Bruins' Thornton: Fighting is necessary part of the game


Bruins' Thornton: Fighting is necessary part of the game

WILMINGTON -- Shawn Thornton isn't shy. He'll tell you that fighting is part of his job. And he won't be lying.

So when some try to use his fight with the 6-foot-8 John Scott as an example to eliminate fighting from the game, they're also trying to take away the job that Thornton is so good at.

"I don't like when people try and take advantage of the situation," said Thornton after Thursday's optional Bruins skate at Ristuccia Arena. "It's part of their agenda. There's fighting in hockey. It's in the game. I think it's a necessary part of the game. I don't think it's going anywhere, so there's no point in really even dwelling on it.

"Plus, I'm a big boy. I know what I'm getting into."

Thornton knew exactly what he was getting into in the opening minutes of last week's game against the Buffalo Sabres at the TD Garden. He understood the six-inch height difference between him and Scott. But he also understands -- to this day -- why he dropped the mitts off a neutral-zone face-off with the Sabres' newly-acquired enforcer, who clearly presented a mismatch.

"Obviously with Buffalo, they brought Scott in probably because of our team," said Thornton on Thursday. "It's my job to make sure that I'm available for that, so it's not one of our star players that has to do it. That's part of my role. And I accept it fully.

"I wish it went differently. I knew it was going to happen, and it was better to get it out of the way early. Would you rather that, or wait until he does something stupid and I have to deal with it. It was out of the way and it was a non-factor after that, I think."

A larger argument for the anti-fighting crowd is that of fights that are "staged." Some would consider most fights that happen off early face-offs can sometimes seem pre-determined to those not on the ice. But Thornton pointed out on Thursday, that just because some fights may look staged to an outsider, that doesn't mean they are.

"There's usually some rhyme or reason to when I'm doing it," said Thornton. "Some may look staged, but there might have been something that happened before. Sometimes it's momentum and all that stuff too.

"Just two guys going out and doing it for no apparent reason, you don't see me do that too often."

Thornton said that Scott hit him in the soft spot behind his ear, which caused his legs to go out from underneath him. Having talked to some fighters outside of hockey, Thornton found out that he had a normal reaction to getting hit in that spot. Had he got hit on the top of the head, Thornton doesn't believe he'd even be still talking about the fight.

But he is, because he has missed the last two games with a concussion he suffered in that fight with Scott last Thursday. Thornton skated on Thursday, and said afterwards that he's been cleared for practice and cleared for contact. He just doesn't know his status for Saturday's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the TD Garden.

One thing he was sure of, though, was fighting's place in the game. He agrees, it shouldn't be staged. But fighting belongs. It's his job. He would know. And he doesn't want anyone else to fight his battles. Not even if it means the captain -- Zdeno Chara -- sizes up much better with a guy like Scott.

"I don't even know where that bleep comes from," said Thornton on Thursday. "Chara's our best player and arguably the best defenseman in the league. There's no reason for him to have to fight my battles. I've done this for a long time, and it's on me.

"Listen, if I knocked Scott out, I wasn't expecting somebody to come grab me the next shift. It's part of it. We're both men. It happens."

One reporter tried to point out, that, while fighting might happen, it isn't a requirement.

"I beg to differ, in my role," said Thornton.

"It's part of the job," Thornton later added. "I wouldn't overreact."

He would know.

Morning Skate: Habs' Pacioretty blames himself


Morning Skate: Habs' Pacioretty blames himself

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while watching the Montreal Canadiens crash and burn in the Atlantic Division.  

*Max Pacioretty is certainly falling on his sword up in Montreal calling himself “the worst one on the ice” as the Habs really struggle to get going this season.

*Brad Marchand was on the Twitter machine after Thursday night’s win and having some fun with what his video game controller probably looks like when he plays hockey.

*Pro Hockey Talk has the details of the Erik Gudbranson boarding hit on Frank Vatrano from last night that looks like it’s going to get the Vancouver D-man suspended.

*Oliver Ekman-Larsson is still adjusting to the changes that are taking place with the Arizona Coyotes as they struggle in the desert.

*The Maple Leafs are looking and acting like contenders early on up in Toronto, and that would be a very good thing for the NHL.

*For something completely different: The Backstreet Boys are going country? Now I’ve definitely seen it all.


Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid’s leg is broken, will have surgery Monday

Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid’s leg is broken, will have surgery Monday

BRIGHTON, Mass – Another serious injury has hit the Bruins in the first few weeks of the season.

Adam McQuaid’s right leg is broken, he'll have surgery Monday and he’ll miss some significant time after he blocked a shot that knocked him out of the Thursday night victory over the Vancouver Canucks. The rugged, stay-at-home defenseman took multiple pucks of in successive games off his leg in the past two games against the Golden Knights and the Canucks.


Bruins GM Don Sweeney, in a Bruins statement released after practice Friday, said McQuaid sustained a broken right fibula and is scheduled to have surgery on Monday at Mass. General Hospital. He is expected to miss approximately eight weeks.

It’s a tough blow for McQuaid, 31, after he was able to play 77 games last season before missing the playoffs with an injury and has consistently battled injuries in his career while playing a hard-nosed, fearless brand of hockey.

“Adam [McQuaid] is seeing the doctors as we speak, so there will be an announcement about him,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said earlier Friday at practice. “With Bergie [Patrice Bergeron] it’s a maintenance day where we felt it would be better after 20 minutes of ice to let it rest, and the same with [David] Krejci. Miller is a maintenance day as well. He got whacked, but he should be fine as well. We’ll have a better idea in the morning, but we expect all of the [maintenance players] to play.”

Bergeron, David Krejci and Kevan Miller were all missing from practice on Friday morning at Warrior Ice Arena, but it was maintenance days for all as they’re expected to be back in the lineup on Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres. 

Tuukka Rask is out indefinitely while in the concussion protocol after his practice collision earlier this week, but the good news is that Bruins goaltender was up and around at the practice facility on Friday rather than at home convalescing in a dark room.

Here are the line combos and D-pairings for the Black and Gold with a few bodies missing from practice: