|Bruins review: Good week for Reilly Smith, Shawn Thornton’s hands||10.20.13 at 6:00 am ET|
Reviewing the week that was in Bruins land.
Welcome to a new thing we’re going to do here each Sunday on the Big Bad Blog. As the name and italicized words suggest, it will take a look back at the week for the Bruins, who’s playing well, who isn’t and what’s going on in Providence.
The Bruins won two of three this week and stand third in the Atlantic Division with 10 points, two behind the Red Wings and Maple Leafs. Both Detroit and Toronto have played nine games to Boston’s seven, however.
Red Wings beat Bruins, 3-2, on 10/14 (recap)
Bruins beat Panthers, 3-2, on 10/17 (recap)
Tim Thomas told his side of the story, putting some blame on the Bruins
David Krejci said that nobody knew what was going on with Thomas two years ago
We tried to make sense of all that
Tuukka Rask shut out the Lightning on 10/19 (recap)
Carl Soderberg returned to the lineup
IT WAS A GOOD WEEK FOR…
Reilly Smith: Though he wasn’t even a sidebar when the Bruins swing their trade with the Stars, Smith was a player Peter Chiarelli specifically wanted, and the 22-year-old has shown why. Smith has gone from competing for a third-line job to playing on the second-line and power play. His first goal as a Bruin was the game-winner Thursday against Thomas, and he had the primary assist on the team’s third goal Saturday with a nice pass to Patrice Bergeron. Only issue thus far: He passes too much.
Carl Soderberg: Soderberg made his season debut Saturday and looked good. He skated well and showed what could be top-six skill. The question is whether Jordan Caron will sit for long.
Shawn Thornton’s hands: After fighting in three of the first four games of the season, Thornton kept his gloves on this week. He nearly scored in Thursday’s win over the Panthers off a nice pass from Paille in front, but was stopped by Thomas.
Daniel Paille: The Merlot Line got its first goal of the season Thursday thanks to Paille. Thornton got the second on Saturday.
The Bruins’ penalty kill: The Bruins were a perfect 5-for-5 on the PK for the week.
IT WAS A BAD WEEK FOR…
Brad Marchand: A potential 30-goal-scorer, Marchand spent the entire week on the third line as he tries to get out of his season-opening funk. He was particularly bad Thursday against the Panthers, turning lots of pucks over in what’s been an ugly trend this season. Perhaps Soderberg’s presence on the third line will help him, as the line produced a goal Saturday.
Zdeno Chara: Two 5-on-5 goals were scored this week that could have been prevented by Chara. Pavel Datsyuk went around him to set up Henrik Zetterberg‘s goal Monday, while Chara couldn’t get the puck out in front prior to Jesse Winchester‘s goal.
Jarome Iginla’s goal total: Notice the phrasing there, as plain old “Jarome Iginla” wouldn’t be accurate. Iginla was good in all zones Saturday and provided the screen in front on Adam McQuaid’s second-period goal, but seven games without is a goal is something few saw coming from the future Hall-of-Famer.
MEANWHILE, IN PROVIDENCE’¦
The P-Bruins lost both of their games this week. Malcolm Subban allowed four goals in a 5-2 loss to Springfield Friday night, while Niklas Svedberg gave up four of his own on Saturday in a 5-4 loss to Manchester. Matt Fraser had a goal in each game, while the rest of the scoring came from Craig Cunningham, Seth Griffith, Justin Florek and Kevan Miller.
Fraser, who scored more goals in the AHL than anybody over the past two seasons, is tied with Nick Johnson for the team lead with three goals through six games this season. Ryan Spooner has two goals and three assists for five points but has a minus-2 rating.
|Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘Guys are built not to take a night off’||10.09.13 at 10:21 am ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning and discussed the heartbreak of last season’s Stanley Cup finals, the optimism he has for this year and his relationship with Red Sox players.
Boston began the regular season 2-0 with a pair of victories at home last week. The Bruins beat the Lightning 3-1 last Thursday, then the Red Wings 4-1 last Saturday.
‘It’s only been two games, but you can tell the personalities in the room, that guys are built not to take a night off,’ Thornton said. ‘We might not be at our best every night, but I think that guys get in there wanting to show up and play every night. That might sound like it’s easy to do and you should do it, but not everyone’s built like that. But I think that the guys we brought in, and the guys who were already here, and the guys we kept are definitely built that way.’
Looking back at last season’s Cup finals, the Bruins blew a 2-1 lead with just over a minute remaining in the third period of Game 6 vs. the Blackhawks on June 24, a loss that still stings for Thornton.
‘No, it’ll never be over,’ Thornton said when asked when the hangover from the postseason ends. ‘I’ll be thinking about it for years to come, but it’s more of a motivator than a hangover, you get that close and it stings.’
Less than three months removed from its gut-wrenching loss to Chicago, Boston made significant changes to its lineup. Forwards Tyler Seguin and Nathan Horton are gone, replaced by former Penguin Jerome Iginla and former Star Loui Eriksson, while youngsters Reilly Smith — acquired via trade from Dallas along with Erikkson this offseason — and Jordan Caron have taken on elevated roles.
‘We’ve got a group of guys that have been around for seven or eight years, and we know how important that is to make people feel welcome. So, coming into our room, you’d probably have to ask them, but I’d like to think that it’s a fairly easy transition, you come in with open arms,’ said Thornton.
The NHL implemented a new rule regarding fighting this season. Any player who removes his helmet before the start of a fight will receive a two-minute penalty in addition to the five-minute penalty for fighting.
‘I’m not a fan, I’m really not,’ said Thornton, Boston’s enforcer. ‘Obviously I’m a little biased, but it’s seven minutes for fighting now if a guy has a visor because everyone’s going to take their helmet off. And I think when you take the helmet off you take away from the player safety that everyone’s preaching, so I think it’s counterproductive.’
The Red Sox beat the Rays on Tuesday night and moved on to the ALCS where they’ll face either the Tigers or Athletics.
‘We’re big supporters of the Sox, pretty much any local sports team I guess,’ Thornton said. ‘You get to meet a lot of those guys when you’re out and about in town so there’s a lot of crossover, they support us, we support them. I’ve been here for seven years, kind of turned me from a Jays fan to a Sox fans, I’m not going to lie.’
|Shawn Thornton wants to play ‘another year or two at least’ with Bruins after this season||08.28.13 at 2:19 pm ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton, who is entering the last year of a two-year, $2.2 million deal, said Wednesday that he does not plan on retiring after the season and would like to play “another year or two at least” with the Bruins.
This comes as little surprise, as Thornton said earlier this month at his annual Putts & Punches for Parkinson’s tournament that he wants another contract. Thornton noted Wednesday that prior to signing with the Bruins before the 2007-08 season, he had played on one-year deals and wouldn’t have a problem going back to them at this contract’s expiration.
“I’ve got this year. I’m going to worry this year,” Thornton told WEEI.com. “Hopefully it works out and obviously I’d like to play another year or two at least, and preferably with the Bruins, but that stuff’s kind of out of my hands.”
Thornton, 36, spent time in the Toronto, Chicago and Anaheim organizations before settling in with the Bruins, where he has become a regular at the NHL level. His best season came in 2010-11, when he had 10 goals and 10 assists for 20 points, all of which were career highs. He has led the Bruins in penalty minutes in each of the last four seasons.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Shawn Thornton on M&M: Loss to Blackhawks ‘will sting for the rest of my life’||08.27.13 at 2:12 pm ET|
Bruins winger Shawn Thornton joined Mut & Merloni on Monday afternoon as part of the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon.
Thornton and his teammates soon will return to the ice and look to start another run to the Stanley Cup finals after losing to the Blackhawks in six games. This is the second short offseason for the Bruins in three years, following their Stanley Cup title in 2011.
“It’s different because we won last time. You get a little leeway when you win,” Thornton said. “I think back then we had 12 or 13 weeks. But we won, so let’s get ready. But when you lose, that taste is in your mouth and it’s like you’re rattled all summer and you want to prove a point. Everybody wants to be ready for Day 1.
“I think it’s tough, personally, mentally, to tell yourself that you played just as many games, just as long as the team that beat you, because it leaves such a sour taste in your mouth.”
Asked if would every be able to watch a replay of the heartbreaking, last-minute loss in Game 6, Thornton said, “No. Never. That one will sting for the rest of my life. I hope I win another one. And if I do, then I’ll be like, ‘Wow, I’ve got three rings; I should have had four.’ That’s how I look at it. I hate losing. That one stung.”
The Bruins had some turnover this offseason — including sending Tyler Seguin to the Stars for Louis Eriksson — but kept the core of their squad intact.
“The last four or five years we’ve had teams that can compete every year. I think management has done a really good job of keeping the nucleus together and bringing in pieces here and there to try and fit in the needs,” Thornton said. “Louis Eriksson supposedly — I haven’t played against him a ton because he’s on the West — but supposedly they say he’s one of the more underrated guys in the NHL, being in Dallas, not getting a lot of big-market notoriety. I’m excited to see this guy play.”
Thornton makes regular visits to patients at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute throughout the year to offer an emotional boost.
“It’s a feel-good moment,” he said. “We go over there for an hour, it’s an hour or two of our time. To see these kids and what they’re fighting through, their attitudes and how happy they are and they’re talking about how lucky they are and things are going well and all this stuff. Sometimes we complain because our [steak] strip on the private flight is medium-well. It puts a lot of things into perspective.
“Speaking for myself, I really enjoy it. But I know a lot of my teammates try and get over there as much as possible, too, because we really like it.”
For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.
|Shawn Thornton expects Gregory Campbell to be ready for training camp||08.12.13 at 8:06 pm ET|
MIDDLETON – Shawn Thornton held his fourth annual Putts & Punches for Parkinson’s tournament Monday, gathering teammates and celebrities to raise money in an effort to fight the disease that took his grandmother’s life after a 14-year battle.
Tuukka Rask and Daniel Paille joined Thornton at Ferncroft Country Club, but Thornton had some encouraging news about another Bruins teammate when he shared that Gregory Campbell looked to be his usual self when he visited Thornton two weeks ago.
Campbell famously broke his leg blocking an Evgeni Malkin shot in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, finishing his shift in what would be his last game of the season. Thornton said Monday that his linemate is cast-free, working out and has a good shot to be ready for training camp when it opens next month.
“He’s up walking around, he says he’s been working out and he looks good,” Thornton said. “I’m hoping he’s ready to go for the start of the camp.”
|Shawn Thornton on D&C: Bruins have to ‘win one game twice’||06.24.13 at 10:15 am ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to talk about the Bruins’ mindset entering a Game 6 elimination game.
With potentially one game left in the season, Thornton said the Bruins are going to need a sense of urgency in order to keep the Blackhawks from raising the Stanley Cup in Boston.
‘It is human nature,’ Thornton said. ‘The survival instinct kind of kicks in. Whether you notice it or not while you are out there, I think you give a little bit more. That’s why they always say the last game is the toughest game to get. Let’s hope that is the case again tonight for us.’
The Bruins were in this situation in 2011, as they topped the Canucks, 5-2, in Boston before winning Game 7 on the road, 4-0. While Thornton said the B’s have confidence that they can stave off elimination thanks to that prior experience, that doesn’t help them win unless the sense of urgency shows itself.
‘We know that we have done it before, so the experience helps give you that knowledge that it can be done,’ Thornton said. ‘But at the end of the day, what we did before doesn’t really matter if we don’t bring it on the ice. We’ve got to go play a hockey game, like you said.
‘We kind of approach it as you’ve got to win one game twice. So, tonight, just focus on winning tonight and once you get to a Game 7, if you get to a Game 7, it is a whole different ballgame. So we are focused on just winning tonight. Win one game.’
With the series on the line, Thornton said he expects Claude Julien‘s pregame speech to be more of a motivational one. At the same time, Thornton said that extra motivation already will be there for the Bruins.
‘I’m sure tonight it will be a little bit more than just the X’s and O’s,’ Thornton said. ‘I don’t know yet. I don’t know if it will be a [Vince Lombardi] speech, but I think there will be a little bit of chatter. You shouldn’t have to do that at this stage of the playoffs, either, though. If you can’t motivate yourself to get up for a Game 6 elimination game in the Stanley Cup finals, I think you’re in the wrong business.’
|Bruins, maybe lying, say the whole glove-side thing is a coincidence||06.21.13 at 8:56 pm ET|
CHICAGO — By now, the Bruins’ tendency to shoot (and score) on Corey Crawford‘s glove side is well known. Everyone knows it, and nobody can downplay it.
Crawford joked to the media Friday that his stick side was questioned against the Kings, so “both side are bad,” but there should be no joking about this. The Bruins have scored 12 goals this series and all but two have been shot glove side. One of the two that were stick-side was a rebound that was just jammed at the net with no spot picked, so basically when the Bruins are aiming, it’s for that glove. At least some of them.
“You’re asking the wrong guy,” Shawn Thornton said. “I’m just shooting the puck to shoot the puck most times. Maybe goal-scorers look up and see something different. I’m sure they do, actually. That’s why they get 50 a year and I get four.”
The Bruins are clearly trying to downplay the tendency, but they have to know that Crawford knows by now. Just like they have access to video, so too does anyone with YouTube. Then again, it’s not like you’d expect the Bruins to confirm that they know the opposing goaltender’s weakness.
“I think it might be a bit of a coincidence,” Thornton said. “‘¦ I know we’re not skating down the ice thinking, ‘Oh my God, if we don’t go glove-side we’re not going to score.’ It’s nothing like that. It’s just a bit of a coincidence. We’re trying to get pucks on net and create traffic and wherever that rebound pops out, for sure you’re trying to put it in. If it pops out stick side, I’m sure you’re not trying to do a spin-o-rama just to get it on his glove side. I’m sure it’s going to be whatever’s available.”
That’s true and it isn’t. Patrice Bergeron‘s power-play goal in Game 4 came from the puck bouncing off the glass and back in front of the net. Rather than just trying to jam it in, Bergeron fired a shot high glove side. It’s simply where they’re aiming.
“I don’t think it was done purposely on our end of it,” Claude Julien said of the Bruins’ five goals on Crawford’s glove side in Game 4. “We happened to shoot there because that’s where the opening was at that time. But I think you can score on other areas, hopefully, on Corey Crawford than just the glove. It’s one of those games where a lot of them went on that side.
“At the end of the day, you’re looking for ways to score goals, and whether it’s cross toss or tips or screens or whatever, it doesn’t really matter.”
For a closer look at the Bruins’ goals and the tendencies of their scoring this series, click here.
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