Thornton, Parros happy to renew friendship if called for

Thornton, Parros happy to renew friendship if called for
December 5, 2013, 2:15 pm
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MONTREAL – They’ve only tangled once in the NHL when George Parros nailed Marc Savard with a clean, big hit in a game the Anaheim Ducks played at TD Garden on Feb. 26, 2009, but Shawn Thornton remembers well the scrap with his good buddy and former teammate.

The 6-foot-5 Parros won the marathon hockey scrap between the two experienced combatants with a 47.2 percent approval rating from voters on, and a flurry of hard right handed punches.

But there were no hard feelings after the heavy blows, as Thornton recalled the two exchanging jokes and pleasantries in the bowels of TD Garden after the game was over. Just like there won’t be any ill hockey will following Thursday night’s tilt at the Bell Centre for first place in the Atlantic Division if the gloves need to be dropped between two of the NHL’s proud heavyweights.

It was once thought Parros might not even be a part of Thursday night’s game after the nasty incident going face down into the ice opening night during a fight with Toronto Maple Leafs enforcer Colton Orr. But Parros returned to the lineup to drop the gloves with Orr on Nov. 30, and is expected to be in the lineup vs. the team he was ostensibly signed to provide some protection against.

“We were in the hallway shooting the [breeze] after the game,” said Thornton, recalling the only time they’d fought each other four years ago. “It’s our job. We’ve been doing it a long time. I texted him after the fight [with Colton Orr, and subsequent fall on the ice] earlier this year. That was bad luck, obviously.

“We’ve fought a couple of times in the minors . . . once or twice. Some days we played on the same line [in Anaheim],” added Thornton, who is approaching his 100th fight in a Bruins uniform over his seven seasons in Boston. “Most days I played with [Dustin] Penner and [Todd] Marchand and [Parros] played with [Ryan] Getzlaf and [Corey] Perry for most of the year because it was their rookie years. [Randy Carlyle] liked to keep the young guys on the fourth line no matter how good they were.”

Given what’s at stake and Parros’ presence in the Habs lineup this season to add some heaviness to Montreal’s game, it’s fair to assume the two former Anaheim teammates may end up doing the dance at some point while both rivals look to make a strong first impression this season.

That would be perfectly fine with Parros and Thornton given their job descriptions, and the joy they take in getting that task done.