|Shawn Thornton facing suspension after Brooks Orpik leaves on stretcher||12.07.13 at 7:56 pm ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton received a match penalty and thus automatic ejection and suspension for a predatory play that forced Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik from Saturday night’s game on a stretcher.
After Orpik crushed Bruins forward Loui Eriksson with a hit that knocked Eriksson out for the game, Thornton tried to fight Orpik minutes later, but when Orpik declined Thornton was sent off for roughing. Later in the period, after Brad Marchand had taken a knee to the head from James Neal, Thornton skated over to a scrum, grabbed Orpik from behind, threw him to the ice and punched him in the head twice.
Orpik remained down on the ice for several minutes before being taken off the ice on a stretcher. The Penguins issued an update following the second period saying that Orpik was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital and was both alert and conscious.
Thornton has never been suspended before, but he is likely to receive a sizable suspension, while Neal is also in line for supplemental discipline. Orpik could also hear from the league for his hit on Eriksson.
Recently, Thornton spoke specifically in an ESPN interview about “the code” that players must adhere to and the pride he takes in it. He even pointed out the scenario of sucker-punching players that are down.
“I take a lot of pride in that. I do,” Thornton said. “People could probably criticize that I’m a little too honorable, I suppose, in some instances. I’ve been a firm believer my whole life that what goes around comes around. If you’re one of those guys that suckers someone when they’re down or you go after somebody that doesn’t deserve it or isn’t the same category as you, that will come back and bite you at some point, too. I also take a lot of pride in the fact that I can play 8-12 minutes a night. I’ve had to work extremely hard on that part of my game to bring more to the table than just fighting. That’s part of my game, but I can do a lot more.”
“We’re all guilty of that stuff. We’re suspending guys for illegal hits and then we’re punishing guys for good, clean hits,” Julien said. “So where does a guy have the opportunity to go out and play a physical game if there’s a good hit, he knows he’s going to be punished. So I guess there’s that fine line there that becomes important to look at. You want to stick up for your teammate, but at the same time we don’t want to take the good physicality out of the game. And every team is guilty of that; including us.
“We’ve made a reputation of that by saying we’re going to stick together; and that’s great. So you’re treading a fine line there when it comes to that. … If we want to clean up the game, we want to be honest with both sides when it happens to us or against us, let’s call a spade a spade.”
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘I think everybody wants [fighting] in the game’||12.04.13 at 9:49 am ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday for his weekly discussion, as the B’s prepare for a Thursday night game in Montreal against the Canadiens.
Thornton said players who join the Bruins should know how heated this rivalry can be before stepping onto the ice.
“You are expected to, but it probably took a game or three for me to actually really understand it,” he said. “Now I fully embrace it.”
Added Thornton: “You just get an appreciation for the deep-rooted history of hatred for each other. Being in that building and then coming into our building, there’s an energy level that you don’t really know about until you’re involved in it. I’m excited for our new guys to actually get a taste of it here.”
Despite the nastiness that sometimes has surrounded the rivalry, Thornton said he feels comfortable mingling with the locals while in the city.
“They’re very knowledgeable fans up there. They’re very passionate, obviously,” he said. “For the most part, they’re hockey fans. Even if they don’t like us, there might be some chirping and stuff, but no [more than that].”
There has been a movement to curtail fighting in hockey, but Thornton said he does not believe it will be banned from the game while he is playing.
“I think they want it in the game. I think everybody wants it in the game,” Thornton said. “But they’re kind of at a stage now with all the [concussion] stuff going on that the league’s been put in a position that they have to cover their own [butts] about it. I think that’s the biggest reason that you feel this sort of push towards I guess it being phased out a little. But I think it’s more about covering their own [butts] than anything else.”
|Shawn Thornton on D&C: Tuukka Rask ‘unbelievable’ vs. Rangers||11.20.13 at 11:44 am ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to discuss the team’s recent hot streak.
That streak includes a 2-1 win over the Rangers on the road Tuesday night. Thornton tallied the game’s first goal, his third of the season. He also scored against the Blue Jackets last Thursday. Despite the offensive outburst, he still recognizes his role as the team enforcer.
‘That’s still my job, first and foremost,’ Thornton said. ‘[I’ve been] a little lucky the last few games, but I’ve still got my real job.’
Linemate Daniel Paille scored a shorthanded, game-winning goal in the second period.
‘After Paille scored that goal, it kind of gave us a little bit of a lift, and you tend to get pumped up when you see the grinders pop one shorthanded,’ Thornton said.
In the last five games, the fourth line — Thornton, Paille and Gregory Campbell — has a combined four goals, three assists and 19 shots.
‘I always joke with the media that it doesn’t matter who’s on my line, we’re always the fourth line,’ Thornton said. ‘I remember a few years ago, when [Blake] Wheeler was here, I got bumped up to play with [David] Krejci and Wheeler, but everyone just talked about how Wheeler and Krejci got demoted to the fourth line. It doesn’t matter who it is, if I’m on it, it’s still the fourth line.’
While Thornton and Paille provided the offensive fireworks in Tuesday’s victory, goalie Tuukka Rask shut down the Rangers. He allowed just one goal, and recorded 43 saves.
‘Every time we play against those guys he’s unbelievable,’ Thornton said. ‘I think he just really enjoys the challenge of facing Henrik Lundqvist. He earned it last night, he was unbelievable.’
Despite Thornton’s solid play of late, coach Claude Julien opted to make him a healthy scratch for the Bruins’ 4-1 win over the Hurricanes on Monday.
‘I don’t like sitting out, obviously, no one likes being the guy that’s the odd man out,’ Thornton said. ‘He told me that it wasn’t because of my play, that I’ve been playing pretty well, it’s just [Jordan] Caron was coming up on sitting out 10 games straight, I think, and he wanted to get him in. And Carolina didn’t really have an enforcer threat, so it was as good a time as any to try to get him back in the game.’
|Shawn Thornton a healthy scratch vs. Hurricanes||11.18.13 at 7:08 pm ET|
Shawn Thornton was a healthy scratch for Monday night’s game against the Hurricanes, allowing Jordan Caron to get into the lineup for the first time in nine games.
Thornton was a healthy scratch once last season (March 2 against the Lightning), but had yet to sit this season. The fourth line of Gregory Campbell between Daniel Paille and Thornton had been intact for the first 19 games of the season.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘We’re working our [butts] off, but we’re not working that smart’||11.06.13 at 10:29 am ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday to discuss the team’s shootout loss to the Stars on Tuesday, and their recent slump.
Dallas knocked off Boston, 3-2, at TD Garden thanks to the shootout heroics of a pair of former Bruins, Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley. Seguin scored the first shootout goal, and Peverley ensured the victory with the second, as the pair played Boston for the first time since being traded from the Bruins this summer.
‘Losing sucks, period, right now, but we didn’t put too much stock into the fact that [Peverley] and [Seguin] were on the other sideline, it was just the Dallas Stars,’ Thornton said.
Seguin and Peverley were shipped to the Stars in exchange for Loui Eriksson and three Dallas prospects on July 4. Seguin has thrived in the new environment, scoring six goals and assisting on nine in the Stars’ first 15 games, while Peverley has chipped in with two goals and five assists.
‘[Seguin] played pretty hard last night. He’s at center, so when he was on the wing with us he had to win a lot of those war battles in our zone, and I think he’d probably say the same thing, I think he’s more suited to use his speed in their system up the middle,’ Thornton said.
The crucial play in Tuesday’s game came with Boston leading 2-1 with less than three minutes remaining in the game. Stars forward Vernon Fiddler streaked unabated to the goal on a breakaway, and Bruins defender Dennis Seidenberg opted to hook Fiddler and bring him to the ground. The violation lead to a penalty shot, which Fiddler buried to tie the score at two and send the game into overtime.
‘I know [Seidenberg] was coming on the ice and tried his best to get there and do what he could to negate a goal and unfortunately there was a penalty shot called,’ Thornton said. ‘But that’s just one play that ended up in a goal, the whole game doesn’t come down to that. ‘¦ I think there’s a lot of stuff that went wrong during that game that we’re going to have to work on.’
The Bruins entered Tuesday’s bout with Dallas desperate for a win after losing three of their last four games. The overtime loss dropped them to a tie for four place in the Atlantic Division with Montreal.
‘Sometimes it’s not the effort maybe, but the way we’re working, too,’ Thornton said. ‘I can speak for our line I guess that we’re working our [butts] off, but we’re not working that smart, we’re not reading off of each other properly. It’s almost like you get frustrated and you want to do too much, and that’s counterproductive sometimes.’
|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.’