for the Norris Trophy. The three finalists for the award are P.K. Subban, Ryan Suter and Kris Letang.
|Fourth line getting into postseason form for Bruins||04.26.13 at 12:55 am ET|
It’s getting to be the time of year when tight games are often decided by players like Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton. As the Bruins wrapped up home ice in the first round of the playoffs with a 2-0 win over the Lightning on Thursday, their Merlot Line came through with a goal that solidified the victory, playing the way they’ll likely need to when the postseason begins.
Paille became a 10-goal scorer for the first time since 2009-10 at 13:31 of the second. Campbell found him open at the top of the right circle and sent the puck right into his wheelhouse, setting up Paille to fire a one-timer past Tampa Bay goalie Anders Lindback.
Paille had three shots and another that was blocked on Thursday, as many as any Bruin. Although they weren’t all over the scoresheet, the fourth line was one of the Bruins’ most energetic, creating chances with an aggressive forecheck and consistently maintaining possession in the Lightning’s zone.
‘We know, for our line, if we don’t score it’s not a big deal, but the main goal for us is to create as much energy as we can and it felt like we did that today,’ Paille said. ‘With [Thornton] taking the puck from a couple of guys, and [Campbell] as well, you know, I thought we all contributed in a positive way today, even if we didn’t score.’
Entering Thursday’s game, the trio had a combined 16 goals on the year. They’re not on the ice to score on every shift, but the Bruins will welcome any offensive contributions from them, especially with just two games left in the regular season. And although they haven’t been exempt from the Bruins’ recent line-shuffling, Paille acknowledged that the three of them do always seem to wind up back together.
‘We know we’re not going to play a ton of minutes, but we’re happy with who we play with,’ Paille said. ‘And I think that’s a big thing going on the last few years that we’ve been here.’
Bruins coach Claude Julien said he thought that line did its job on Thursday, overcoming some issues it had earlier in the year.
‘There’s some confidence there — you know, [Campbell] making that pass and Paille not hesitating, great shot, and the goaltender didn’t have much time to get across,’ Julien said. ‘So overall making the right plays and keeping pucks in down low and battling. And [Thornton], the same thing. Not only that, but they’ve had some challenges at times this year where they weren’t making good line changes and leaving the next line … hanging. But they were sharp in all those areas tonight, so I thought they were good.’