|Shawn Thornton on D&C: Blackhawks ‘had a lot of energy, a lot of fire’ in Game 4||06.21.13 at 9:55 am ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning, and he was pretty clear about what the Bruins need to do to rebound in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals in Chicago Saturday night: Slow the Blackhawks down.
The home team wasn’t able to do that in Game 4 Wednesday, and the Bruins paid for it in the form of a 6-5 overtime Blackhawks win. The back-and-forth contest was ill-suited for the Bruins’ skill set, Thornton said.
“They came to play. They had a lot of energy, a lot of fire,” Thornton said. “They changed their game a little bit ‘ they found a way to get a little bit more speed through the neutral zone, that’s kind of the way they’re built. We’re going to have to remedy that for the next game. We don’t want them entering the zone with as much speed as they had last game.
“We have to get back to playing in layers and playing our game and coming up as a unit. ‘¦ We’re a better team when we’re coming up together and making plays as a five-man unit. We’re not built for the one-on-one, beating guys, dangling, stuff like that. We’re more of a straight-line type of hockey team. We have to get back to that.”
Thornton echoed a sentiment similar to one coach Claude Julien has expressed on several occasions.
“We’re a defensive team that can score, not a scoring team that can play defense,” Thornton said. “That’s how we look at things.”
Thornton noted that although it wasn’t the Bruins type of game, they still scored five goals and were still very much in it until the very end. The team exposed an apparent weakness in Chicago goalie Corey Crawford‘s game ‘ shooting to his glove-side ‘ but Thornton insisted it wasn’t by design.
|Shawn Thornton on D&C: Jaromir Jagr has ‘bought in’ to Bruins system||06.19.13 at 9:35 am ET|
Despite the Bruins’ domination in their 2-0 victory in Game 3 on Monday night, Thornton said his team is not overconfident.
“It’s just one game,” he said. “We played pretty well last game. [But] we had some frustration, too. We took a few penalties and we had some emotions at the end, too. So, it could have went either way. We just were fortunate enough that Tuukka [Rask] stood on his head and got us that shutout. To say that we’re in control I think is a little bit of a stretch at this point in the series.”
The Blackhawks were never more inept than when on the power play, as the Bruins stopped all five opportunities (allowing just four shots) and had better scoring chances shorthanded.
“They have pretty dangerous players over there,” Thornton said. “Our PK has done a very good job so far. But when I was in [penalty box] last game for two minutes, I was sweating the whole time hoping that my penalty wasn’t the reason they scored.
“They were missing [Marian] Hossa, one of their best players, last game. I don’t know what happened to him. But he’s back tonight, as far as I know. I think it will be a little bit of a different game tonight.”
The Bruins have demonstrated a solid team approach, committing to coach Claude Julien‘s defense-oriented system. Asked who the most important Bruin is, Thornton said newcomer Jaromir Jagr deserves credit for adjusting his game to fit the B’s style.
“Everyone has to buy in for us to be successful,” Thornton said. “The most impressive is probably I’d say Jagr, being that he just got here. I don’t know a whole lot about where he was before this — other than what you read on paper, and everyone knows — but I’m pretty sure that he’s pretty used to doing his own thing out there, and it’s worked out pretty well for him the last 22 years. He comes in here and he’s backchecking and finishing checks and battling on pucks. That’s pretty impressive when you’ve been doing something one way for 21 years and now you’re told you’re going to do it this way if you want to have success, and he’s bought in.
“The other guys, top to bottom, the whole time I’ve been here, it starts with those big boys. Then the little guys like myself have to fall in line and follow the system or else you’re not around. So, I think all the way throughout it’s been pretty good.”
Patrice Bergeron has stepped into the national spotlight with his all-around play in this series, something Thornton noted is long overdue.
“I think he’s finally getting his due,” Thornton said. “We’ve appreciated him in that room for the last five, six years that I’ve been here. He’s so good defensively. And the players he plays with — this isn’t taking anything away from [Tyler Seguin] or [Brad Marchand] when they’re together, or Jags and Marchy now, but if you put another centerman in between them, I’m not sure if they’re as successful in their own zone. He does a lot of things to cover up — not cover up, but he’s in the position to let them maybe take advantage a little bit more offensively, because he’s so good at being in the right spot and making sure that he’s behind you 100 percent defensively.”
Added Thornton: “On the other side of the puck he doesn’t get enough credit, how good he is offensively. He’s finally starting to get some due because he’s scored some timely goals for us in the playoffs. But when we skate with him in the offseason and in training camp and on a daily basis, the things you see him do with the puck, and how strong he is on it and how quick he is, there’s not too many guys that can control it like him.”
|Claude Julien on Gregory Campbell: ‘He’s part of our family’||06.17.13 at 2:22 pm ET|
On Monday, part of the drama of the Bruins returning home to play Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final at TD Garden will be Campbell in attendance to watch his team play in person. He was unable to make it to Chicago for Games 1 and 2 because of surgery to repair the leg.
“It’s nice to see him,” coach Claude Julien said Monday. “There’s no doubt. Obviously he can’t play. We miss him. He’s a good player for us. But just to be around our team, it’s nice to have him back. He’s part of our family. That’s how we look at things in that dressing room. If he could have, he would have been in Chicago. It was too early after surgery. From here on in, he’s good to go, going to be with us the whole way.”
Campbell, who drew huge cheers during an appearance on the video board in Game 4 against the Penguins, was with the team Monday morning as they prepared for Game 3 Monday night.
Julien has juggled the lines often since the injury to Campbell in Game 3 of the Eastern finals against Pittsburgh. Shawn Thornton has watched his playing time decrease somewhat but in Julien’s eyes he still remains an integral part of the fourth line.
“Let’s not confuse something here,” Julien said. “He’s not in the lineup because of what he brings in the dressing room. We got a lot of guys that do that. He’s in our lineup even though his minutes go down because he deserves to be there. He’s great on the forecheck. He’s actually a lot smarter of a player than a lot of people give him credit for. He reads plays well, doesn’t get himself in trouble much, gets the puck out of our end.
“Certainly his presence makes our team better. We’ve seen that at times when we’ve had to pull him out. There’s no doubt our team is more comfortable with him in our lineup for all the right reasons.”
WIth Daniel Paille jumping up to join Tyler Seguin and Chris Kelly on the third line, the fourth line has been a work-in-progress. With the home team having the last change, Julien figures to have a distinct advantage in getting more time for Thornton and the fourth line.
“There’s no doubt it makes it a little bit easier,” Julien said. “Doesn’t mean it’s going to happen all the time, but it certainly is a lot easier. Joel’s a pretty good coach, smart coach. When he senses something, he’ll take advantage of it. I had to be extra careful in Chicago with that. But, again, tonight hopefully it’s a little easier. Nonetheless, we’re in the Final here, you got to do what you got to do. Sometimes you may play guys a little bit more, but they’re capable of handling the ice time. You’re right, that last change will hopefully give me a little bit of an easier change.”
|Bruins lines remain the same in anticipation of Game 3||at 10:53 am ET|
The Bruins sported the same lines in Monday’s morning skate as they did in the second half of Saturday’s Game 2 win against the Blackhawks.
The third line remains Chris Kelly between Daniel Paille and Tyler Seguin, while the team’s fourth line of Rich Peverley between Kaspars Daugavins and Shawn Thornton likely won’t be used much. Though the B’s are a team that rolled four lines throughout the regular season, expect more of a three-line rotation for the majority of this series.
Lucic – Krejci – Horton
Marchand – Bergeron – Jagr
Paille – Kelly – Seguin
Daugavins – Peverley – Thornton
Chara – Seidenberg
Ference – Boychuk
Krug – McQuaid
Thornton, who played just 4:56 in Saturday’s overtime win, was on D&C (with M) Monday and had a great quote about the lines.
“When I’m with Paille and Kells it’s the fourth line,” Thornton said. “When Segs is with them it’s the third line. I don’t understand how that works.”
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|Shawn Thornton on D&C: No excuse for Bruins’ slow start in Game 2, ‘can’t let it happen again’||at 9:50 am ET|
The Bruins were outshot 19-4 in the first period of Saturday night’s Game 2, but some inspiring words in the locker room got the B’s motivated and they responded with a 2-1 overtime win. Thornton wouldn’t reveal which players led the talk, but he said the feeling in the room was mutual.
“We knew we were not good enough,” he said. “But we also brought up the fact that even though we were terrible, that was probably as good as they were going to be be, and maybe as bad as we were going to be, that Tuukka [Rask] gave us a chance to only be down 1-0. If we could regroup, then we could get things going.”
Thornton said while the Bruins started slow, the Blackhawks deserve some credit for dominating the opening 20 minutes.
“I don’t have a reasoning for [the slow start]. All I can say is it wasn’t good enough, and we can’t let it happen again,” Thornton said. “Give them credit, though. They came out flying. They were ready from the drop of the puck. They really pushed the pace. We’re fortunate to have [Rask] in there backstopping. If it wasn’t for him, it would have been a lot different.”
Pressed as to why the Bruins came out so flat, Thornton said: “I have no idea. My only thought is maybe it took 20 minutes for guys to get their legs underneath them after the long game [Wednesday]. But I don’t want to sound like excuses, because there isn’t. I have no idea why everyone wasn’t ready to go right from the drop of the puck. There’s no excuse for it.”
Thornton said he expects a stronger start in Game 3.
“It better be,” he said. “We’re at home, we should be able to feed off our crowd and be ready to go for the drop of the puck. The good news is it’s an 8 o’clock game [the first two games started at 7 p.m. Chicago time]. Last time we didn’t show up ’til 8.”
|Shawn Thornton on D&C: Nathan Horton ‘big, tough, scary guy when he wants to be’||06.14.13 at 11:30 am ET|
Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning, checking in the day before Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals in Chicago. The Bruins forward stuck up for Torey Krug and was mum on the status of the injured Nathan Horton, saying he didn’t talk to the first-line winger Thursday.
‘I didn’t see him yesterday, so I don’t know the extent of it. I hope he’s in,’ Thornton said. ‘He’s such a good player for us. I’m sure if he’s in, he’s ready to go, so I’m not too worried about him. He’s a big, tough, scary guy when he wants to be. He can take care of himself.”
Although the Bruins officially call it an upper-body injury, Horton reportedly is suffering from a chronic shoulder injury, aggravated most recently during the B’s Game 1 loss. Nonetheless, Thornton wasn’t worried about the Blackhawks targeting the shoulder, should Horton be in the lineup.
‘It’s playoffs, so people are finishing their checks anyway,’ Thornton said.
When questioned on Krug’s momentum-changing, third-period turnover Wednesday, Thornton was careful not to speculate too much or make any lineup assumptions, admitting he doesn’t know what coach Claude Julien‘s thought process is when it comes to benching players.
Thornton did, however, give the defenseman a vote of confidence. Krug has been strong for much of the playoffs.
‘For the majority of the game last game, he was really good for us on the power play, he was really good for us getting up the ice and supporting the play. One mistake ‘¦ is not indicative of how he played,’ Thornton said. ‘Whoever is in or out of the lineup, it won’t be because of anything that happened ‘ I don’t think ‘ in the game previous. If an adjustment is made, it’s because he figures it gives us a better chance to match up in different situations on the other side and give us a better chance of winning.
‘I doubt anything’s going to happen, but I don’t know what’s going to happen.’
Thornton also hasn’t talked to Krug ‘ the players had Thursday off ‘ but anticipated the rookie being just fine mentally.
‘He’s a pretty special player, and a couple of breaks went the other way. It happens to the best of us,’ Thornton said. ‘It’s the same as the dynamic, thought process of the team: You can’t worry about what happened last game. Move on and get ready for Saturday.”
The hosts noted that the Bruins ‘ or Bruins fans ‘ don’t quite have a public enemy No. 1 for the finals as they did in series past. As far as Thornton is concerned, that’s OK. There are more important things going on.
‘When you don’t play all year, it’s tough to have that guy, that animosity with a non-rival,’ Thornton said. ‘I’m not sure if it’s necessary. We have to focus on winning games, not taking somebody’s head off. I hear what you’re saying ‘ sometimes it’s motivating when you dislike a certain individual, but this time of year you shouldn’t need an extra motivation.”
|Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘You never really expect to sweep a [Penguins] team with that much firepower’||06.10.13 at 10:13 am ET|
The Bruins open the Stanley Cup finals on Wednesday in Chicago against the Blackhawks, who led the league with 77 points in the abbreviated regular season.
Thornton spent five years in the Chicago organization and made his NHL debut with the Blackhawks in the 2002-03 season, so he has some familiarity with a few of the current Blackhawks.
“I think their back end is as mobile as anybody’s in the NHL,” Thornton said. “I think that they’re a puck-possession team. If you give them their opportunities, if you turn that puck over they get going the other way in a hurry. They have some really, really crafty forwards up front also with [Patrick] Kane and [Jonathan] Toews and [Marian] Hossa. You definitely have to be careful.
“They’re similar in that way with the Penguins. But it’s kind of tough to compare them; we haven’t played against them this year. I only know from playing with those guys years back. I don’t really watch a whole lot of hockey.”
The Bruins are coming off a surprising four-game sweep of the top-seeded Penguins in the Eastern Conference finals. The B’s shut down Pittsburgh’s heralded offensive stars and limited the Penguins to two goals in four games.
“I honestly did not think we’d be able to shut those guys down for a whole series. Sweep was a little surprising, too,” Thornton said. “I liked the feeling in our room after we were up 2-0. I liked the feeling in our room after we were up 3-0 and going into Game 4. But you never really expect to sweep a team with that much firepower.”
Added Thornton: “Our D did an unbelievable job. The forwards helped out, but you’ve got to give the D and Tuukka [Rask] a lot of credit. And our penalty-killers. A lot of blocked shots. A lot of being in the right position. A lot of layers. A lot of hard work defensively. Definitely not easy. They had their chances, too. They hit a few posts and stuff like that. But I think for the most part we did as good a job as can be done against those guys.”