Thornton not embarrassed by Lucic's fight

In last night’s Toronto and Boston game, a couple of heavy hitters took part is what I considered a fairly spirited fight. The Bruins’ Milan Lucic and the Leafs’ Colton Orr squared off, in about as equal a fight as you could hope for, size-wise.

The fight was a lengthy and if you would choose a winner, it would obviously be Orr. He landed a number of big shots, but Lucic stayed with it for a long time. He took some hard shots early but fought back; there was nothing about the fight that screamed ‘turtle!’ or anything like that, just the fact that Orr is clearly a better fighter.

On the very next faceoff, the Bruins’ big fighter took on Wayne Primeau. It’s just the nature of the game, it was exciting at that. I saw absolutely nothing wrong with anything that happened between the two fights.

Well, Don Cherry did.

“Thornton was embarrassed by this fight
coming up.
He was embarrassed. If you
don’t want to fight then don’t fight, but you can’t quit,” said Cherry.
“And that’s exactly what [Lucic] did. That’s the trouble with the
Bruins. You don’t hit. You don’t win fights. If you’re gonna get in a
fight then you go.

“Lucic is a good hockey
player, but if you’re
going to fight – you don’t quit. Look at him he’s looking at the
linesman to come on in. You don’t tell him to come on in [and break up
the fight]. You go out on your shield. If you’re going to get in a fight
and then you hide behind a linesman. That’s a disgrace if you’re the
Boston Bruins as far as I’m concerned.”

that’s certainly his opinion. If you watch the fight you can certainly
see Lucic back off a bit towards the end as if signaling the fight was
over. But this wasn’t an example of him taking a few shots and then
backing off; it was a lengthy fight and both he and Orr got some good
shots in before the linesmen stepped in.

Of course, Thornton
doesn’t feel it was a bad fight and he’s certainly not embarrassed.

“I thought it was necessary after their tough guy went
with Looch.” said Thornton. “I figured I’d answer the bell. It was a
good fight. I don’t know if it was necessary or not, but I just wanted
to show that we wouldn’t be pushed around.

was a
good fight. If they wanted to stop it they would have. They were still
swinging and there wasn’t any real damage being done. It was a good
fight. Punched each other in the head a couple of times and when they
came apart I think the refs did a good job of getting in there.”

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    Ryan Donato scores in NHL debut for Bruins (Video)


    One day ago the Boston Bruins signed US Olympian Ryan Donato to an entry level contract.

    On Monday, he was given an opportunity to immediately slide into their lineup against the Columbus Blue Jackets and he did not waste any time making an impact.

    After recording four shots on goal in the first period, Donato broke through with his first NHL goal in the second period (on his fifth shot of the game) when he blasted a one-timer home on a give-and-go with Torey Krug.

    Have a look.

    That goal tied the game at one early in the second period.

    Brad Marchand and Riley Nash would add goals not longer that to give the Bruins a 3-1 lead.

    All of that is happening against a Blue Jackets team that entered the night having won seven in a row, while the Bruins were playing without Patrice Bergeron, Rick Nash and Charlie McAvoy. Pretty deep team they have in Boston.

    Donato added two more assists after scoring his first goal.

    Unfortunately for the Bruins they were unable to hold on to that 3-1 lead and allowed Columbus to come from behind for the 5-4 overtime win.

    Prior to signing with Bruins (and along with his time on the US Olympic team) Donato had been playing his collegiate hockey at Harvard. He scored 26 goals and added 17 assists in 29 games this season.

    He was originally a second-round draft pick by the Bruins in 2014. That 2014 draft class has already produced David Pastrnak, Danton Heinen, and Anders Bjork.


    Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

    WATCH LIVE: Los Angeles Kings at Minnesota Wild

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    NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 season continues on Monday night when the Los Angeles Kings visit the Minnesota Wild. Puck drop is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET. You can catch all of the action on NBCSN or on our Live Stream.


    Tobias RiederAnze KopitarDustin Brown
    Tanner PearsonJeff CarterTrevor Lewis
    Kyle CliffordAdrian KempeTyler Toffoli
    Andy AndreoffNate ThompsonTorrey Mitchell

    Derek ForbortDrew Doughty
    Alec MartinezDion Phaneuf
    Jake MuzzinChristian Folin

    Starting goalie: Jonathan Quick

    [NHL on NBCSN: Kings, Wild continue pursuit of important points]

    WATCH LIVE – 8 P.M. ET

    Jason ZuckerEric StaalNino Niederreiter
    Zach PariseMikko KoivuMikael Granlund
    Tyler EnnisMatt CullenCharlie Coyle
    Marcus FolignoJoel Eriksson EkDaniel Winnik

    Ryan SuterMatt Dumba
    Jonas Brodin – Ryan Murphy
    Nick SeelerNate Prosser

    Starting goalie: Devan Dubnyk

    NHL GMs are at least trying to fix goalie interference reviews

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    Much like the NFL’s headaches when it comes to what is or isn’t a catch, a simple stroll around Hockey Twitter will often unearth loud groans about goalie interference reviews. At least when people aren’t grumbling about offside goal reviews, that is.

    From the viewpoints of reporters on hand for the latest round of GM meetings, it sounds like the league is at least attempting to sort out the latest mess.

    Granted, you could sense some of the fatigue on this issue from what Lightning GM Steve Yzerman had to say about it, via’s Dan Rosen:

    “You can clarify the standards, but each referee and everyone, you and I, has a different opinion,” Yzerman said. “Within that room everyone has a little different opinion on did it impact the goaltender. It’s subjective. No one is ever going to agree 100 percent.”

    Fair enough, but much of the frustration stems from the sheer confusion at hand, as there doesn’t seem to be a clear standard. It’s one thing to disagree with how an infraction is called, but at the moment, many feel like there’s far too much variation in calls.

    With that in mind, some GMs apparently hope to tweak the process by, ideally, limiting the number of people who are making the snap decisions on goalie interference:

    By “centralizing,” it could mean leaving that decision to “The Situation Room,” as Rosen explains:

    The meetings reportedly included test cases for goalie interference, with Rosen noting that GMs and media alike had trouble reaching a consensus on certain examples. That helps to illuminate the challenge at hand, but again, many people would probably be at least a bit happier if it was easier to anticipate what would and would not be called as interference.

    Quite a few numbers were thrown around about coaches challenges. ESPN’s Emily Kaplan shared a slide from the NHL that would argue that offside challenges have dropped off, likely because a failed challenge results in a delay of game penalty, but goalie interference remains a drag on the game.

    It’s a vaguely depressing yet informative chart:

    Ultimately, it seems like the league still has quite a bit to sort through, with totally fun subplots including the notion that goalies are being coached to embellish interference. Again, lots of fun.

    For fans of the sport, it’s about walking the line between getting it right and not grinding too many games to a screeching halt. One might ponder carrying over the delay of game penalty to challenging goalie interference alongside offside reviews, but that might not fly:

    Maybe Habs GM Marc Bergevin is correct in saying that just a small number of calls go wrong. Still, these challenges are slowing down games about two minutes at a time. That might not sound like much, though when it happens in the flow of an exciting back-and-forth contest, it can be a real killer.

    Let’s hope they improve the process, even if it ends up being a work in progress.

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

    Injury updates: Penguins’ Murray, others deal with concussions

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    NHL teams provided injury news updates on Monday, with the most noteworthy bits revolving around players dealing with concussions. Let’s sort through that mixed bag:

    • First, we’ll begin with promising news. Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan considers Matt Murray to be “an option” to play on Tuesday against the New York Islanders. That said, it’s a preliminary viewpoint, as Sullivan wants to see how Murray handles practice.

    You’d get the impression that the optimism is high despite that caveat, as the Penguins sent Tristan Jarry back to the AHL today. That could still change, but the team must feel a lot more confident about Murray being ready for the postseason.

    [The 2018 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs begin April 11 on the networks of NBC]

    Actually, it’s worth questioning whether it’s really worth risking Price’s health in meaningless games for Montreal, especially when you note that he’s frequently suffered from bad injury luck lately. Sure, he wants to play; that ambition is part of what makes him great. Concussions can be tricky, though, and you wonder if the reward would justify the risks involved.

    • Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba is in “concussion protocol,” according to TSN’s Sara Orlesky. Trouba will reportedly see specialists, which isn’t that shocking considering how shaken up he looked after getting the worst of a hard collision with Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars:


    • Also brutal: Noah Hanifin is out indefinitely in dealing with a concussion, via the Carolina Hurricanes.

    The 21-year-old set a new career-high with eight goals this season, and despite being limited to 71 games, he matched last season’s peak of 29 points. Hanifin is starting to show why he was the fifth pick of the 2015 NHL Draft as part of a stacked Hurricanes defense, yet much like his team, it looks like his season’s going to end on a low note.

    Hopefully he’ll be able to rebound fully in 2018-19.

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.