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

Talking points from Bruins' 2-1, overtime win in Detroit

bruins-ryan-spooner.jpg

Talking points from Bruins' 2-1, overtime win in Detroit

GOLD STAR: Solid night’s work from Ryan Spooner, who finished with the OT game-winning strike and was solid throughout the game as the de facto No. 1 center. He had four shots on net, six generated shot attempts and won 12-of-19 face offs as he continues to improve in that area while training camp rolls along. Spooner is trying to hold onto the No. 3 center spot in the lineup despite the addition of David Backes via free agency, and Friday night’s big boy performance with speed, playmaking and skill showed exactly what his potential can be when he puts it all together. It was also a nice little bounce-back from an up-and-down game on Wednesday night against the same Detroit team when he struggled in the face off circle and was part of a team-wide malaise.

BLACK EYE: It wasn’t necessarily a bad night for Brian Ferlin, but it was more of the invisible variety with just a registered hit and one face-off taken in 13 minutes of ice time. The forward earned some NHL time with the Bruins a couple of years, has battled concussion woes over the last year plus and is trying to push his way back into the crowded forward picture during this training camp. While he certainly showed some toughness and skill around the net a couple of years and didn’t seem shy about going there on Friday night, the results just weren’t there and Ferlin didn’t have much of a presence in the game. In general it was a pretty decent performance for the Bruins, so Ferlin’s game was quiet more than problematic.

TURNING POINT: Credit the Bruins coaching staff for switching up the lines in the third period, and that sparked the offense a bit after zero goals through the first 40 minutes against Detroit. Zach Senyshyn was moved with Danton Heinen and Riley Nash, and they became a threat in the third period before Heinen broke through for the game-tying goal from his knees. That score allowed the B’s to push things into overtime, and then Spooner made it a quick extra session by snapping home a shot from the slot after a good effort from Joe Morrow down low. It all was made possible by the adjustment to the lines that took place between the second and the third periods.

HONORABLE MENTION: Joe Morrow is battling to hold onto his NHL roster spot with the Bruins, and that is absolutely underscored by the news that Christian Ehrhoff is being brought to Boston on a PTO. So it was expected that the young D-man would come out with something a little extra after a mediocre performance in his preseason debut, and the left shot D-man was an impact player in the win for the Black and Gold. Morrow dropped the gloves with young tough guy Givani Smith in the second period as part of a B’s group that played with a little bit of an edge on Friday night, and then he won a battle down low in overtime to set up the Ryan Spooner game-winner. Morrow had two hits, two shot attempts, the assist and the fight in 19:48 of ice time, and showed that he’s ready to battle in camp to hold onto his spot.

BY THE NUMBERS: 2 – the number of goals in two preseason games thus far for Danton Heinen, who scored important game-tying goals in both instances in the shootout loss to the Blue Jackets and Friday night’s overtime win against the Wings.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “The compete level, especially when he got down 4-0 [on Wednesday night], I don’t think it was high enough. So we talked about it, and we expect a better effort for sure.” –Ryan Spooner on Friday morning prior to going out and snatching the win away from the Red Wings in Detroit with an OT game-winner. 

Ehrhoff signs a PTO with the B's after World Cup

bruins-christian-ehrhoff.jpg

Ehrhoff signs a PTO with the B's after World Cup

The Bruins will add another veteran defenseman to their training camp group fresh off the World Cup of Hockey as German D-man Christian Ehrhoff is headed to Boston on a PTO (professional tryout agreement). CSN has confirmed that Ehrhoff has indeed agreed to a PTO with the Bruins, and he'll report to the team sometime this weekend.

The 34-year-old Ehrhoff had three assists in six World Cup games for Team Europe, and had two goals and 10 points in 48 games for the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks last season while clearly starting to slow down a bit. He’s clearly no longer the player that averaged 14 goals and 47 points for the Vancouver Canucks from 2009-2011, and is another left-shot defenseman to add to a team that already has Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug.

But it behooved the Bruins to bring in at least one “name” veteran D-man on a tryout basis during this training camp with so many needs for upgrades on the back end, and with a host of young players that might not be ready for prime time. This might also be a warning sign for young veteran Joe Morrow, a left shot D-man that has struggled a bit in training camp after coming off an erratic first full season at the NHL level.

Clearly the Bruins need more than Ehrhoff, however, even if he’s somehow re-energized with the Bruins after playing pretty well in the World Cup. The Kings were down enough on his game to put him through waivers last season, but he was a top-4 defenseman for the previous eight seasons for San Jose, Vancouver, Buffalo and Pittsburgh prior to getting bounced around between the Kings and Blackhawks last season.

The added bonus with taking a look at Ehrhoff is that there’s no risk associated with a PTO, and the Bruins can simply walk away with no cost if the B’s coaching staff decides he’s not a good fit for the group in Boston. On the other hand, bringing in a Kris Russell-type would cost a great deal in terms of money and term in a free agent contract, and it might not benefit the Black and Gold club in the end result.