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

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

BOSTON – The Bruins simply weren’t ready to play on Thursday night when the puck was dropped against the Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. 

They fell down quickly by a 2-0 score, had a couple of completely inept power plays in the first period that sucked all the game’s momentum away from them and received some subpar goaltending from Anton Khudobin on the way to a 4-2 loss to the lowly Avs. About the only B’s person above reproach in this one was David Pastrnak after scoring a pair of goals in the second period to get Boston back into the game, but it all fell short in a very frustrating, lackadaisical loss to a Western Conference team that isn’t very good. 

Needless to say B’s coach Claude Julien wasn’t too happy after a loss where the Bruins might have had more success with a smarter approach to holding the puck. 

“There were a lot of problematic things [in the loss]. No doubt that the power play could have helped us in the first period, and failed to do that. They’ve got to be better,” said Julien. “We needed some saves tonight, and we didn’t get them. [Anton Khudobin] has got to be better. 

“A lot of things here that we can be better at, and take responsibility [for]. But at the same time, you got to move on here.  It’s one of those nights that had we been smarter from the get go, we would have had a chance.”

Clearly it was about a lacking group effort when dissecting the loss, and the minus-3 for David Krejci on Thursday night marked back-to-back negative performances from the playmaking Czech center in big spots. The goaltending was shoddy with Anton Khudobin allowing four goals on 22 shots for Colorado, and unable to make plays on a couple of Colorado shots from outside the painted area that built up the Avs lead in the first place. 

But it was also very much about the inability of the Bruins to generate consistent offense outside of David Pastrnak’s offensive burst in the second period, and the complete breakdown of the Boston power play in the opening 20 minutes. The Bruins struggled to enter the zone in their first PP possession of the game, and then allowed a Nathan MacKinnon shorthanded goal after Torey Krug futilely dove at the blue line to try and keep the puck in the offensive zone. 

The Krug misplay at the offensive blue line gave MacKinnon a clear path the net, and he buried a wrist shot past Khudobin to get the one-sided loss rolling. Beyond the costly mistakes that ended up in the back of the net, the Bruins looked sloppy and slow-reacting in their breakouts and more than willing to settle for outside perimeter shots.

That doesn’t exactly make for a winning combo even when it comes against a flawed, underachieving team like Colorado, and especially when it comes less than 24 hours after a hard-fought road game in Washington DC. 

“I think we were still sleeping there early in the game and they were able to capitalize on their opportunities. We couldn’t claw our way back,” said Brad Marchand, who picked up an assist on David Pastrnak’s second goal of the night on a perfect dish for the one-timer. “I think it was definitely a mental [block]. You’re able to battle through that physical fatigue. It was more the mental mistakes and not being prepared right off the hop of the start of the game. Again, that’s kind of where we lost it.”

The sleepwalking Bruins lost Thursday night’s valuable two points as soon as the opening puck was dropped against the Avalanche, of course, and the Bruins never got out of lollygag mode at a time when intensity should have been automatic.