Thornton gash requires about 40 stitches

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Thornton gash requires about 40 stitches

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Shawn Thornton is usually pretty predictable before and after a game.

Prior to a game hes stretching, running, getting loose by himself with headphones and traveling to whatever dark place he needs to transport himself while serving as an enforcer for the Bruins. Afterwards he's usually ready to smile and joke after a victory, or stand up to answer for himself and his teammates after a defeat.

But Thornton was understandably enraged after Tuesday nights 3-0 win over the Blackhawks.He was knocked out of the game in the second period after taking Fernando Pisanis skate blade to his forehead, opening a cut that required 40 stitches to closer. As he skated past the Chicago bench on his way to the medical room, with referee Don VanMassenhoven beside him, one of the Blackhawks -- Thornton still doesn't know who it was -- decided that was an opportune time to open his mouth and begin chirping at the bloodied Bruin.

Thornton shoved at VanMassenhoven and tried to get at the Blackhawks, but the referee pushed him to the Boston dressing room and told the Chicago bench, in most colorful language, to keep quiet. Those guys on their team chirp a lot. I dont know if it's right when someones face is half across the other side of their face, said Thornton. But it's a tough game and people have to live with their actions.
"If you guys ever find out who it is, dont be afraid to send me a Christmas card and let me know who.The play happened immediately after a good scoring chance for the winger, and Thornton tumbled with Pisani into the boards before the sharp blade sliced his skin open just above his right eye. It was purely accidental, even though Thornton and Pisani had exchanged words earlier in the game.

I was fortunate to see it coming after I fell. It's easy to say now, but I knew it was a bad cut. I didnt see how bad it was because they wouldnt let me go look at it, said Thornton.
I knew nothing else was hit other than my forehead. It had happened to me before and it doesnt really hurt when it happens like that; it just feels like you got banged in the head. I know how lucky I am. It could have been a little lower and I could have been in a lot of trouble."

The Bs enforcer briefly considered donning a visor and returning to the game, but eventually it was decided he wouldnt take another shift. Neither Thornton nor coach Claude Julien were certain if hed miss Thursday's matchup against the Maple Leafs, but it might play into allowing Michael Ryder back into the lineup for a game or two while Thornton rests up and heals the nasty slice on his head.

He took a lot of stitches, and the doctors and the trainers deemed it bad enough they didnt want to take that chance, especially when you have to put a helmet on and stuff like that, said Julien. So hopefully hell be fine soon and well know more about it as we go forward tomorrow and the next day. And well see how he is by Thursday.Perhaps the harsh words and whollybush league words from the Chicago benchstemmed from a leg-on-leg hit between Thornton and Pisani in the first that slowed down the Blackhawks forward just a bit, but that's not seemingly going to matter when Thornton starts doing some investigative work on which player said what on the Blackhawks' bench. Draft pick Ryan Button signed an amatuer tryout contract with the Bruins, and will finish out the season with the AHL's Providence Bruins. The 20-year-old defenseman has 5 goals and 30 assists in 69 games for the Prince Albert Raiders and the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League after being a third round pick by the B's in the 2009 Player Entry Draft. Mark Recchi confirmed Tuesday night that he'll retire if the Bruins win the Stanley Cup this season.
"Im hoping we go on a long ride through the playoffs; it just makes it real easy for me to say see you later," said Recchi, 43. "We win and I say Im gone. If we win a championship, Im gone." Patrice Bergeron led the Bruins with seven shots on net, and led all Boston forwards with 20:39 of ice time in a solid all-around performance. From the Bruins' P.R. staff:Nathan Horton has been named the 2011ambassador for the Alliance for Lupus Research, and the Bruins Foundation announced they'll be donating 20,000 to their upcoming "Walk with Us To Cure Lupus." The Boston Bruins Foundation will partner with the Alliance for Lupus Research (ALR) by donating 20,000 to their "Walk with Us To Cure Lupus" walkathon at Castle Island in South Boston on Saturday, June 11, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. To kick-off the partnership, the Boston Bruins are hosting Lupus Awareness Night on Tuesday, March 29 during the BruinsBlackhawks game. All the proceeds from the 5050 raffle will benefit ALR and their Boston "Walk with Us To Cure Lupus" event. Bruins fans can support Horton and the Lupus Walk by texting the word "WALK" to 85944 to make at 10 donation. A one-time donation of 10 will be billed to your mobile phone bill. Messaging & data rates may apply. Donations are collected for the Alliance for Lupus Research by mobilecause.com. Reply STOP to 85944 to stop. Reply HELP to 85944 for help. For terms, see http:www.igfn.orgThe Boston Walk with Us to Cure Lupus event is a 5K (3.1 miles) walk that is designed to raise significant funds and awareness for the quest for a cure for lupus. All walkers are encouraged to raise as much money as possible from family, friends, co-workers and business associates in support of their participation in the walk.Bruins fans can register for the Boston "Walk with Us To Cure Lupus" online at http:walk.lupusresearch.orgboston by emailing evega@lupusresearch.org, jmarks@lupusresearch.org or by phone at 866-WALK-ALR.

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

Haggerty: For better or worse, Bruins need to make a call on Julien

Haggerty: For better or worse, Bruins need to make a call on Julien

The Bruins coach and leaders in their dressing room spoke out this weekend, and their words all basically spread the same supportive message.

Claude Julien and his longtime players aren’t ready for a change at the head coaching position for the Black and Gold and they hope the longtime bench boss is in Boston for as long as possible after 10 mostly successful years on the job.

Still, it may not go down that way this season with real pressure on B’s management, coaches and the players to end a two-year playoff drought. Things are currently going pretty badly with the Bruins in the middle of a three-game losing streak before facing the reigning Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday afternoon.

The heat has been dialed up as high as it’s ever been on Julien in his 10 years of employment with Boston and everybody seems to know it.

“Right now we’re all confident in Claude, and we all want to be here and play for him. If [saving Julien’s job] is the extra motivation you need for the games then so be it,” said Patrice Bergeron. “But we’re all professionals and we’re here to win hockey games. I’ve said this before that I’ve been with Claude for 10 years, and he’s the guy that I believe in and that I want to play for.”

Similarly, the Bruins captain has been with Julien for the long haul in Boston and has worked closely with the coach keeping lines of communication open in good, Cup-winning times and bad, non-playoff times. Chara bestowed Julien with every bit the endorsement that Bergeron did, and it’s clear much of the core group wants to keep the longtime coach in place.

“We don’t pay attention [to the chatter]. Claude is our coach and Claude will be our coach. We have confidence in him,” said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. “He’s proven to be a coach that does a lot of good things for this organization. We just have to come up with some wins, battle it and we’re all in this together.”

One thing that’s a legitimate question: Is the devotion of players like Chara and Bergeron toward Julien a defining reason to keep the longtime coach?

There isn’t a sense the Bruins have tuned out their coach, as can happen in dysfunctional NHL situations, but there is a feeling that longtime B’s players with status are pretty comfortable with iron-clad no-movement clauses in their contracts and a relationship with the coach where there’s a level they may not be getting pushed toward very often.

Comfort isn’t always a good thing in an NHL dressing room and it’s felt altogether too comfortable at times in some of those no-show performances from the Black and Gold over the past couple of failed seasons. 

For his part, Julien doesn't think that was the case and intends on continuing to work his way through the struggles with a mix of youth and veteran players who clearly have enough to be a playoff team.

“If we’re going with what we said we were going with and there’s going to be some growing pains along the way, so be it,” said Julien. “I think we put ourselves in a position earlier in the year where we could all of a sudden believe that we’re a playoff team...absolutely. I still think we’re a playoff team. Whether we can do it or not we’ll find out at the end of the year, but my job is to do everything I can to get us into the playoffs and that’s what I’m going to do.

“As far as the [firing] rumors are concerned, they’re out there and I know that. But I don’t worry about it because worrying is wasting a lot of my time. And my time is spent trying to fix things here.”

It would be ridiculous and pointless to compare this season’s Bruins roster to the groups that won Cups, made it to the Finals twice and even won a President’s Trophy in 2013-14. Clearly, this particular roster isn’t as deep, or as difficult to play against, as those talent-stuffed hockey clubs, but this team also has enough high-end talent that they should edge teams like Toronto, Ottawa and Philadelphia out of a playoff spot.

This is where the theoretical move to fire Julien comes into play.

The Bruins are at a critical stage of their season where things are slipping away from them and the team is showing some of the maddening characteristics of the past two seasons.

They are unprepared to play on too many nights. They take opponents lightly on too many nights particularly in the past couple of months. A tiring Tuukka Rask isn’t able to bail the team out as much as he was in the first couple of months. Because the Bruins are being strangled by a roster of immovable players with no-trade clauses and can’t even entertain trading their blue-chip prospects Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy, the trade options just aren’t there for Don Sweeney and Cam Neely right now.

It would take a brilliant, creative GM to swing a hockey deal that could pump life back into the reeling Bruins. The B’s front office hasn’t shown those qualities in the past few years running the team. Instead, they have GMs from other teams lining up and making one-sided offers to the desperate Bruins in hopes that Sweeney/Neely will buckle under the pressure to push into the playoffs this spring.

So, the only impactful card the Bruins can play is firing a coach in Julien who probably isn’t the coach of the future when the next generation of B’s prospects is ready to go. The hope is that move can light a fire under their meandering hockey club if it doesn't start reeling off some wins in a row. An argument can be made that a coach such as current assistant Bruce Cassidy could get more out of some of Boston’s younger players they’re relying heavily on this season. The former Providence Bruins coach might fit a little better into the overall philosophy that management is looking to instill.

It might just be that making a coaching change is the best midseason card that Bruins management has to play given all of the circumstances.

Still, the one thing that B’s management can’t do is keep Julien twisting in the wind and answering all the questions about his future with no clear vote of confidence from his bosses. Julien is the winningest coach in Bruins history and led them to their glorious Stanley Cup run in 2011. He’s earned a wealth of respect around the league for the professional, classy way he’s always conducted himself on and off the ice and he won’t be out of work long if/when he is relieved of his duties on Causeway Street.

So, if the Bruins intend to make the move with their coach then they need to do it sooner rather than later.

People around the NHL are watching the Bruins intently to see how they handle this situation with a world-class coach in Julien, and Neely and Sweeney continue to be radio/TV silent, despite the Bruins media requesting to speak with them on Friday morning in the throes of their losing streak.

It’s high time for Bruins management to step up and make a decision on Julien for better or for worse, and treat him the way they’d undoubtedly like to be treated if it were them suddenly in the danger zone should they miss the playoffs again this spring.  

Sunday, Jan. 22: Jimmy Vesey's rookie wall

Sunday, Jan. 22: Jimmy Vesey's rookie wall

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while proud of my wife and daughter for taking part in the Women’s March on Saturday.

*The day-to-day NHL grind may be getting to Jimmy Vesey a bit, and causing him to hit a bit of a rookie wall after his Harvard career.

*Alex Radulov has gone from being an NHL headache to being an impact playmaker for the Canadiens in a quick pivot for the Russian player.

*Melrose native Conor Sheary seems to have found a home for himself on the Pittsburgh Penguins skating on a line with a guy named Sidney Crosby.

*The Chicago Blackhawks are always looking to improve, and they’ve reportedly kicked the tires on Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar with Detroit.

*St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock is nearing another coaching milestone in what’s been a long, distinguished career behind the bench.

*P.K. Subban is slowly approaching a return to the Nashville Predators lineup from injury, and the Preds need him as soon as possible.

*For something completely different: Greg Poppovich hits the nail on the head here, and it never ceases to amaze me that he’s such a smart, well-versed human being.