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."