After receiving 40 stitches in his head following a second period collision with a skate in Tuesday night’s game, Bruins forward Shawn Thornton
will be out of the lineup tonight against Toronto.
“I’m told I’m medically not cleared due to, I guess, the amount of stitches inside,” Thornton said. “That’s the doctors call, that’s the only thing. I guess they want to give it a couple more days since we have extra bodies.”
The stitched up slice above Thornton’s eye, and subsequent swelling, has forced the B’s resident tough guy, who participated in Boston’s morning skate, to wear a half-shield on his helmet.
“Trainers did a good job of getting it ready to go, obviously I had to cut a bunch of padding out of the front where me head is swollen, but it was fine,” Thornton said of his new helmet.
“Other than the face that I’ve been wearing the same helmet for 12 years, and it’s a different helmet it’s as comfortable as it could be with this many stitches in my head.”
Wearing a half-shield is a personal preference of the players, as the NHL does not mandate them, but often times, as Bruins head coach Claude Julien said, there’s an “old school,” feeling towards not wearing a shield.
“Some players have grown up with it and I would always encourage a player to wear one if he can play with one. But there’s people from the old school that didn’t have those and they feel that they can’t get comfortable with it. So again I think that’s something that is of preference right now,” Julien said.
“Whether eventually as we move on here in this game, whether it becomes mandatory, we’ll have to see because most guys come up now playing with one.”
The 33-year-old Thornton, is not one of those players, but has worn a half shield in the past.
“Two years ago here, I had a big gash on my forehead again and I had to wear one for a couple of games,” Thornton said. “And my last year in the minors, it was mandatory for the fifteen games I played down there.”
Thornton’s displacement from the lineup has jump-started the Boston coaching staff’s plan to begin inserting players that have been recent scratches into the lineup.
Tonight, Michael Ryder will replace Thornton on Boston’s fourth line and defenseman Steven Kampfer will play on the blueline, while Johnny Boychuk
Ryder, who has been scratched recently after playing most of the season on Boston’s third line, is ready to get back in game action, but doesn’t take the cost of Thornton’s stitches lightly.
“We were upstairs and we just saw him fall and we saw the blood gushing too,” Ryder said of the incident. "We didn’t know how bad it was, but we thought it was a skate.”
“Then when he turned around at their bench and started going at them, we get he would have been alright after that."
In terms of his own game, Ryder is looking to make simple plays in his return to the lineup, hoping to rediscover his game, something Julien thinks Ryder has let slip in recent weeks.
“You definitely want to be in the line-up that’s for sure,” Ryder said. “And when you get in there you don’t want to try and do too much, just go out there and try and work hard and make sure you help the team instead of hurting it.
“So that’s what I’m going to try to do tonight.”
Julien emphasized that the roster are not based on player performance, but rather on keeping players fresh for the postseason, where anything can happen.
“We’re going to kind of maybe rotating guys in and out. Nothing to do with their play more than we have an opportunity to give some guys some playing time, which we want to make sure we do, and we’ll work through it,” Julien said.