Thornton might be favorite to get an 'A'

394338.jpg

Thornton might be favorite to get an 'A'

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins InsiderFollow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- The Bruins lost one of their alternate captains when Mark Recchi called it a career after Bostons Game 7 Stanley Cup win in Vancouver, and theres an obvious need to fill that roll alongside Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara. Recchi took with him three Stanley Cup rings and 43 years of hockey experience that can't easily be reproduced, and the Bruins aren't going to bother trying.There is obviously plenty of veteran leadership within Bostons dressing room above and beyond the playersdonningthe letters on their sweater, but there is still a status and import that goes along with the A stitched on the Black and Goldjersey.

Andrew Ference and Dennis Seidenberg are the kind of older, veteran names that shouldbe stronglyconsidered for such an honor given the roles they played on the Cup-winning team. Milan Lucic is the perfectchoice among aburgeoning group of young-ish Bs players hitting their prime and taking big ownership stakes within the team.

But Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton might just be the odds-on favorite to be named an alternate captain in Bostonto replace his good friend Recchi. Thornton said simply getting consideration for that role is an honor and it wouldn't change the kind player he is on the ice --or the kind of guy heis off the ice.Thornton is the first player to offer up his home to a young skater just learning his way around Boston, and he's the one skater above all others that takes pride in sticking up for his teammates when chaos happens on the ice. He's also a force of personality in the B's dressing room for a guy that averaged just a shade over 10 minutes of ice timeper game last year.
Its an honor. Theres no doubt and those are the decisions that need to be made, said Thornton. Whether I have a letter or dont have a letter, though, Ill continue to be the same person Ive been for the last 15 years. Im not going to start talking more if I get a letter or talking less if I dont get one.

Itll be the same. Whatever happens, happens. It would be an honor, but its not something thats necessary and I think every guy in this dressing room feels the exact same way. Nobody is starving for it, but anybody would be honored to get it.

Thornton stepping up into the more visibleleadership rolegoes hand-in-hand withthe young Bruins core taking a little more ownership inthedressing room as well a sign its time for players like Lucic, David Krejci and Brad Marchand to step into supporting leadership roles along with the designated captain and alternate captains.

Some guys are a year older and probably need to start chiming in and stepping up in that way, said Thornton. Im sure they will. I guess its on us veterans to make sure that theyre comfortable enough to do it. We definitely lost a great leader in Recchi and everybody is going to need to help out to fill the void.

Theres no gaping hole there. Rex was a special individual and you just dont replace that. It will take a group effort to try and make sure were all headed in the right direction.

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

Heinen looking to show his offense in his shot on Krejci line

Heinen looking to show his offense in his shot on Krejci line

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins mixed things up with their roster a bit on Saturday after dropping a couple of games in a row to Washington and Colorado. 

Fourth-line energy winger Noel Acciari and playmaking forward Danton Heinen were called up from Providence and will be in the lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden on Saturday night. 
Acciari went to Providence the past couple of days to get some game action in after missing the past month with a lower body injury, but clearly showed he’s ready to go. 

So, Acciari is back to provide the same hard-hitting and energy he showed before he was hurt and Heinen is looking to show off a little more offense than in his first stint with the Black and Gold this season. He’ll be featured in a top role as left wing with David Krejci and David Backes and with marching orders to shoot the puck like he never shot it in his previous stint in Boston. 

For the Bruins, it’s about getting another look at a candidate to play left wing beside Krejci with both Ryan Spooner and Tim Schaller, with limitations to their respective games, unable to fully grasp that same opportunity. 

“My hope is that Heinen can come in and give us some good hockey. He’s a skill player and he’s been down there for a while, and he’s back up again because he’s been playing well,” said Claude Julien of the Bruins rookie, who had four goals and seven points in his past five games with Providence. “Hopefully he can play well here also. It’s about getting some confidence. When he went down to [the AHL] the pace of his game had to get a little bit better, and in the battles coming up with the puck along the walls. Those are the kinds of things we thought he could work on down in Providence.”

Heinen knows he needs to shoot the puck a bit more to show off his offense after a seven-game stint with the Bruins where he went scoreless, was a minus-2 and had just six shots on net.

“Being hard on the walls, playing fast and shooting the puck, those were all things I was working on [in Providence],” said Heinen, who has seven goals and 13 points in 13 games for the P-Bruins after being assigned to Providence. “I was doing what they told me to do [in Providence] and that’s shoot the puck. They were going in, and I was getting some good opportunities on the power play. It’s seriously tough to get chances [at the NHL level], so you can’t pass them up when you have chances. That was kind of my focus down there.”

Fellow fourth-line energy winger Anton Blidh has been shipped to Providence after three solid games with the Black and Gold. 

Julien said Blidh goes back to Providence having adequately shown that he can play in the NHL. He clearly showed the Bruins that he understands his role as a player that stirs things up a bit and gets his nose dirty on a regular basis.

“[Blidh] was fine. No issues there. He does his job. He plays with lots of energy and obviously he’s getting more experience. He’s a lot better at understanding his positioning within the game and what he has to do,” said Julien. “I thought he helped us out for the time that he was here.”

With Heinen and Acciari both in the lineup and Blidh back in Providence, that means Jimmy Hayes will be scratched after dressing for three of the past four games for Boston.

Saturday, Dec. 10: Vegas, scoring on NHL governors' minds

Saturday, Dec. 10: Vegas, scoring on NHL governors' minds

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while doing some early Christmas shopping ahead of the late rush. 

*Mike Zeisberger sits down with a quartet of NHL governors and discusses a number of hot topics including the Vegas franchise and scoring around the league. 

*Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos has been removed from the NHL Board of Governor’s Executive Committee amid rumors that the Canes might be a prime candidate for relocation. 

*Pierre McGuire weighs in on Connor McDavid’s war of words on the ice and Carey Price losing his mind in the crease against the New Jersey Devils. To that end, Wayne Gretzky liked seeing McDavid get a little combative at such a young age. 

*The New York Islanders signed Cal Clutterbuck to a five year contract extension, and some are skeptical it will turn out well for the Isles.

*David Pastrnak is a premier scoring threat in the league, and Scott Cullen has some details behind that. I will say this: his stock falling in the draft had less to do with his size or heaviness, and more to do with him being concussed for a long stretch of time during the year leading up to the draft. 

*The Florida Panthers are really struggling to stay positive with a 1-5-0 record since the ownership group and management decided to fire Gerard Gallant. 

*For something completely different: Baywatch stars then and now.