By Joe Haggerty
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.
By Joe Haggerty