BOSTON -- There’s a good reason behind the Boston Bruins not dropping the gloves with the New York Rangers during a playoff series that’s started generating a bit more physicality over the course of four games, and with the Blueshirts’ adding a bit more nastiness to their lineup with the addition of Kris Newbury and Michael Haley prior to Game 4.
While the Rangers have certainly tried, and Derek Dorsett, in particular, has challenged several Bruins players including Adam McQuaid and Brad Marchand over the course of the last few games, the B’s fourth line haven’t done much retaliating in the series.
That’s because the B’s players are under orders from Claude Julien to ignore the antics, and keep their gloves on rather than dropping them to fight.
Shawn Thornton, Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille hold such value on the ice for their energy and effectiveness, including the production of both goals in the Game 3 win, and Julien doesn’t want to lose them for five minutes at a pop. Campbell picked up a fighting major against Dorsett in Game 2 at TD Garden, but the B's coaching staff doesn't want to see a repeat of that bout.
It’s an interesting change of pace for a guy like Thornton, but it doesn’t change much about the way he does business.
“I guess on some level it’s a nice change knowing I won’t be getting punched in the head,” said Thornton. “But fighting is actually one of those things that’s always come so naturally to me, that I don’t even think about it.”
The Bruins coach doesn’t see the value of the trade off of one of Boston’s fourth line players for any of the skaters manning the Rangers’ bottom two forward lines.
That means ignoring Dorsett trying to stir up the hornet's nest, or Marchand ignoring Derick Brassard when he dropped the gloves going after the Nose Face Killah in the middle of Game 4.
“I think it was pretty clear. I said it even on TV there between those timeouts: the guys on my fourth line, to me, aren’t worth the trade off with their fourth line right now. Those guys are pretty valuable players for us,” said Julien. “So which ever way they see their players, I certainly don’t want to see one of mine necessarily in the penalty box with one of theirs, because it plays to their advantage.”
None of that should be taken to mean that the fourth line has become a bunch of Black and Gold choir boys ready to turn the other cheek, however. Sometimes it takes a tougher hockey player to stay disciplined and ignore the tactics New York is attempting to pull the Bruins of their game.