|Gameday notes: Shawn Thornton returns, Bruins hope they’ve learned their lesson from Rangers game||04.06.11 at 12:53 pm ET|
The Bruins’ morning skate was of the optional variety, so though Tim Thomas was the first goaltender off the ice, don’t be surprised to see either guy in net against the Islanders Wednesday. One would think Thomas figures to get the start in two of the Bruins’ three remaining games.
As for Shawn Thornton‘s return to the lineup, it will be interesting to see who ends up watching the game from the press box. Daniel Paille has made a real strong case to stay in the lineup, while Tyler Seguin and Michael Ryder have not of late. Claude Julien noted that the team has “a couple” of decisions to make for Wednesday’s lineup, so how exactly it shakes out remains to be seen.
Here are some other notes from Wednesday:
– Julien said that the team has stopped talking about Monday’s ugly loss to the Rangers. The B’s blew a 3-0 lead, falling by a 5-3 score in a game that Julien hopes taught the team a lesson.
“When you blow a three nothing lead, especially after playing so well in the first half of the game, there’s a pretty good message there sent to your hockey club,” Julien said. “You hope that it’s utilized as a learning tool. There’s a lot of things that could have ended up a lot better had we respected the game plan and for the whole 60. I think we would have won that game. But something that sometimes you need to live through in order to get better. And those are lessons through the course of a season that teams go through and we’re no different.”
– The Islanders are 1-4-0 over their last five games, and that’s good news for a Bruins team that might be better off trying to win these final games after all. The Flyers lost on Tuesday night, so a win Tuesday would put the B’s within two points of second place with two games remaining for each team. It’s a bit of a pick-your-poison situation for the Bruins, as third place would currently match them up with the Canadiens, while second place would give them the Sabres.
Julien noted that given the team’s place in the standings, he might not focus so much on giving certain guys rest, stating that if you “look around the league, not too many players that have been given nights off” and that “depending on what’s going on in the standings and everything else, we can adjust accordingly.”
– Julien had an interesting answer when asked how he feels about his team heading into the playoffs, even pointing out the struggles of the Flyers.
“Everybody body looks for perfection and every little thing that doesn’t go well is going to be scrutinized and criticized. But you look around the league, I mean Vancouver has lost two games now to Edmonton, is there a panic there? Philadelphia is having a tough time,” he said. “I think once the playoffs start, the good teams are going to be ready to go, and we plan on being one of those.”
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton is expected to make his return to the lineup Wednesday when the B’s take on the Islanders at TD Garden. Thornton missed three straight games after suffering a gash above his right eye last Tuesday against the Blackhawks and receiving approximately 40 stitches. He had his stitches removed Tuesday and skated in the team’s optional morning skate on Wednesday.
“Thornton is probably going to end up coming into our lineup,” coach Claude Julien said Wednesday morning. “I think he’s ready to go. He’s had the stitches out, so we’ll make a couple other decisions just before the game.”
The B’s enforcer will be wearing the helmet he began wearing following the injury. Originally with a visor, Thornton had the shield removed but will still wear the new helmet because its padding is cut down, allowing more room around the scar. He did not want to cut into his regular helmet, an old CCM that he noted is “really hard to find,” out of fear of having trouble replacing the padding once the scar was better.
Prior to Thornton’s injury, he had not missed a single game all season, playing in the team’s first 76 games. He has a career-high nine goals and eight assists for a career-high 18 points on the season.
|Optional morning skate for Bruins||at 10:42 am ET|
The B’s held an optional skate prior to Wednesday’s game against the Islanders. Ten B’s skated, while the rest got loose by playing some hallway soccer. The following players took the ice:
More to come once they open up the dressing room.
|Shawn Thornton hopes to return to Bruins lineup vs. Islanders||04.05.11 at 2:08 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — After missing last the last three games due to stitches above his right eye, Bruins forward Shawn Thornton said he hopes to return to the lineup Wednesday night against the Islanders. The stitches, of which there were approximately 40, will be removed before the game, and Thornton said he just needs medical clearance and the OK from Claude Julien.
“I think so, but I’m not 100 percent [sure],” Thornton said Tuesday of the possibility of him returning.
“We’ll figure it out tomorrow,” Julien said. “He’s day-to-day and that hasn’t changed. We’ll see tomorrow and make a decision on him, whether he’s capable of jumping in our lineup or not.”
|Bruins return to practice||at 12:15 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Trying to shake off the stink of an ugly 5-3 loss to the Rangers in which they led, 3-0, the Bruins took to Ristuccia Arena for a noon skate Tuesday.
Michael Ryder was donning a grey jersey, making the third line the one with the extra man. Looks like Daniel Paille might stick in the lineup, potentially at the expense of Tyler Seguin once Shawn Thornton, who skated without a visor, returns.
|Shawn Thornton ‘doubtful’ vs. Rangers||04.04.11 at 2:41 pm ET|
Claude Julien told reporters prior to Monday’s game in New York that Shawn Thornton (stitches) would be able to go if it were the playoffs. Since it isn’t the playoffs, the B’s are being careful with Thornton and likely going without the forward vs. the Rangers.
“Doubtful,” Julien said Tuesday. “He’s skating this morning but he still has the visor. I don’t think we’re 100 percent comfortable right now medically. As long as they’re not comfortable, I guess we have that luxury of being a little more cautious.”
Thornton was cut above the eye last week by a skate against the Blackhawks. He received approximately 40 stitches, some of which were on the inside and could potentially break from much contact.
“I think if we’re in the playoffs today and he had to play, there’s no doubt he’d be in there,” Julien said, adding that the medical staff feels it’s “a lot safer if we take the cautious route.”
Thornton has appeared in 76 games this season, totaling nine goals and nine assists for a career-high 18 points.
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton has had a career year this season, setting career highs with nine goals and 18 assists in a campaign that seems to argue with him strictly being called an enforcer. Now, those efforts — and how far he’s come — have been recognized, at least locally. The Boston chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association has chosen Thornton as the Bruins’ candidate for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.”
In the past, the award has gone to players coming off injuries (Steve Sullivan, 2008-09) or facing major adversity (Jose Thoeodore won it last season for his performance after his son’s death, while Phil Kessel and Jason Blake won it in the past for playing through cancer). Thornton didn’t have to deal with such life obstacles, but his career has been far from smooth sailing.
Drafted in the seventh round back in 1997, Thornton never made it to NHL in five seasons with the Maple Leafs, and after stops in Chicago and Anaheim, he came to Boston in 2007 having never played 50 games in a season. Since coming to the Bruins, he has played at least 70 games in three of his four campaigns. Furthermore, his offensive production has increased without his fighting suffering. Though nine goals won’t get him confused with Steven Stamkos, his work ethic is something all his teammates aim to replicate.