Morning Skate 47: What a week for Thornton

Morning Skate 47: What a week for Thornton

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON A quick stick salute to Shawn Thornton for showing the way things should be done in returning from a gruesome 40-stitch gash to score a goal on Wednesday night against the Islanders.

The energy pent up by Thornton after sitting out three games was palpable on the ice against the Isles, and thats just for starters.Not only that, but he organized the Cuts for a Cause event this afternoon at Ned Devines along with 98.5 the Sports Hubs Toucher and Rich that will raise money in exchange for shaving the heads of 16 members of the Boston Bruins and he was nominated for the Masterton Trophy given to an NHL player from each team that shows perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to the game of hockey.In the interest of full disclosure, this humble hockey writer will also be getting his head shaved after Toucher and Richs update maestro Jon Wallach bid 400 for my head to be shaved along with the players a donation that will be made to the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center.In one hectic week leading up to a pivotal playoff run for the Bruins franchise, Thornton showed exactly why hes become such popular and an integral part of the Black and Gold franchise in every way imaginable. The enforcer played for the Blackhawks and Ducks prior to arriving in Boston, but hes become a true Bruins in every sense of the word while also becoming a full-time Bostonian over the last four years.It would seem that Thornton has been a lifelong resident of Boston given the way hes become entrenched in the community and tough guy gestalt surrounding the Bruins franchise, and thats the ultimate compliment thrown to somebody thats a city of Boston transplant from Oshawa, Ontario.The Bs tough guy received the 2010 John Bucyk Award for his community contributions. Last summer, Thornton organized the first annual Putts and Punches for Parkinson's golf tournament to raise money for the American Parkinson Disease Association a tournament he plans on continuing each and every summer going forward. The winner of the Masterton Trophy is selected by a vote of the 30 chapters of the PHWA at the conclusion of the regular season. The winner will be announced at the NHL Awards, which will be held on Wednesday, June 22 in Las Vegas. His show of guts and philanthropy and modesty when asked about the Masterton nomination he seemed genuinely humbled by are exactly what Thorntonhas beenall about since he arrived in Boston. Theres not only the off-ice stuff, but also the 10 goals and 19 points produced by the Bs pugilist thats spent an entire career proving hes worth a lot more than simply throwing punches and inspiring fear. Thornton is an old-fashioned hockey player that can do everything well, and he knows just how far hes come.Nobody in this room has ever thought that. My teammates have been unbelievably supportive and I know the last four years people around here have been very supportive of me as a hockey player especially the coaching staff, said Thornton. I only had one goal last year, but the confidence was always there. This year pucks have just gone in.I dont know if my game has changed that much, but I appreciate my linemates. Theyve made my job a lot easier, and its I guess a lot more to do with them than anything else.Thornton, a team guy all the way through crediting everybody else on one of his nights to shine. He isn't the "Quiet Man" that his parents had in mind when they came up with his name as a baby, he's a very, very good man indeed.On to the links: A nice little gesture by Dan Hamhuis to make the extra effort to touch somebodys life on his visit to former home city Nashville along with the rest of the Vancouver Canucks earlier this week. A good look at the Flyers standing within the East and their goaltending situation that might just be their Achilles heel heading into this years playoff run. I had to watch this shocking video a couple of times to believe what I was seeing on Barstoolsports.com that is the definition of a two-hander and I can honestly say the kid that did it deserved whatever came his way afterward. This late run by the Toronto Maple Leafs that was snuffed out on Tuesday night might have given some legitimate hope to the long-suffering Leafs fans out there. A familiar-sounding last name is lighting things up over in Europe, and he probably answers to the nickname Rosie. A great piece by the Calgary Herald about Grapes legendary hockey personality and former Bruins head coach Don Cherry. A good look by Rogers Sportsnets Ian Mendes about working alongside NHL legend Denis Potvin. A really sad day for the hockey community as VP of NHL Central Scouting E.J. McGuire passed away today at the age of 58 years old. Seems like just yesterday I was listening to him speaking glowingly about Tyler Seguin at the Staples Center after the Bs drafted him this summer. A friendly, smiling face and happy soul has been lost, and thats a loss for all of us. Colorado Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote announced his retirement at the end of the season, and he becomes the final active member of the Quebec Nordiques in the NHL to call it a career. Craig Custance of the Sporting News gives us three reasons why the San Jose Sharks could break through this season. Ill give you one reason why they wont: Joe Thornton. Speaking of Thornton, referee Don VanMassenhoven reveals to ESPNChicago.com what was said to the Bs enforcer from the Chicago bench as a bloodied Thornton skated off the ice after getting sliced with a skate blade. We reported this last week from another source, but thats besides the point.Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Morning Skate: Former PC coach Army on Avs' rough year

Morning Skate: Former PC coach Army on Avs' rough year

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars being released today. Amazing that the power and influence of the best movie franchise in cinematic history are just as strong today as it was four decades ago. I still remember my first time seeing it as a very little kid with my parents at the dearly departed Starlight Drive-In in North Reading.

*Good guy and recently fired Colorado Avalanche assistant coach Tim Army talks about a rough past season with the Avs, and some of the difficulties they faced in a truly terrible season. The former Providence College head coach and good hockey man shouldn’t have much trouble finding his next gig.

*A great move by the Arizona Coyotes, who have hired former Bruins forward Craig Cunningham as a pro scout after his awful medical situation last season that resulted in his leg getting amputated. Cunningham is a hard worker and a hockey lifer, and that’s exactly the kind of traits that the best scouts have in huge amounts.

*The New Jersey Devils have fired a number of employees after a rough season, including a groundbreaking radio analyst.

*With the ultra-competitive demand for an edge in NHL player development, teams are beginning to look to Europe for more and more diamonds in the rough. The Bruins tried that with Joonas Kemppainen, but it didn’t work out so well.

*One of the real big advantages of the Nashville Predators getting to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time is a national spotlight getting flashed on PK Subban, who shows off his personality in a rare ESPN interview of a hockey player featured on the network's magazine show.

*Ryan Johansen isn’t done talking smack to Ryan Kesler after the Predators prevailed over the Ducks, and it’s some delicious playoff hatred.

*Is the NHL ready to draft another goaltender with the last name DiPietro in the first round? Inquiring minds want to know, but I’d recommend the New York Islanders take a pass just in the name of avoiding a repeat of some bad history for them.

*Taylor Hall sounds pretty bitter about the whole “Edmonton Oilers getting into the playoff without him” thing, doesn’t he?

*For something completely different: As mentioned above, it’s a milestone birthday for the Star Wars franchise hitting 40 years old today. Boy, this Boston Globe movie review was right on the money back in 1977.