BOSTON -- Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien surprisingly admitted Thursday that he'd discourage his fourth line of Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton from engaging in any extracurricular activity that would take them off the ice if the New York Rangers' fourth line attempted to coax the Bruins' energy players.
Even Thornton was surprised by his coach's comment when he heard about it through a question from the media.
"He said that?" asked Thornton, the Bruins' leader in fighting majors, a few hours before taking the ice for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals Saturday at TD Garden.
The Bruins have the Rangers down 3-1 in the series. The desperate Rangers might take Julien's comments as an invitation to cross the line physically. But Thornton had a warning should that be the case.
"I think ... we've been contributing so far in these playoffs and hopefully we'll continue to contribute. With that being said, if people are taking liberties or trying to take advantage of any of the guys, that doesn't mean [our gloves] are sewn onto our sleeves," Thornton said.
Thornton went on to explain that he didn't fight Kris Newbury in Game 4 because the invitation came with the Bruins ahead 2-0 at the time.
"That was more of a reason than anything else. I probably wouldn't have fought that time during any game, the same as if they were up 2-0, I'm sure if we were trying to change momentum I'm sure it'd be the same way," Thornton said. "So I wouldn't read too much into it other than the fact that I've been doing this for a long time and I'm kind of good at figuring out when to do it."