"A nice relaxing break," added Thornton. "So we’re ready to get back after it."
The B's better be ready, because the Ottawa Senators remain just four points behind Boston for the Northeast Division lead. But for the Bruins, who hit a rough patch right before the All-Star break, the days away from the rink left the club recharged.
"It comes at the right time just because it’s the end of January I think," explained Thornton. "It’s a welcome break for the guys that get to get away and get their heads away from it for a little bit.
"It’s more of the time of year than anything," added Thornton. "We’ll see what happens here, but personally I feel pretty good."
That feeling was echoed by Brad Marchand
, who repeated his sentiments that "it was nice to relax for a bit and get away from hockey."
But there's no getting away from the fact that teams will continue to gun for the B's and with Boston's having won their last six meetings with the Sens, Ottawa has as much reason to target the Black & Gold as any club.
"Yeah, they’re a really good team," said Marchand. "They have a lot of skill over there and a lot of young guys that are working really hard and they’re always a tough team to play against and they seem to be playing really good hockey."
Thornton shared that opinion.
"I see a hard working team that’s pretty well coached with a goalie that’s fairly hot this year," said Thornton of Ottawa's Craig Anderson (25-16-4). "I played with him in the minors and when he’s on he’s on.
"They’re definitely not sneaking up on anybody anymore.
"They’re only four points behind us...so it’ll be a good game for us coming up off the break," he said.
Looking at his old locker room, and just under a year removed from the traded that sent him to Boston from Ottawa, Chris Kelly
tried to put a finger on the changes that have made the Senators into a contender.
"I think it’s a happy bunch. A happy group," said Kelly. "I still talk to lots of them and I think they’re enjoying being at the rink each and every day and success does that, but I think maybe the atmosphere over there has been changed where it’s a more enjoyable atmosphere.
"They work hard, there’s no question there and I’m sure, I’ve talked to the guys practice days are work days but they’re having fun again."
But Kelly wasn't surprised to see such a turnaround.
"No, not really," he said. "They had great players over there and good young players and I think they made the right moves in all areas and like I said they’re playing as a team and having fun.
"They have a young group, but have good veteran guys helping them and the young group is making the older guys feel young again which is nice to see."
Also nice to see were some of the smiles that had left the Bruins locker room during the club's subpar play in mid-January.
"Yeah we haven’t been playing our best hockey as of late, so we just want to regroup and make sure we peak at the right time and put a good string of game together here," said Marchand. "We have a lot of games coming up in the near future so just want to make sure we’re prepared for each game."
Asked if energy was an issue for the Bruins, whose shortened summer was cited for the club's slow start in October, Marchand said it was possible.
"But that should be out of our system with a few good days of break and a lot of time to relax," said the forward. "I always feel it when I get away from hockey, but I come back really excited to play and I felt I was excited to back and yesterday I was excited to be on the ice again so it’s always a good feeling."