Thornton, Boychuk out for the Bruins

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Thornton, Boychuk out for the Bruins

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com
BOSTON Shawn Thornton was okay after taking 40 stitches in a long, grotesque gash above his right eye caused by Fernando Pisanis skate blade, but there are several team-wide ramifications stemming from the injury suffered Tuesday night against the Blackhawks.Thornton wont be in the lineup tonight against the Maple Leafs after failing to gain medical clearance from the team doctors that sewed him up, and hell likely be wearing a visor until the nasty looking wound heals completely. The Bs enforcer donned a visor two years ago when he incurred a smaller gash on the other side of his forehead, and said hell never get used to that piece of protective equipment on his helmet.Im not used to a visor, but Ive worn one a few times before said Thornton. I feel great. Im 100 percent, but Im told that Im medically not cleared because of the stitches inside my head. Thats the doctors call and I guess they want to give it a couple extra days because we have the extra bodies. Theres no point in getting it ripped open.Thorntons scratch led to several lineup changes with the Bruins on the verge of clinching the Northeast Division title with a victory in regulation tonight against Toronto. Michael Ryder will be back in the lineup in Thorntons place skating with Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille, and hopes to snap an 11-game goal-scoring drought thats mounted up as the games began to take on higher meaning at the end of the regular season.You definitely dont want to be out of the lineup. Thats for sure, said Ryder. When youre in the lineup you certainly dont want to try and do too much. Try and make sure you help the team rather than hurt it.Things get worse if you try to do too much. I just need to go out and play my game and then its a coachs decision after that.The Bs will also start resting their defensemen corps, and that starts tonight with Johnny Boychuk getting a blow while Steve Kampfer is placed back in the lineup against a desperate Maple Leafs team. Kampfer has been scratched five straight games and hasnt played since a March 17 loss to the Nashville Predators that saw the puck-moving defenseman make some critical plays in the third period and overtime that led to the defeat.The youngster took responsibility for the mistakes after the game, and has been working diligently at practice waiting for his next chance.Claude Julien stressed Boychuk was being rested to help get the team ready for the playoffs, and had nothing to do with performance on the ice a practice that Bs fans will likely see more of as the team is cementing their seeding in the Eastern Conference standings. Boychuk has been playing some of his best hockey of the season for the Bs over the last two weeks, but can certainly use a quick rest before the postseason gets going.Kampfer is going to play tonight," Julien said. "Boychuk is going to sit out this one, and were going to kind of maybe rotate guys in and out. Its got nothing do with their play more than we have an opportunity to give some guys some playing time. We want to make sure we do, and well work through it. Tim Thomas was the first goaltender off the ice and it appears that hell get the start against the Maple Leafs while riding a four-game winning streak that includes only two goals allowed and a pair of shutouts. Julien said that its likely that Shane Hnidy will see his first NHL action of the season when the Bruins play the Atlanta Thrashers Saturday afternoon at TD Garden. Hnidy has been activated, and the Bruins coaching staff has been looking for the proper opportunity to get The Sheriff into action.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Coyotes hire Craig Cunningham as scout

Coyotes hire Craig Cunningham as scout

The Coyotes have hired former player Craig Cunningham as a pro scout, keeping the 26-year-old in hockey after a cardiac episode ended his playing career this season. 

Drafted by the Bruins in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, Cunningham played 34 games for Boston over parts of two seasons before he was waived and claimed by Arizona. He totaled 19 games for the Coyotes, but served as captain of the Tucson Roadrunners, the team’s AHL affiliate. 

Cunningham was hospitalized after he collapsed during pregame warmups on Nov. 19. He was kept alive by continual CPR, but had his lower left leg amputated the next months due to an infection from the episode. 

Known as a high-character player who was popular with his teammates, Cunningham’s transition to scouting lets him further his career after a scary break. 

"I'm very excited to begin the next chapter of my life with the Coyotes," Cunningham said in a statement released by the team. "I'm very grateful to John Chayka, Dave Tippett, the Coyotes and Roadrunners organizations, and all of the great fans across Arizona for the incredible support I've received over the past year. I'm looking forward to helping the Coyotes and I can't wait to get started in my new role."

Said Chayka, the team’s general manager: ”We're thrilled to have Craig join our hockey operations department as a pro scout. Craig was a smart, hard-working player with an incredible passion for the game. We're confident that he will bring those same qualities to the Coyotes in his new role and that he will be an invaluable asset to our organization. We look forward to Craig helping us in several areas and are excited that he is staying with the club."
 

Morning Skate: Overreacting to the Oilers' window

Morning Skate: Overreacting to the Oilers' window

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while really enjoying what the CW does season in and season out with the Flash.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Don Brennan says that the Senators fans not showing up for Game 6 is their way of sticking it to Sens owner Eugene Melnyk.

*The talk is turning to the next captain of the Buffalo Sabres, and what they can do to help open up communication up and down the roster.  

*A guy that wore a Habs toque on his twitter avatar writes a glowing, praise-filled article about the performance of PK Subban during these Stanley Cup playoffs. He’s undoubtedly been good, but he just might have been wearing his Montreal Canadiens footie pajamas when he wrote this one, and rattling his fist at Habs management all the while.

*Interesting piece by Jason Gregor about the “window to win” for the Edmonton Oilers, and an odd notion that the window will close when Connor McDavid has moved out of his entry level contract. I’d say that’s kind of ludicrous.

*The Colorado Avalanche coaching staff has been let go after last year’s dreadful season, and that’s too bad for a really good guy in former Providence College head coach Tim Army. I’m sure he won’t be out of work long.

*Colin White made his Stanley Cup playoff and NHL debut for the Ottawa Senators in Game 6, and helped push Ottawa to a Game 7. It will be interesting to watch the Massachusetts native and former Boston College standout develop with the Senators as White was one of the players that the Bruins skipped over to instead draft Jake DeBrusk and Zach Senyshyn in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft. The others, Mathew Barzal, Travis Konecny and Kyle Connor, are all either in the NHL or knocking on the door as well, and it’s going to be a challenging road for both of Boston’s forward prospects to live up the justification of the B’s drafting them first. Granted DeBrusk and Senyshyn are also both doing their thing for the P-Bruins as they push into the conference finals of the Calder Cup playoffs, and they’re both bright prospects in their own right. It’s going to take years to determine the rights and wrongs of that first round, but White getting into the lineup for the Senators is proof of just how high that organization is on him.

*Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan says that Sidney Crosby handled the targeted abuse well from the Senators in a Game 6 loss that will push to a Game 7 between the Penguins and the Senators.

*For something completely different: A great message from Brookline homey and former Sox GM wonder boy Theo Epstein in his commencement address to Yale University.