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Bruins Camp: Thornton enjoys day with 'skilled guys'

Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 1:19 PM

By Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent / Super Saturday

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Bruins Camp: Thornton enjoys day with 'skilled guys'
BOSTON -- One of the keys early in the Bruins' Game 7 win in the Stanley Cup Final at Vancouver was the relentless play of their fourth line.

The trio of Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton centered by Gregory Campbell was ferocious on the forecheck and barely allowed the Canucks to possess the puck, let alone move it out of their own end.

So what was the deal with Paille and Campbell skating with rookie Jamie Arniel and Thornton skating with draft pick Alexander Khokhlachev and rookie Calle Ridderwall during the Bruins' first on-ice training camp practice at TD Garden today?

"Yeah, there's a coup," explained the always-witty Thornton. "They went into Claude's office yesterday and he wouldn't tell me that, but I'm pretty sure put that onto him. No, they wanted to put me with more skilled guys, so I went with the young Russian kid because they felt that might game suited his better."

Thornton, who lives in Boston year round, started skating in informal practices with his teammates a couple weeks ago. So getting onto the Garden ice with his colleagues for something sanctioned by the team under the watchful eye of the coaches was a step up in importance and intensity.

"It felt good. It wasn't ridiculously tough," he said. "It was good to get our legs back underneath us and there's a little bit of rust for everybody, I'm sure. There's lots of time to get ready."
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It was a big dream. [Messi] is probably the best athlete out there, so it's a big honor, for [Kuznetzov] as well. It's maybe a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet the best player in soccer right now. I'm a big Barcelona fan and Messi fan, so it's huge. You can take [Michael] Jordan, [Mark] Messier, [Wayne] Gretzky, those kinds of [people]. It's an honor to meet. It's nice to be in that position.

— Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin told told Monumental Network after meeting soccer star Lionel Messi prior to Argentina's practice at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Md. on Friday