Tag:Shawn Thornton
Posted on: February 19, 2012 1:41 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2012 3:45 pm

NHLPA poll really likes Pavel Datsyuk

To recap: Datsyuk is a joy and a pain to play against all at once. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

This Pavel Datsyuk fellow is a pretty good player.

In the NHL Players Association's annual poll, Datsyuk was voted as the best in six of the superlative categories. In addition to being named the most difficult player to play against and the league's smartest player (with a strong 45 percent saying as much) he was also voted the hardest to take the puck from, toughest forward to play against, the cleanest to play against and he was voted the toughest to stop by goaltenders.

What, no interesting man in hockey?

The Bruins and Rangers were also popular among the players for some of the superlatives. No surprise here, but Zdeno Chara was named the hardest shot, Milan Lucic called the toughest player in the league (ahead of teammates Chara and Shawn Thornton), Patrice Bergeron the most underrated player and Chara the toughest defenseman to play against.

For the Rangers, Marian Gaborik was called the best skater as well as the fastest, Henrik Lundqvist was named the most difficult goalie to score on and John Tortorella was voted as the coach who demands the most from his players.

There are a lot more categories that were voted on and you can check them all out here, including the top five vote getters in each category.

But another worth sharing here is definitely the biggest surprise in my eyes. A total of 53 percent of the players do not think the instigator rule should be removed from the game. Considering how vocal a lot of players have been in their dislike for the rule, it was certainly an eye-opener for me.

What wasn't shocking, however, was to see Datsyuk dominate the voting. Fans love the guy because he's a joy to watch, media members love the guy because he's a good quote and apparently players love the guy because he does everything well. If there were a player that this stupid cliché ever fit perfectly, it's Datsyuk: He plays the game the right way.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: January 23, 2012 11:26 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2012 4:28 pm

Spezza hit in face in pregame skate but plays

Spezza returned in time for the start of the game. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

With the warmup helmet conversation still going thanks to the frightening situation involving Oilers star forward Taylor Hall last week, wouldn't you know it another player took a pregame puck to the face this week?

Ottawa Senators All-Star forward Jason Spezza, who does not wear a helmet in warmups, was hit in the pregame skate on Monday night as his Sens were visiting the Los Angeles Kings. He was left bleeding, cutting his warmup short.

Fortunately for him, all he missed was the warmup skate. He returned in time for the opening faceoff. Although this irony can't be escaped, as pointed out by Ian Mendes of Sportsnet.

"What's ironic is that Spezza was asked today about wearing a helmet in warmup. Said he likes letting fans see him without one."

The NHL has a way of this happening. An accident happens, the conversation starts and then another example crops up. The same happened earlier this season with the visor debate. So this is going to only further the discussion of whether or not players should be required to wear helmets in the warmups.

Boston Bruins tough guy Shawn Thornton, never one to shy away from many conversations, weighed in on the subject last week after the Hall incident.

“Every time something happens it’s [expletive] change the world, right?” Thornton told CSN New England's Joe Haggerty. “I’ve never worn one in 15 years. Have I been hit a couple of times? Probably ... but whatever. Would it affect my game? No. Do I think they have a right to tell me whether I can wear a helmet? No.

“My first game in the minors I was told that if you’re a tough guy then you don’t wear one during warm-ups. I never wore one. One of the older guys on the team, Greg Smyth, saw me wearing a helmet for warm-ups and said, 'What the [expletive] are you doing? Are you a tough guy or not?' I also had to wear leather straps for my first three years, so the trainers didn’t have to change them when they snapped. That’s the way it was. So after not doing it for a while I’ve just never worn one.”

A part of me says he's making some sense, another part of me says that this old-time "tough guy" mentality is going to forever be an obstacle when it comes to trying to increase safety in the sport. I am a firm believer in the players' choice, but at some point maybe a little help is needed for players that might want to wear a helmet but don't want to appear soft.

In the case of Spezza, it could have been much worse. Players that don't wear visors take pucks to the eyes sometimes, but imagine if he took a puck just a little higher or to the side of the head where a helmet will cover.

However don't look for it to bring a change of heart for Spezza. This from Mendes after the game:

"Spezza told me that he will not consider wearing a helmet in warmups going forward. Felt like it was a freak accident tonight."

More from Eye on Hockey

First look at Taylor Hall
Video: Hall cut in warmups

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: January 11, 2012 12:03 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2012 3:48 pm

B's Thornton, Vancouver columnist banter on TV

By Brian Stubits

This past weekend's 4-3 Canucks win over the Bruins is the game that keeps on giving.

It was one of the more hyped regular-season games that I can remember (outside of the Winter Classics), it actually lived up to that billing while it was played and the battle has continued to be played out through the media since, even with the teams moving on.

A lot of the postgame chatter has circled around Brad Marchand and the five-game suspension he received for clipping Sami Salo of the Canucks. Needless to say, the Canucks supported the decision and the Bruins didn't. That's just further fueled a fire that has been burning intensely since last June's Stanley Cup Final matchup.

But it hasn't all been about Marchand. Shawn Thornton got into a little back and forth with Vancouver columnist Tony Gallagher of the Province on a CSN New England show Sticks and Stones regarding Thornton's challenging Dale Weise to a fight, something Gallagher clearly objected to. Well the conversation actually began between Gallagher and the show's host Michael Felger, it just so happened that Thornton was in studio.

It has a certain WWE feel to it, doesn't it, one of those between-matches talking segments?

Once you're able to get past Thornton's awesome velvet blazer, it's an interesting conversation. I'm not going to be tough on Gallagher for getting tripped up a little and having the size of the players wrong (he first says Thornton outweighs Weise by 40 pounds, gets it down to 20 but per NHL.com it's only seven pounds), he was essentially ambushed in this segment. (UPDATE: Turns out, Gallagher was informed Thornton might be on. If so, ambush statement retracted.)

Plus, I'll just put it out there, according to Hockeyfights.com, Thornton has not been in three fights in the same period in his NHL career, nor even two. That doesn't mean he's never done it at some point in his hockey playing days, just not in the NHL against presumably the best of the best.

But I can't get past the WWE aspect of it. Thornton seems like that guy who is supposed to be a heel that everybody actually likes.

Maybe as interesting is Felger playing the part of Mean Gene Okerlund and getting a little combative with Gallagher at the end when asking why the Canucks are so hated. Gallagher's response was well put, I thought, and Felger agreed before calling the Canucks "weasely." It ended with a little "we have the Cup" jab.

Can we find a way in the next realignment to put these teams in the same conference?

H/t to Pro Hockey Talk

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: December 1, 2011 9:59 am
Edited on: December 1, 2011 2:13 pm

Bruins re-sign Krejci to three-year extension

By Brian Stubits

The Boston Bruins announced on Thursday morning that they have re-signed forward David Krejci to a three-year extension. This comes on the heels of the Anaheim Ducks firing head coach Randy Carlyle and replacing him with Bruce Boudreau.

How are these related, you ask? It was only speculation, but in the Bobby Ryan trade rumors, a swap with the Bruins involving Krejci was a popular rumor, so with the Carlyle firing it appears more like Ryan could be staying put. Thus, Krejci is for sure staying put in Boston.

Krejci's cap hit will be $5.25 million for the three seasons of his deal.

The salary on the deal is a bit high. He doesn't exactly scream $5 million-plus player, now does he? Seeing how Krejci hasn't matched his 2008-209 totals of 22 goals and 51 assists since, but he's still only 25 years old.

But I'll give GM Peter Chiarelli a little benefit of the doubt. Theoretically, this new contract extension will carry Krejci through his prime years, of which he is just entering.

Krejci's playoff performances probably helped, too. In 44 career playoff games Krejci has 19 goals and 25 assists, including 12 goals, 11 assists in last season's run to the Stanley Cup.

Chiarelli has done an excellent job building the Bruins for the future in addition to the now. By locking in Krejci for a few more seasons, the B's have the core of their team under contract for next season now. The biggest name unsigned for next season is Tuukka Rask, after that they are looking at Chris Kelly, Gregory Campbell, Benoit Pouliot, Daniel Paille, Shawn Thornton, Joe Corvo and Johnny Boychuk.

On top of it, according to Cap Geek, Chiarelli still has around $11 million to sign any of those players or wait until free agency and pick up some. He really has done a pretty masterful job not only building a Stanley Cup-quality team, but doing it in a financially responsible way. This Krejci deal might not fall completely in line with that, but he is capable of giving the Bruins about 60 points per season, so it's not a bad investment.

Make the grade: What does Chiarelli earn for this signing?

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 12, 2011 10:12 am
Edited on: October 12, 2011 12:17 pm

Report: B's Krejci day to day with 'core' issue

By Brian Stubits

Uh oh, Boston. David Krejci will not play when the Bruins take on the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday night after going down in practice on Tuesday with what the team described as a "core injury."

Originally, Joe Haggerty of CSN New Enland reported that Krejci went down in a non-contact injury and was looking at a problem with his knee. In Haggerty's words, the best case scenario -- best case! -- was that he's out for a couple of weeks with a knee sprain. You can probably figure out the worst case scenario, but I imagine it would have three little letters.

But coach Claude Julien said that instead it's a core issue and Krejci is day to day. That's a minor crisis averted.

These are the exact types of perils that just seem to await teams after winning a Stanley Cup. As if starting slow out of the gate (two points, five goals in three games) wasn't enough, now the B's will be without their co-leading scorer from last season and top-line center as they try and wake up. Krejci was especially effective in the playoffs when he had 12 goals -- one shy of his regular-season total of 13 -- and 11 assists.

As a result, it looks like the Bruins will have to call on the kid -- Tyler Seguin -- to man the top center spot for the time being. It was only 20 games or so ago that Seguin was a healthy scratch and now he'll get a shot to play between Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic.

We know this much, he'll add some speed that can maybe jumpstart Boston's scorers. Because while the rest of the team might be hung over from the summer celebrations, we know Seguin isn't since he's under the American legal drinking age. (Ummmm, just play along.)

Or it could just be as simple as what Shawn Thornton thinks: The Bruins aren't playing hard enough.

Back to the issue at hand: They could also put Patrice Bergeron up on the first line and leave Seguin to center another group. Or Claude Julien could pull any other number of changes he fancies. Either way, it seems like the No. 2 overall draft pick in the summer of 2010 is going to get his shot and play in the middle.

With Buffalo in the division off to a great start and the Eastern Conference looking better as a whole, the Bruins can't really afford to take too much time getting going. As their local counterparts in baseball showed, poor starts to the season can haunt you in the end (and poor finishes).

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 11, 2011 12:43 pm

Bruins ink speedster Rich Peverley to 3-year deal

By Brian Stubits

The Bruins have a lot of players to try and re-sign before next season, so GM Peter Chiarelli got started early with Rich Peverley. The B's inked the 29-year-old forward to a three-year contract on Tuesday, giving him a healthy raise to #3.25 million annually.

Peverley, set to become an unrestricted free agent after this season, will make $1.325 million this season before the new deal kicks in.

Peverley was acquired by the Bruins before the trade deadline last season in a deal with Atlanta/Winnipeg. along with Boris Valabik for Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart. In 23 games with Boston, he had four goals and three assists. He picks up the numbers a little in the postseason when he had four goals and eight assists in 25 games. This season he is off to a nice start, scoring two goals in the first three games for Boston.

Chiarelli had a nice luxury last offseason, being able to largely sit back and enjoy his team's championship. There was little to do with almost every under contract except re-sign Brad Marchand. Next summer will be a different story though as David Krejci, Chris Kelly, Gregory Campbell, Benoit Pouliot, Daniel Paille, Shawn Thornton, Joe Corvo, Johnny Boychuk and Tuukka Rask all are in the final years of their contracts.

Peverley has proven to be a quality addition to Boston's second line. He brings a lot of speed to a team that could benefit from some. That has helped him to establish himself as a guy capable of routinely putting up 20 goals per season or more. His career high was 22 with the Thrashers.

It's a nice deal for Peverley, who is getting a raise he deserves and is probably the biggest unrestricted free agent the Bruins have.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: September 16, 2011 10:31 am
Edited on: September 16, 2011 12:53 pm

Daily Skate: Seabrook takes stand on head hits

By Brian Stubits

ANOTHER CALL: Meanwhile, another player has stepped up to take a stand on the hits to the head Crosby and other players have been campaigning against this offseason. The Blackhawks' Brent Seabrook has made his feelings clear on head shots, wanting to see more punishment (CSN Chicago). Seabrook has suffered his own concussions in the past two seasons.

MCCRIMMON UPDATE: While most of the Lokomotiv players that were aboard the tragic flight that went down in Russia have been laid to rest, coach Bobby McCrimmon still hasn't. The funeral services for the coach of the Lokomotiv team and former Red Wings assistant will take place this weekend (NHL.com) in the Detroit suburb of Farmington, Mich.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION! The pre-production work has begun on the next installment of HBO's 24/7 series, this year featuring the Winter Classic combatants of the Rangers and Flyers. On Thursday the crew from HBO was with New York, grabbing some promotional footage (Pro Hockey Talk) for the popular show.

BRING HIM BACK: Speaking of the Winter Classic, the fans in Philadelphia are trying to bring back Eric Lindros for the game. A petition is making its way around to try and bring back for the former Flyers star as part of the alumni celebration.

FILLING A VOID: The Bruins have a hole to fill in their leadership program with the retirement of Mark Recchi. So who whould wear the voided A? Joe Haggerty at Comcast Sports Net New England suggests that Shawn Thornton is ready and a great choice.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: April 4, 2011 2:24 pm

Playoff Watch: Rangers look to add key points

WHO CAN CLINCH: The San Jose Sharks can win the Pacific Division with a victory over the Los Angeles Kings tonight. The Kings can secure a playoff spot with a victory. 

ALREADY IN:  Vancouver, Pittsburgh, Boston, Philadelphia, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Detroit and Washington.     

GAME OF THE NIGHT: Boston Bruins (44-23-11) at New York Rangers (42-32-5), 7:30 p.m. ET (Versus)

The Rangers were kept out of the playoff via a shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on the final day of the season a year ago. The Rangers still have a few games left, but their victory in the same manner in Philly on Sunday was nearly as crucial. Eighth-place New York enters tonight’s action with a two-point edge on the Carolina Hurricanes. Each team has three games remaining on the schedule. 

New York is 9-3-1 in their last 13 contests, although it lost back to back games before Sunday’s 3-2 victory at Wells Fargo Center. The Rangers improved to 28-0 when leading after two periods. The Rangers have won two of the first three meetings between these two clubs. 

The Bruins enter with a 5-1-1 mark over their last seven games and they’re fairly healthy, although they will likely be out Shawn Thornton. The Masterton Trophy (NHL’s version of the comeback player of the year) nominee has been out two games since he suffered a cut above his right eye from a skate. The Boston Globe reports he skated with a shield on in practice on Monday. 

ALTERNATIVE VIEWING: Los Angeles (45-27-6) at San Jose Sharks (46-23-9), 10 p.m. ET

A victory by the Kings will not only clinch a playoff spot for the back to back seasons for the first time in a decade, but they could also inch closer to their first division crown since 1990-91, when the Smythe Division still existed. The Kings would be three points back of the Sharks with a regulation victory tonight.  Los Angeles has won three of the first five meetings.

GOLF WATCH: The Toronto Maple Leafs will be eliminated with a Rangers victory. Atlanta, New Jersey, Minnesota Columbus, Ottawa, Florida, New York Islanders, Columbus, Colorado and Edmonton are already mathematically eliminated.  

-- A.J. Perez

Photo: Getty Images
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com