Tyler Seguin strikes three times against former team!

I wanted to write about how the Boston Bruins — fresh off an October that saw an 0-3 start, losers of their first four home games and their $7 million dollar goaltender sporting a save percentage somewhere near mine — how they battled back to win six of seven. I wanted to write about how they had won four in a row, including a weekend sweep of the Florida Panthers and the Tampa Bay Lightning down in the Sunshine State. I wanted to write about how they finished October with a respectable 6-4 record and how they were playing better overall.

I wanted to write about how, except for a shootout goal in last season’s meeting with the Dallas Stars, Tyler Seguin had not scored against his former team!

But instead I will write about how you never know what you are going to get with the 2015-2016 edition of the Boston Bruins.

In Tuesday night’s game the Bruins faced off against the Stars, Seguin flat-out put Dallas on his back and carried them to a 5-3 win. The former Bruin fired six shots on goal, and three found the back of the net for his seventh career hat trick — his sixth since being traded to Dallas.

Now tied for the NHL scoring lead with teammate Jamie Benn, Seguin says he liked beating the team that sent him packing two years ago.


“Feels good to win in here, it’s a tough building to win,” Seguin said. “Always feels good to score. When you’re playing your old team, it’s special.”

It was a special kind of night for the No. 1 star of the contest, for sure. Two of his goals were on the power play from the top of the left circle, including a one-time blast that left Tuukka Rask with no chance to make a save.

Speaking about playing his former teammates, Seguin said, “There’s a fine line between them being your friend and them being your enemy for the night.”

Nevertheless, he made his former club pay, and he is happy about that.

He’s also happy to be in Dallas now. His time in Boston was special but he has moved on and has tried to be show maturity — something the Bruins thought he was lacking when in Boston as a fresh-faced youngster.

“It’s a young team here and right when I stepped in I had the opportunity to be a leader. First-line center, I’ve tried to grasp that and run with it since Day 1,” Seguin said.

Seguin has 82 goals with the Stars in two-plus seasons and could be headed for a scoring title while his former team seems to not know which way they are headed right now. It will be interesting to see the results of both when April rolls around.


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Enough already! As a lot of people like to say, lets’ think about the entire body of work. That work being of the recently fired former General Manager of the Boston Bruins, Peter Chiarelli. During his nine year tenure, the Boston Bruins have won a Stanley Cup, made it to the Final another time, Eliminated in the second round three times, once when they had a 3-0 series lead and another having a 3-2 series lead. The were also dispatched twice in the first round, while not qualifying for the second season twice, including this year which ultimately led to his dismissal.

There have been countless writers/bloggers/talking heads saying the Bruins were wrong in letting Chiarelli go and the matter in which Bruins President Cam Neely, and CEO Charlie Jacobs decided to make that move. And just as many saying that he needed to go and Coach Claude Julien should be right behind him.

Personally I have never been an advocate for anyone losing their job EXCEPT Dave Lewis which brings me to whether I think the Bruins did the right thing. Yes, I think it was time for a change, however, was it the right change and should another head roll. Let me try to explain without being to wishy-washy.

I think both the Coach and the GM had a shelf life like in any professional sports entity and since the quote issued by Chiarelli a few years ago saying that as long as he is here, “Julien would be his coach”, guess who would be first in line to take the bullet. Ever since June 15, 2011, both were given a lifeline and it seemed they were living off what happened that year. The team almost did it again two years later but did they really have what it takes after that to get back to that competitiveness they had a few years ago? That is the crux of the firing. At least one of the reasons. The cap issues, and more importantly, depth and drafting were critical parts of the Bruins decision.

The team has become stagnant the last two seasons. Not progressing, not scoring, no identity, cannot beat their major rival, you fan base not happy and in his final press conference after his quote “It’s business as usual” was probably the final nail in Chiarelli’s coffin.

So yes, relieving him of his duties is a good thing, at least a start. The next GM have to have fresh ideas and keep some of the Bruins philosophy and add someone who can score at will and some really good complimentary players to go along with said scorer should they get one. And NO I do not want to see a Don Sweeney or Mike Milbury. The Bruins and their fans deserve something different than the same old thing.

Oh, and the complaining that Neely hasn’t the stones to fire Julien is hogwash. Just remember, when Chiarelli was hired, Mike Sullivan was the coach and he was let go by the new GM.


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Bruins Flatline!

Just after 3pm Saturday, the patient, The Bruins, were on life support but they still had a pulse and all that was Black & Gold, we fans, were hoping against hope that it could happen. That season would be extended, even for just another week or so. The Ottawa Senators had defeated the Philadelphia Flyers in the afternoon and Boston had to win it’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning and pray that somehow, someway, the last place Buffalo Sabres could defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins and propel them into the second season.
Unofficially, it was over just after 9pm when the Pens Brandon Sutter scored in Western New York and there was no way they could get the defibrillators there in time. The official flat line was 9:43pm EDT. The 2014-2015 Boston Bruins were dead. It made no difference that the end was about a half hour later, when fittingly, the team would lose their game to the Lightning in a shootout. Their 14th of the year of which they won a mere four. Win a couple more of those and hey, who knows.

But we long time jaded fans knew that there would be no Cinderella slipper fitting the Boston toes. Those shoes had already been filled by that team from the National Capital of Canada.

Now the blame game begins. Who stays, who goes? Where did things go wrong? How did a team that had the most points in the league a year ago, not qualify for the playoffs, losing their final three games. General Manager Peter Chiarelli, commented on the lack of will by the team and said he failed to see it all season and yet, he failed to do anything to combat that. The malaise went on all season even though he felt the roster was still good enough to play better.

Usually there is a meeting of the minds between the GM and the Coach, but after Thursday’s game, Claude Julien said “I don’€™t think we have the same team we’€™ve had in the past,”€ Julien said. “have a look at the roster. It’€™s not the same. We can’€™t live in the past. That’€™s what we’€™re trying to do here: work with the guys that we have. We’€™ve got a lot of young players and we’€™ve got a lot of players that haven’€™t played up to expectations right now.
Things between the two may not be on the same page anymore as losing can breed a bit of contempt.

It’s been eight years since the Bruins were on the outside of the playoffs and in the Chiarelli/Julien era, they have never had to fight to the end for a playoff spot. This was new and not amusing for the team and definitely disappointing for the fan base. Chiarelli put the Bruins in a bad spot with questionable signings and trade deadline decisions or not which put the team in serious salary cap trouble. He traded away key blueliner Johnny Boychuk just before the season and got nothing (draft picks) in return. Had he waited to trade Boychuck at the deadline, he most certainly would have gotten a much better value for him and possibly the Bruins would have been in a better position where they would not have been struggling to get a spot in the playoffs.

Meanwhile, the Coach remains a stubborn, I’m not gonna change, manager who thinks young players are poison and should not get the chance to show what they can do. Julien wants defensive responsibility from his players, especially rookies, yet he will let his veterans make mistake after mistake and does not hold them with the same accountability that he asks of the youngsters. Too many times he has allowed the likes of Greg Campbell, Daniel Paille, Chris Kelly, and Dennis Seidenberg to continue their ineffective play and costly mistakes when youth could have served the team better. As Cam Neely said in an interview back in late season 2011, “You cannot win hockey games 0-0.”

And then there are the players who under performed. Patrice Bergeron led the team in points with a mere 55 points. Brad Marchand led the team in goals with 24. Injuries played a role also as David Krejci started the year on injured reserve and only played 47 games. Zdeno Chara was out for 19 games with a knee injury. But that was only part of the story. Too many nights, the Bruins had no desire, not drive, no fight to win games and what use to be their signature was third periods when they would shut the opposition down and win the game. Not so this season.

Then there is your goaltender who I think is the reason you were in a position to claim a spot in the playoffs. Did he have his bad nights? Sure, but don’t put this on Tuukka Rask. Too many one goal, low scoring games were lost because of defensive blunders and inability to put the puck in the oppositions net. 67 starts for Rask and he appeared in 70 games, the most since Eddie Johnston in 1962-63. The Bruins inability to acquire a backup goaltender that they can rely on prompted overuse of your number one netminder.

Change for change sake is not a good thing, but there needs to be a major change in philosophy and how you want to progress in the ever changing world of the National Hockey League. Do the Bruins change the coach, GM, or both, we’ll get the answer to those questions and more, very soon!


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Stick a fork in ’em! They are done! D-U-N Done!

Utter Failure. Those were the words of the President of the Boston Bruins, Charlie Jacobs halfway through this current season and after game 81, truer words were never spoken. From Presidents Trophy to not making the playoffs in basic disgusting fashion. Granted, Ottawa can lose Saturday afternoon and the Bruins could beat the Lightning in Tampa, but c’mon, do you really think either of those scenarios are gonna happen. I don’t and if you do, I have a bridge that I travel over every day that I want to sell you. Hamstrung (their own doing) by the salary cap and just too many players not performing up to the standard that Boston fans and the Bruins themselves are used to has put this team on the precipice of MAJOR front office chances. Does Peter Chiarelli get to keep his job and make chances that will be good enough to make the playoffs next season. And if so, does he still keep the mantra that as long as he is here, Claude Julien will be here?

One thing I will say about the coach is that he is one stubborn SOB. We all know that since the opening round of the playoffs in 2011, it’s been his way or the highway and damn anyone who questions is methods, those methods that to this day he refuses to change. Young inexperience players shall remain in the background, seen and not heard from. Older players that brought the Bruins and Julien success, move to the front of the line despite your age or the fact you are no longer what you were. Those methods no longer work for this team. The team needs the infusion of young talent. The team needs to let those young inexperienced players make their mistakes during the season so that come time for the big games, the important playoff making games, and the playoffs themselves, they will have the knowledge, experience and where-with-all to contribute and put in a position where it becomes instinct.

Just think back to February 2, 2015, Super Bowl 49. All of were thinking that the New England Patriots were about to lose their third Championship Game in the final minutes. But their coach puts all of their players in a position to make a play should they be on the playing surface in a big spot. The Butler Did it.
This is the thinking that must be applied as the Boston bruins go into the sunset this season and onto next! Claude says you cannot live in the past and play in the past, well my thinking is you cannot coach the same way you have in the past. The league has evolved and should you not evolve with it, you become stagnant and everyone runs by you. Right now, the Bruins have been passed by a lot of teams including that team they lost to Thursday night, despite the fact they are not yet playoff material.

We wait for what happens through the weekend. By some stretch of the imagination they impossibly wiggle their way into that eighth playoff spot, it will only be a matter of time before elimination hits because if it’s mental and physical fatigue that has hit the Bruins, as Julien iterated thursday, then making it in to play the Rangers is only a matter of how many games before this season ends! But some sort of change must come to the Boston bruins. Whether it be in Hockey Operations personnel or on-ice, what has been shown this season, is unacceptable and must be dealt with promptly!



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So here we are again. Right back to the spring of 2011. The Bruins were making their way to teh end of the season with so much doubt about what would happen once they got there. After the disappointment of losing to the Flyers in Game seven at home after leading 3-0 in the series as well as the game, how would they perform. There was tons of speculation that Coach Claude Julien would be fired should Boston not make it, AT LEAST, to the second round. And after dropping the first two playoff games of the year, at home, to hated rivals, Montreal Canadiens, not only was the handwriting on the wall, Gentle Giant movers had already been schedule to come to the TD and have the coaching staff and maybe even the General Manager shipped out immediately.

But, a funny thing happened on the way to the end of that years tournament. The ship was righted. Michael Ryder made a glove save, scored an OT goal. A puck glanced off Zdeno Chara’s skate, Nathan Horton scored an OT Goal, and lest we forget Tim Thomas. The Bruins won the Stanley Cup and not only saved the coaching staff, but MANY of the on ice jobs were rewarded with fantastic contracts, for THEM, not so good for the Bruins as they are now in Cap jail.

Which brings us to 2015 and with single digit games remaining, the home team finds themselves on the outside of the playoffs looking in and hoping they get help from others along the way. This was not the way this season was supposed to be played out. But if you’ve been paying attention all year, this team has been a Jekyll and Hyde masterpiece.
The Bruins began October with a mediocre 6-6 record and everyone thought, yeah, it’s early. They be OK. But you just knew that losing one of the core players of that 2011 team, Johnny Boychuk (traded to the New York Islanders before the season) would come back to haunt them. It did when Captain Zdeno Chara was lost for a number games to a knee injury, likewise David Krejci. November and January were Dr. Jekyll months as the Bruins had eight wins in 12 games in each of those months, while going 5-9 in December and a horrible Hyde-like 4-8 in February. Back to mediocre in March coming in so far with 6-7 after beating the Rangers at the TD Garden on Saturday. That win has them back in that eighth and final playoff spot as both Florida and Ottawa lost their games in overtime Saturday night and face each other Sunday.

Still no playoff spot is guaranteed as Boston is bunched up with the Senators and Panthers for final payoff spot. The Bruins still have two games to play against the Panthers which could decided the fate of either and they have to hope that the Sens have a collapse.

Two weeks to get things on the right track and look like the good Dr. Jekyll, otherwise Mr. Hyde could rear his ugly head and that would not be a good thing for the team and possibly coach and management!

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Bruins need to be consistent the rest of the way.

In what could have been, and almost was, essentially the end of the season, the Bruins entered this past three-game home stand on the brink of disaster.
Having failed miserably once again in a shootout on Thursday against the Calgary Flames, the Bruins sat seconds away from losing the first of back-to-back matinees to the Philadelphia Flyers. But they were rescued by a power-play, pulled-goalie tally and an overtime goal, both by Brad Marchand, which gave the Bruins three of a possible four points prior to the visit from the dangerous and talented Detroit Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.
The Bruins promptly came out and dispatched Detroit and put more distance between them and the ever-creeping-up Florida Panthers and the aforementioned Flyers.
It certainly hasn’t been easy for the Bruins. Coming out of the trade deadline acquiring Brett Connolly for draft picks and, in my mind, ridding themselves of Jordan Caron for veteran Maxime Talbot, the fandom had many questions. Among them: Why does Peter Chiarelli still has a job? Will he have a job come April? Likewise, should Boston fail to qualify to play in extra time at the NHL season’s end, will Claude Julien?
After losing six in a row, Boston has now been victorious in five of their last seven. But the road ahead for the Bruins is paved with potholes just like the ones we have on the streets of Boston. The Black and Gold have 11 of their remaining 17 games away from TD Garden and their road record is a mediocre 13-12-5. Nine of those games are against playoff teams and three are against the Florida Panthers, who trail Boston by four points for that final wild-card spot.
We never know what to expect from this team lately, but they had better get their act together because time is running out and they have foes, hot on their tail.


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Nothing Going Right for the Bruins

And the wheels keep coming off the wagon.
First, the players are always accountable and Friday in St. Louis, from goal on out, they were awful. Goaltending, defense, offense, nothing was there and that is all on the players. More on them later.
What bothered me more started Wednesday. After calling up Malcom Subban earlier in the week, every one knew, or thought they knew that he would make his NHL debut against the second worse team in the National Hockey League, the Edmonton Oilers, which would also coincide with giving Tuukka Rask an evening off, something he hasn’t had in what seems like forever. But no, Claude Julien chose to put Rask in net and what was supposed to be crucial two points for the Bruins, turned into one point and a loss, albeit a shootout loss for Rask. Something he is abysmal in and hates them.
Two days later Julien makes the brilliant decision to start the rookie Subban against one of the best teams in the league in their home building. After stopping three meek shots in the first period, the rookie let in a real softie, straight on, from the blue line, nobody in the path, off the glove and falls behind him and the flood gates were open as two more stoppable shots found their way to the back of the net. Three shots, three goals, enter Tuukka Rask. No rest for the weary, although he’s young enough and should not be weary!
Julien’s decision is mind boggling at best. Confidence starts when you have the best goaltending that you can have especially against better teams. To start what I think is the wrong goalie in the wrong games, shows lack of common sense. Earlier this year, Julien seemed to outfox himself when, he decided to play Niklas Svedberg against rival Montreal, because we all know the horrid record Rask has against the Canadiens. That didn’t work out either. Outcome be damned, you play your best against the best, and since Tuukka has been the best Bruin on the ice most of the year, it MUST be Rask to go against the better teams.
This was an important road trip for the Bruins and from beginning to end, it has been a disaster. A no show in Vancouver, a three goal lead dissolved in Calgary resulting in an overtime defeat, a shootout loss in Edmonton, and the blitzkrieg in St. Louis. Adding insult to injury is the fact that David Krejci went down with what looks like a knee injury.
Losers of seven of their last eight and a six game losing streak, and the trading deadline a bit more than a week away, the Bruins are as close to ruins as you can get. The Big Bad Presidents Trophy winning Bruins of last year, are more like cuddly Panda bear cubs following momma bear along playfully. Where are the leaders that are supposed to lead. Lots of emotionless players on the ice nightly and unsure of themselves.
As they head to Chicago to face the high octane of the Blackhawks, will it get any better? Currently they have a one point lead over the Florida Panthers, yes the Panthers, for the final playoff spot. Will they find a way to resurrect the game they played in January where they were just about unbeatable? Will Claude Julien continue with bizarre coaching decisions regarding the goaltending? Will management determine, with the trading deadline looming, whether they are buyers or sellers. It’s been a long time since we seen the Bruins as sellers, but what do they have of value that other teams covet? And with the salary cap situation they have put themselves in, can they wiggle around and get something of value or do they just blow it up. Sunday afternoon (Hockey Day in America) should give us a bit more insight as to where this team is going, but from these eyes, they won’t be going far even if they do stay in their precarious eight spot.


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The System is not working!

It’s “The System.” But just what is it?
To a man, if you ask the Boston Bruins what makes them a winning team, they will tell you it’s “the system.” If they play their system then everything works on the ice and they come out with two points on a nightly basis, sometimes rather impressively. But all too often this year, through 40 games (just about halfway through the season) they haven’t played that system.
The Bruins have had no identity this year. They have problems scoring, they have problems keeping the puck out of their net at crucial times and they have problems whenever it takes more than 60 minutes to decide a game. After this weekend’s overtime and shootout losses, it is apparent that there is no such thing as “winning time” for the Boston Bruins.
After Saturday’s overtime loss to Ottawa, Bruins coach Claude Julien said his team’s effort “was good enough” to win, but the result was not there.
“We’re not winning those and it’s frustrating for everybody,” he said.
Playing well enough to win and then going on to lose seems to be the only consistent thing the Bruins are achieving this season.
Sunday’s shootout loss to Carolina would certainly not fall into that category. It was flat out embarrassing from the start and Boston was lucky, fortunate, and thankful that they were playing the second-worst team in the National Hockey League. Still, Boston was outshot 14-4 in the first period and did not register a shot on goal until there were just over three minutes left in the opening stanza. They managed a mere two shots on former Bruin Anton Khudobin in the third. That is NOT playing well enough to win; that was surviving the Hurricanes.
We could have seen Sunday’s flop coming though. In the second part of back-to-backs this season, Boston has one win in seven contests.
Say what you want about Tuukka Rask, and there are many lunkheads out there suggesting that the Bruins should trade their netminder, but he has kept his team in numerous games, including both contests this weekend. Rask gave up two goals on Saturday and just one on Sunday in regulation, which should be enough to win in the NHL. But that is not the case when the guys in front of you can’t hit water if they fell out of a boat. Basic math tells you that you cannot win games if you cannot score goals — no matter who is tending goal.
So it appears that no system is working. No line changes, or lineup changes, have made a difference in the identity of this team halfway through the 2014-15 campaign. I’m not sure what management can do while they are so hamstrung with salary cap issues, but right now, they are far away from a playoff spot (currently sitting ninth in the Eastern Conference), and it doesn’t look like the winds of change are in the air.
Whatever system the Boston Bruins say works for them, they had better dump it quickly and latch on to a new one. Otherwise, they may be entering the Jack Eichel, Connor McDavid sweepstakes — a contest many thought (including the Bruins themselves) they would never be able to get into. But they’re closer we could have imagined.


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Bruins Trade Johnny Boychuk

“Johnny was upset. I was upset. I’m still upset.” The words from Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli after he sent defenseman Johnny Boychuk to the New York Islanders for two second round draft picks in the 2015 draft. If he thinks he and Boychuk are upset, he should hear the loud boom from the people who buy all those Bruins 55 Jerseys and others.

Chiarelli’s hand was forced, basically by his own hand, and by the Salary Cap Jail he backed himself into by signing a lot of his players to long term rich deals, some with no movement clauses in those deals, and now they have no money to play with as this season opens Wednesday night when the Bruins host the Philadelphia Flyers. On top of that they still have the Jerome Iginla hangover hanging over their head, meaning all of those incentives that Iginla hit last year, now The Bruins have to pay the piper and that means even though Iginla is no longer here, those incentives, delayed as they are, count against this years Cap.

What does this mean? It means the Bruins have 3.36M more to play with and as Chiarelli said during his press conference Saturday at the TD Garden, when asked if another shoe could drop, “There might be. A lot of things can happen. See how the team gels.” He also said that “tonight is the final audition for a lot of players.”

Boychuk, the ever popular player with fans and his teammates earlier in training camp had expressed his desire to remain in Boston for the rest of his career and was hoping somehow some way that it could happen. But as we all knew, his stock in the National Hockey League was rising and fast. Chiarelli said he told Johnny that he was glad he brought him to Boston. That he did everything that he was told to do. He got better as a player. You were part of the fabric of the team.” But as we all know, in the words of Don Corleone, It’s not personal Johnny, It’s just business. As an unrestricted free agent after this year, he will probably command 5-to-6 million per season and Boston does not have that room and/or desire to pay him that kind of money, despite the fact that Brooks Orpik, someone I think is not even close in talent to Boychuk is getting from the Washington Capitals.

Now it’s time for Chiarelli to figure out who else goes and who stays and just how to use that Long Term Insurance waiver they still have with Marc Savard not available to play. Are the Bruins as good right now as they were Friday night? Chiarelli says the trade “doesn’t make us better now, obviously” but from the looks of things, there are more pieces to be displaced and fitted into this Bruins puzzle!



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Shawn Thornton.

Shawn Thornton will no longer be part of the Boston Bruins, as general manager Peter Chiarelli announced the team will not bring back the fan-favorite on Monday.

Since the news broke, it seems as though most people have put Thornton into the Bruins Hall of Fame — if not hockey’s ultimate Graceland in Toronto. Sure, he protected his teammates, fought the other team’s tough guys, and when his line was on the ice, its purpose was to inject some energy into the team. A lot of times it did just that.

But a lot of other times, it did not. A lot of times that fourth line was a detriment to the team, and unfortunately, that was pretty obvious in the opening minutes of Game 7 against the Montreal Canadiens in this year’s Eastern Conference Semifinal series. The “Merlot” line turned the puck over at center, couldn’t get it out the Bruins zone, and 2:18 into that game, the Habs scored and school was out.

Now before you start sending me death threats, I know no one would spend seven seasons with the Boston Bruins and get the love and adulation from the fans like Thornton did without doing some really good things — both on and off the ice. Nor do you have a 10-year NHL career, win two Stanley Cups with different teams, and donate your time, money, and energy to charity without being the kind of player, teammate and person that Shawn Thornton is.

But when the season was over, anyone who knows hockey knew that it was almost a foregone conclusion that Thornton, an unrestricted free agent, had played his last game with the Spoked-B on his chest. Thornton admitted he wasn’t surprised by the news shortly after it broke, and he still hopes to catch on and play for another team next season, feeling that he still can contribute. That may or may not happen for the 36-year-old Thornton.

But let’s all remember, Thornton was just an average player. Sure, he is someone that any team would like to have, but he is not a MUST HAVE player; not someone who, when your team is struggling in one form or another, you would go out and say, ‘who can we trade to get Shawn Thornton?’

Remember, everyone is replaceable, and no matter what kind of guy he was in the Bruins’ locker room, the object of any sport is to win.

Does Thornton put you in a position to win your last game of the season? No. And at times this past season, he actually hurt the club.

No one, including me, who has ever talked or interviewed Thornton would have anything bad to say about him. He’s a stand-up guy who bled black-and-gold for seven years, and did even more for the city off the ice.

But to say Thornton is a “special player,” or to put him on the same pedestal as other Bruin greats like Orr, Bourque or Neely (which some have done), in any way, shape or fashion, would be entirely improper, wrong and stupid



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