Bruins forward Shawn Thornton has had a career year this season, setting highs with nine goals and 18 assists in a campaign that seems to argue with him strictly being called an enforcer. Now, those efforts — and how far he’s come — have been recognized, at least locally. The Boston chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association has chosen Thornton as the Bruins’ candidate for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.”

[Updated: 11:00 p.m.] If the those on hand for Saturday’s matinee between the Bruins and Thrashers didn’t appear to be on the edge of their seats at the Garden, it’s because they weren’t.



Just minutes after clinching their second Northeast crown in three seasons, Bruins winger Brad Marchand made it clear the team still has a significant goal to accomplish before the playoffs - finishing first in the East. 

Daniel Paille scored an unassisted short-handed goal and Michael Ryder scored on a penalty shot with 7:29 left in regulation to lead the Bruins to a 3-2 win over the Thrashers Saturday afternoon at TD Garden. The win clinches the Northeast Division for the Bruins and assures them of no lower than the No. 3 seed in the upcoming Eastern Conference playoffs and home-ice advantage in the first round. With 99 points, the Bruins trail first-place Philadelphia by just three points in the East. 

After scoring 21 goals and adding 19 assists in 72 games, Bruins winger Brad Marchand was honored as the 2010-11 Bruins "Seventh Player Award" given to the Bruins player who goes above and beyond expectations.

Technically still a rookie, the 22-year-old Marchand has earned the trust of his coaching staff by playing the left wing on the team's second line, playing with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi. 

After missing most of the season with a shoulder injury, defenseman Shane Hnidy has been cleared by coach Claude Julien to return to action today against the Thrashers in a matinee at TD Garden.

Hnidy suffered the injury during camp with the Coyotes in September and spent the first half of the season rehabbing it before signing as a free agent with the Bruins at the end of February. 

Bruins coach Claude Julien said Thursday that there was "nothing to report" after Zdeno Chara was absent from the game 17:14 of the second period to 3:05 of the third period against the Maple Leafs, but eyebrows were once again raised when the captain did not take the ice in Friday's practice at TD Garden.

After the skate, Julien reassured reporters that there isn't any reason for concern with the captain, and that he will be in the lineup when the B's host the Thrashers at TD Garden Saturday.

Enough games have been played to properly summarize Brad Marchand in his rookie season: He plays scrappy, he kills penalties and he talks. A lot.



Joffrey Lupul scored twice and added an assist while Phil Kessel assisted on both Lupul goals as the Maple Leafs beat the Bruins, 4-3, in a shootout Thursday night at TD Garden. The loss kept the Bruins from clinching the Northeast Division title, which would assure the Bruins of finishing no lower than a No. 3 seed in the upcoming Eastern Conference playoffs and would lock up home ice in the first round. 

Shawn Thornton was not happy after somebody chirped at him from the Chicago bench while he was leaving the ice Tuesday night. Thornton, who was bloodied after getting his face mangled by Fernando Pisani‘s blade, said after the game that he wanted to find out who it was, and has since said that the Blackhawks like to chirp. One Blackhawk took exception to it with some colorful language.