|Wild and wooly: Sabres hand Bruins first regulation defeat||01.31.13 at 9:32 pm ET|
Thomas Vanek scored a hat trick and Ryan Miller stopped 38 of 42 shots on the night as the Sabres handed the Bruins their first regulation loss of the season, 7-4, Thursday night at TD Garden. The Bruins were denied matching their best seven-game start in franchise history and fell to 5-1-1 on the season. Vanek now has 54 points in 46 career games against Boston.
The only significant action of the first period was a fight 2:53 into the game that had John Scott taking down Shawn Thornton in stunningly fast fashion with several rights to the face and head of the Bruins enforcer. Both men served their fighting majors and then Thornton headed immediately down the Boston tunnel to the dressing room and did not return. The Bruins did not reveal the nature of the injury before announcing early in the second period that he would not return.
After a scoreless first period, the two teams combined for six goals in the second, with the division rivals splitting the difference for a 3-3 score after 40 minutes. The Sabres took the first lead of the game when Vanek one-timed a shot past Tuukka Rask 1:38 into the second.
The Bruins then answered with a dominating 10-minute stretch. Rich Peverley scored his first on a Daniel Paille rebound from the edge of the right circle at 5:12 to tie the game. Brad Marchand then scored his fourth and fifth goals of the season just 3:11 apart, putting Boston up, 3-1 and capping a three-goal flurry in five minutes, 42 seconds.
But the game turned on two Bruins penalties called simultaneously as Milan Lucic was whistled for boarding and Zdeno Chara was called for holding, giving Buffalo a 5-on-3 power play for a full two minutes. The Bruins controlled the kill early but Vanek scored his second of the night and fifth of the season 60 seconds into the power play, making it 3-2. The Bruins killed off the final 60 seconds with Lucic still in the box. But the Sabres used the power play for valuable momentum, earning the equalizer when Tyler Ennis was left all alone on the right post in front of Rask. Vanek fed a perfect pass across the slot and Ennis didn’t miss. Read the rest of this entry »
Shawn Thornton will not return to Thursday’s game after suffering a beating at the hands of Sabres enforcer John Scott.
The 6-foot-8 Scott and 6-foot-2 Thornton squared off at the Sabres blue line just three minutes in the game. Before Thornton could get himself free to throw punches, Scott delivered no fewer than five rights to the head and neck area of the Bruins enforcer. Thornton and Scott went to the penalty box to serve their fighting majors.
The fight did not come as a surprise as the game was billed as a physical contest coming in, with several physical tussles expected between the Bruins and the Sabres, who were trying to make a point in the Northeast Division. Anticipating the fisticuffs, the Bruins scratched healthy players Aaron Johnson and Chris Bourque, activating Lane MacDermid.
Once the penalties expired, Thornton went immediately down the Bruins tunnel and into the dressing room and did not return. The Bruins announced at the start of the second period that he would not be returning but did not specify the nature of his injury.
The fight had no impact on the scoreboard as the two teams skated to a scoreless first period. The Bruins actually fell behind 1-0 early in the second before awakening with three goals in a span of 5:42, including back-to-back goals from Brad Marchand in a span 3:11.
For more, visit the Bruins team page at weei.com/bruins.
|Merlot Line a difference-maker in win over Islanders||01.25.13 at 11:49 pm ET|
Through four games, the Bruins have one point-per-game player and his name is Gregory Campbell.
The Bruins’ fourth-line center scored and had an assist in Friday’s 4-2 win over the Islanders at TD Garden on a night that saw the members of the Merlot Line produce a pair of goals (Shawn Thornton scored the Bruins’ first-goal of the game).
The line of Campbell, Thornton and Daniel Paille had its ups and downs last season, but their performance was massive in what was on the whole a relatively sloppy night for the B’s. There was the typical show of solidarity from Thornton, who came to Paille’s defense in the first period when Matt Martin wanted to drop the gloves following a clean hit in the corner, but the line also brought offense, defense and energy.
“Tonight they were the ones that were doing the right things,” Claude Julien said. “Both goals that they scored, they had somebody in front of the net, Thorty on the first one, and Soupy on the second goal, things that our others lines weren’t doing for two periods. Once we got ourselves going we were a lot better. They set the example I guess for the rest of the team for the third period.”
Said Campbell: “We’ve been playing together for the last two years, which is a rare thing in hockey,” he said. “We get along off the ice, which is good because it transfers on the ice. We accept our role and know our role. Sometimes it is not an easy job but we are willing to help the team. It’s a role that we take pride in.”
Campbell, who had 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) all of last season, has a goal and three-assists thus far in the shortened campaign.
“I mean, it is what it is,” Campbell said of leading the B’s in points. “I’m just trying to contribute. I felt like I worked hard in the lockout in the last four months and I feel good right now. As I said, I am just trying to contribute, whether it’s goals or assists, it doesn’t really matter. It’s just helping the team win.”
Zdeno Chara fired a wrist shot past Rick DiPietro with just under 13 minutes left in the third period to break a 2-2 tie, as the Bruins bounced back from their first loss of the season with a 4-2 win over the Islanders Friday night at TD Garden. Rookie sensation Dougie Hamilton added two assists and set up Boston’s fourth goal with a pretty outlet pass as the Garden crowd began to chant his name.
The Bruins overcame a two-goal night from Waltham and Chelmsford, Mass. native Keith Aucoin to improve to 3-0-1 in the young season. With seven points on the season, they also have gained a point in all four games.
Tuukka Rask has started all four games and stopped 24 of 26 shots on the night to record his third win.
The Bruins jumped on top just under five minutes into the game when Shawn Thornton collected a loose puck and put it past DiPietro. Hamilton set up the goal when he took a shot from the right point that deflected off the stick of Daniel Paille. DiPietro couldn’t control the shot and Thornton was in the right spot on the doorstep for his first goal of the season and Hamilton’s second NHL point.
The Islanders tied it six minutes later when the red-hot Aucoin took a pass from Colin McDonald from the side of the net and put it past Rask.
The first period featured a fight between Milan Lucic in which the Bruins leveled Matt Carkner with a right cross, getting the Friday night Garden crowd into the game.
The Islanders opened the second period on the power play. While they couldn’t score, they used the advantage to gain momentum of the game. That proved productive when Rask and the Bruins allowed a loose puck to bounce uncontrolled to the high slot. Aucoin was in the right spot at the right time again and blasted a slap shot past Rask at 9:50 of the period for an unassisted goal, his second of the game and third in two nights.
The Bruins used good fortune to gain the equalizer four minutes later when David Krejci threw a puck on net from the far boards. The puck glanced off the skate of Islanders defenseman Joe Finley and onto the stick of Gregory Campell, who put it past DiPietro to make it 2-2 after 40 minutes.
With just under 13 minutes left, the Bruins regained the lead when Lucic took a pass from Nathan Horton and fired a pass from the right circle to the tape of Chara. The Bruins captain snapped a wrist shot from the slot past DiPietro to give the Bruins the lead with 12:53 remaining. It was his first goal of the season and he pumped both hands in the air in relief after the goal. Read the rest of this entry »
|Shawn Thornton ‘pissed’ it took so long, but glad lockout’s over||01.06.13 at 10:22 pm ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton said Sunday night that he felt the lockout could have been resolved much sooner were it not for some of the league’s tactics. The Bruins’ enforcer was quick to point out that the terms of the new CBA are very similar to the players’ counter-offer to a take-it-or-leave-it proposal from the league in December, and that the league should have simply accepted it then.
“The settlement that we just made is almost identical to our counter-offer [in early December],” Thornton told WEEI.com. “It wasn’t us waiting. It was a lot of theatrics and a lot of blowing up and the NHL locking us out for another month to basically give us what we have now. I wouldn’t put that on the players.”
While Thornton is glad that hockey is back, he said he’s angry that the lockout lasted as long as it did. However, with the 113-day work stoppage in the rear-view mirror, he feels it’s important to take a more positive approach.
“I think the anger won’t help anything,” he said. “Was I pissed that it took that long? Yeah, of course I was. I mean, we missed half a season. That’s never fun. It was kind of pointless, but we are at this point either way, so let’s just focus on getting ready.”
Thornton also hinted that NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr had something along the lines of what to expect in mind, and that the final deal was very similar to that.
“I’m glad he was on our side, let’s put it that way,” Thornton said of Fehr. “He pretty much predicted how it was going to go the whole way, and it was pretty bang-on.”
Asked then if Fehr had given the players an idea of what the final CBA would look like, Thornton backed off a bit and said that Fehr simply did a good job of keeping players at ease despite the uncertainty of the situation.
“I guess his patience and the way he delivered information to us kind of settled the masses and kept us strong the whole way through, that’s for sure,” Thornton said.
Though he was cautiously optimistic throughout the process, Thornton said he never ruled out the possibility of the league going through with canceling the season.
“We said [the season wouldn’t be cancelled] in 2004 when we lost the whole season,” he recalled. “Everyone was talking about, ‘We can’t be the first league to cancel a season, we can’t be the first league to cancel a season, we’re not strong enough,’ and then it was gone. I wasn’t putting anything past them.”
|If NHLPA wanted a Bruin in the same room as Jeremy Jacobs this week, Shawn Thornton would have gone||12.07.12 at 3:39 pm ET|
When the owners and players set their “rosters,” so to speak, for the players/owners-only meetings this week in New York, the group of owners set to attend was a rather interesting one. Ron Burkle (Penguins), Mark Chipman (Jets), Jeff Vinik (Lightning) and Murray Edwards (Flames) — all of whom figured to have a stronger interest to get back on the ice than some of the hardliners — joined Jeremy Jacobs of the Bruins (perceived as a real hardliner’s hardline) and Larry Tanenbaum of the Maple Leafs.
Of the group of owners present, Jacobs was perceived as the toughest negotiator of the bunch, and one who’s been a bit of a target for frustrated fans and players alike. Also the chairman of the board of governors, Jacobs is viewed as a bottom-line guy, while the newcomers on the owners’ side likely encouraged players who wanted more amicable negotiations.
Shawn Thornton, who works for Jacobs, was not among the players present for the meetings, but it wasn’t because he would feel uncomfortable in the negotiating room with his boss.
Thornton said Thursday that he “definitely thought about going to New York” for the negotiations, but said previous engagements with the Boston Pops (Wednesday) and Kevin Youkilis‘ “Youk’s Kids” foundation (Thursday) prevented him from going.
However, Thornton said that if the NHLPA decided it would be best to have a Bruin in the room with Jacobs, he would do it.
“Yeah,” he said. “It’s a business, right? It’s a negation. I don’t think they take it personally, or they shouldn’t. I don’t think the players should either. If I got a text saying that it would have been important for me to be there, or for someone on our team to be there, I definitely would have made the effort and would maybe not be [working with the Pops and and attending the ‘Youk’s Kids’ event]. But I talked to them about it and they feel like we had some pretty good representation there. If Sidney [Crobsy]’s there, I don’t think they need me.”
Eighteen players ended up attending the meetings: Crosby, Craig Adams, David Backes, Michael Cammalleri, B.J. Crombeen, Mathieu Darche, Shane Doan, Ron Hainsey, Shawn Horcoff, Jamal Mayers, Manny Malhotra, Andy McDonald, Ryan Miller, George Parros, Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis, Jonathan Toews and Kevin Westgarth.
|Shawn Thornton ‘absolutely pissed,’ calls league’s offers ‘take, take, take’||11.20.12 at 3:16 pm ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton said Tuesday that while he is furious with the lack of progress made between the NHL and NHLPA in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement, he is trying to be not let his emotions get the best of him. Players such as Ian White of the Red Wings have been outspoken against commissioner Gary Bettman, with White calling the commissioner an “idiot.”
“I’m definitely frustrated,” Thornton told WEEI.com. “I want to be playing, there’s no doubt about that. [I’m] absolutely pissed off that it’s the middle of November, going into late November and we’re still doing this, but I don’t think me badmouthing anyone is going to speed the process up. I’m just trying to not be as emotional as I’d like to be because it just gets me all fired up. That doesn’t really do anything, except when I’m sparring with my boxing coach, and he doesn’t like it.”
Thornton, 35, has been unable to find work since the lockout began. There was some talk of him going to Belfast to play for the Giants (the team the B’s played in 2010 preseason exhibition in a city in which he has family ties), but financial issues arose, likely over who would foot the bill for the insurance policy that would be taken out. Thornton said he is still looking and that he would play in Europe if the opportunity presented itself.
“Nothing’s out there,” he said. “If something comes up I would be more than willing to go. I’d like to be playing by now, but unfortunately it’s the top guys that are getting those jobs.”
Thornton has attended meetings in Toronto, and more recently, in New York. He put his full support behind union head Donald Fehr while getting a shot in at the league’s most recent offer.
“I think he’s done a great job so far trying to navigate through this as best as possible because it hasn’t been easy on the other side,” he said. “I mean, in this last offer, there’s nothing that the players get out of it. It’s just all take, take, take.”