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Thornton Glad to See Familiar Faces

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins

MIDDLETON, MA -- Shawn Thornton hit the links on Monday morning for his third annual "Putts and Punches for Parkinson's" charity golf tournament and was thrilled at the turnout.

"Hopefully we can raise some good money for Parkinson's it’s been running very smooth for the last couple years," said Thornton. "The support's been pretty remarkable."

What's also remarkable was that Thornton spent so much of his pre-tournament time fielding questions on the upcoming season.

"I’m right where I need to be," he said. "I went up and saw the strength coach last week and did some testing to make sure everything was what it was supposed to be at and we had a little extra time, so I’m probably definitely stronger than I was at this time last year, only having a month to get into it.

"So I feel good."

That's particularly so because of the familiar faces that remain in the B's locker room.

"I mean I like the guys we have," said Thornton with a wide grin. "Selfishly, I’m very happy that we have my two liney’s back [in Daniel Paille & Gregory Campbell] we’ve definitely created a chemistry over the last couple years.

"We just know where each other are and we know certain things that communication doesn’t have to be verbal all the time, so you can kind of read off each other.

"It takes a little bit of the learning curve out of camp for us, which is nice so I’m excited once we get things going that we have this group."

But looking at the prospects and professionals who will join him at camp, Thornton understands that nothing is set in stone.

"There’s always competition," said the B's beat cop. "I think competition’s a good thing; it pushes people.

"I haven’t put a whole lot of thought into it yet I’m not gonna lie to you, it’s August so I haven’t been putting too much thought into it and am just training away.

"You know every year there’s a couple of guys that make room for themselves at camp and that’s a good thing no one’s comfortable, so let’s hope I’m around."

Complacency is the biggest enemy at this time of year, and the B's most prolific pugilist said nobody in the Boston locker room is comfortable.

"I think everyone in that room’s pretty smart," said Thornton. "I think we’ve been around each other long enough to know each other.

"There’s not a whole lot of complacency in the room anyways so as an older guy, as a leader, you always have to try and lead by example first and foremost," he said. "If you have to say some things, you have to say some things.

"But I think most of the guys in our room get it, and they have for a while now, so there shouldn’t be too many problems."

But the B's do face a conference that is getting bigger and stronger, and will most likely do so without two-time Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas

"I guess we’ve kind of created that being the Big Bad Bruins," said Thornton of the rest of the Northeast Division getting bigger and tougher. "We want to compete with that, so I guess it’s a compliment at the end of the day.

"I’m not too worried about it," added Thornton. "We kind of play the way we play.

"What’s going on on the other side doesn’t affect us we kind of just go about our thing. I’m sure it will continue to go that way this year."

Thornton thinks that can happen even without No. 30 between the pipes.

"I’ve talked to Tuuks, he’s excited, he’s ready to go, he’s been waiting for this opportunity," said Thornton of Rask. "There’s a lot of trust in him, we’ve seen what he can do.

"His numbers kind of speak for themselves as far as his save percentage and his goals against, he’s always right up there in the tops of the league.

"He was I guess fortunate and unfortunate enough to be behind Timmy but I think he’s been quite capable to be a starter probably on other teams before this so we’re happy to have him."

And it seems that Rask and the rest of the B's are happy to have Thornton and "The Merlot" line back together.

"Yeah, I mean, there’s a lot of talk about that line during the season for a good reason," said Rask. "When they’re on they’re really on, and they give us the boost we maybe need when we’re not scoring goals or whatever and then they jump in and then they just turn the momentum back.

"So it’s good, I know they like each other they like to play with each other and hopefully they can keep up the good work for us." 

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