Bruins

Thornton injured in Scott fight, being evaluated

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Thornton injured in Scott fight, being evaluated

Shawn Thornton takes his duties as an enforcer for the Boston Bruins very seriously, so Thursdays anticipated tilt against the bigger, tougher Buffalo Sabres was no different.It was assumed that No. 22 would be addressing things with new Buffalo tough guy John Scott after the 6-foot-8, 260-pound Scott had voiced a desire to stop the bullying act that the Black and Gold had been pulling on the Sabres over the last couple of years.
So Thornton and Scott had a few words during the pre-game warm-up on the TD Garden ice and then dropped the gloves as soon as they were on the ice together for a face-off on their respective first shifts.
The 6-foot-2, 217-pound Thornton attempted to grab the monstrous Scott by the sweater and grapple with him in tight quarters as he did when facing Derek Boogaard several years ago, but Scott clocked Thornton in the head and face with a series of overhand right punches before the Bs tough guy finally dropped to the ice. Thornton looked wobbly on his legs as he headed to the penalty box afterward.
The Sabres behemoth said he was trying to send a message to a Bruins team that tormented his club last season, and his nights work was essentially over totaling only 4:28 of ice time for the game.
Going into this game there was a lot of hype around what happened last year, said Scott, referencing the LucicMiller collision. So I kind of just wanted to set the tone and say, Okay were here to play. It happened out that I came out on the fight.
Regardless of the outcome I just want to be there for my teammates and let them know Im here to fight, Ive got your back. Last years not going to happen like this year.
Both players retreated to the penalty box and then Thornton headed straight for the Bruins dressing room and did not return to the game. There was no update following the game about Thorntons condition.
Well know more tomorrow, said Claude Julien, who also added that Daniel Paille never returned to the game after taking a high-stick to the face in the third period. Hes being evaluated, until we get a definite answer there is nothing more.
It stands to reason that Thornton suffered an injury related to the punches the powerful Scott landed on the left winger, and his teammates appreciated the sacrifices he makes to protect the rest of them.
Hes been a great team guy here for the last six years, and he takes a lot of pride in what he does sticking up for himself and his teammates. Hes a great team guy, said Lucic.
Hes an important person to this hockey club. It was unfortunate that he missed the rest of the game after that, but knowing him... hes a tough guy and hell try to get back as soon as he can.
The Bruins hope that Thornton can return sooner rather than later, and should have more information on his condition Friday.

Morning Skate: No place for Gudas’ slash on Perreault

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Morning Skate: No place for Gudas’ slash on Perreault

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while enjoying the new Brown Sugar Cinnamon coffee flavor at Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s not Cookie Dough, but what is after all?

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) and PHT writer James O’Brien has the details on Radko Gudas getting ejected for an ugly, reckless and dangerous slash to Mathieu Perreault’s head last night. Gudas should be facing a long suspension for a play that has no place in the NHL. It’s time for Flyers fans to stop making excuses for a player who’s no better than a cheap-shot artist and hatchet man. He has to face the music for consistently trying to hurt his fellow players.  

*Frank Seravalli has some of the details for a historic GM meeting in Montreal where NHL hockey was born in the first place.

*You always need to link to a service dog being part of the pregame face-off ceremonies. That’s like a rule here at the morning skate?

*Cam Atkinson and the Columbus Blue Jackets have agreed to a seven-year contract extension, according to reports from the Athletic.

*It’s been quite an eventful year for Arizona Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet and some of it has been to the extreme both good and bad just a month into his first year as bench boss.

*For something completely different: Chris Mannix is all-in on the Celtics being the front-runners in the Eastern Conference after their big win over the Golden State Warriors.

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Haggerty: For now, Bruins need to ride Khudobin’s hot hand over Rask

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Haggerty: For now, Bruins need to ride Khudobin’s hot hand over Rask

These are desperate times for the Bruins even after pulling out a solid, blue-collar 2-1 win over a sputtering Los Angeles Kings team on Thursday night.

The victory ended a four-game losing streak and gave the Bruins just their second road win of the season in eight tries. It was also the fourth win of the season for backup netminder Anton Khudobin, who is a sterling 4-0-2 and has given them everything they could possibly hope for out of the backup spot. The Bruins have a grand total of 18 points on the season and Khudobin miraculously has more than half of those (10 to be exact).

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It’s clearly a far cry from last season for Khudobin, of course, when it took until February for the goalie’s season to get in gear.

But Thursday night’s 27-save effort from Khudobin was also a stunning contrast to what Tuukka Rask has been able to produce this season. Khudobin has a .928 save percentage and 2.35 goals-against average. Rask has a dreadful .897 save percentage while giving them average play between the pipes at best.  

Khudobin is tied for seventh in the NHL with reigning Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky in save percentage and Rask is chilling in the NHL goalie statistical basement with retreads Steve Mason and James Reimer.

Quite simply, Khudobin has been way better than Rask and the Bruins have, for whatever reason, played better hockey in front of their backup goalie. Some of it might also be about Khudobin’s more adaptable game behind a Boston defense that can make things unpredictable for their goaltender, but Rask is being paid $7 million a season to be better and figure it out. It would be amazing if this trend continued for the entire season and it would certainly merit more examination from management as to why the rest of the Bruins and Rask can’t seem to combine for an effective, winning product on the ice.

For now, the Bruins need to simply win by whatever means necessary and that amounts to riding Khudobin’s hot streak for as long as it lasts. It should begin with the backup goalie getting a second consecutive start against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night and seeing where it goes from there. Perhaps the extra rest gets Rask additional time to get his game together, or serves as the kind of motivation to get the Finnish netminder into a mode where he can steal games for an undermanned, out-gunned team that needs that right now.

“We’re going to look at it,” said Bruce Cassidy, when asked postgame by reporters in L.A. about his goalie for Saturday night. “He played very well against San Jose last time. They’re a heavy team. He seems to do well in these kinds of games with a lot of traffic around the net. But we’ll look at that decision [Friday].”

Khudobin has stopped 57 of 61 shots in his two games in November, so perhaps that level of hot goaltending could also allow the Bruins to survive a month that otherwise might absolutely bury their playoff hopes. Maybe Khudobin finally loses on Saturday night and the goaltending conversation, not controversy, ends as quickly as his point streak. For now, riding the hot goalie is the right call for a team that needs something good to hang onto.

The Bruins are in desperation mode until they get a number of their injured players back. There certainly might not be more of a desperate option than setting their beleaguered sights on a goalie they sent to the minors as recently as last season. But it’s a new season, Khudobin has been excellent and he’s earned a chance to carry this team for a little bit until they can get things back in order.

Calling Khudobin’s number is the right call right now for the Bruins and, quite frankly, shouldn’t be that difficult a choice given what we’ve seen so far this season. 

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