If there'd been a Shawn Thornton on the Canucks, there might not be a Stanley Cup in Boston.
Not that Thornton was the main reason the Bruins beat Vancouver. But once the B's enforcer -- a healthy scratch in the first two games of the Finals, both of which Boston lost -- got into the action, the tone of the series changed.
"When I'm in there, the dynamic's a little different," Thornton said to Michael Felger on Mohegan Sun's Sports Tonight on Thursday. "The fourth line's completely different . . . We were able to create some energy and create forechecks and bang some bodies, and then the rest of the Bruins fell in behind that."
They also were able to create an intimidation factor . . . something the Canucks had no answer for.
"Nobody on that side stepped up," said Thornton. "I don't want to be the sore winner and start badmouthing people over there, but I know if people on the Canucks were acting the way I was, I probably would have come off the bench and had a word about it . . . "
Having a word about it was exactly what Thornton excelled at.
After Game 5, Roberto Luongo insinuated he was better than Tim Thomas and that he was surprised the Bruins' goaltender hadn't said anything positive about him. So before Game 6, Thornton shot a puck into the Canucks' end during warmups and skated a lap around Luongo, yelling something along the way.
"I can't repeat what I said," said Thornton. "I honestly can't. I would get suspended."
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while refraining from shoving any world leaders today.
*Larry Robinson and the San Jose Sharks are parting after working together for five seasons, per FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kevin Kurz.
*Speaking of Kurz, he also has a Sharks mailbag on which players are most likely to be traded out of San Jose during the offseason. Somebody has got to go, and you’d think it would be somebody without much tread left on the tires.
*Moving on to other topics, Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler said that losing a Game 6 in the Western Conference Finals to the Nashville Predators was the “toughest” loss of his career. I don’t see how this is possible. You see, Kesler is no slouch at falling short. In fact, he’s a tremendous loser, having dropped a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final at home in 2011 as a member of the Vancouver Canucks, and also having lost a Gold Medal Game for Team USA at the hands of Sidney Crosby and Canada in 2010 in overtime that was also played in Vancouver. It took a simple Google search to find an actual postgame video of Kesler crying into his hockey glove on the bench in the aftermath of Game 7 vs. the Bruins. So, pardon me if I’m not buying Kesler talking about a conference finals loss as the worst of his career when he was one home win away from being a Stanley Cup champion in Game 7, and proceeded to lose like he’s done many, many times in the most important games of his career. Dude, you’ve been through tougher losses. Trust me on that one.
*The idea of trading Alex Ovechkin might be gaining some traction with the Capitals fan base, but it doesn’t seem to be based on reality at this point.
*The pride of Melrose, Mass, Conor Sheary, delivered in Game 7 for the Penguins as they return to the Stanley Cup Final in back-to-back seasons.
*Bobby Ryan said his strategy for success in the playoffs, at least in part, was staying off the phone. Maybe he ought to try that a bit more during the regular season.
*Congrats to the folks at NBC for another successful Red Nose Day that featured a reunion of the “Love Actually” cast among other things.