MIDDLETON — Everyone knows Shawn Thornton wanted to remain a Bruin.

MIDDLETON — Everyone knows Shawn Thornton wanted to remain a Bruin. Now that he’€™s had a couple months to accept that he won’€™t be, the veteran fighter is embracing his status as a Florida Panther.

“It’€™s exciting. It is,”€ Thornton said Monday at his annual Putts and Punches for Parkinson’€™s golf tournament. “€œI’€™m probably past the point of being down a little bit about not coming back. I can’€™t wait to get down there and get settled and start the next chapter.”€

Thornton said it’€™s been a busy summer of going back and forth between his home in Charlestown and Florida, where he’€™s been house-hunting and slowly getting settled in. His show of support Monday from current Bruins Tuukka Rask, Loui Eriksson, Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille shows that he certainly hasn’€™t been forgotten up here, and that he’€™ll keep his Boston friendships as he becomes a divisional opponent.

“Tuukka didn’€™t buy me out of my half of [our] boat, so I think we’€™re still friends,”€ Thornton joked.

Thornton made the playoffs in each of his seven seasons with the Bruins. That’€™s hardly a guarantee for him with the Panthers, who have reached the playoffs just once over the last 13 seasons (2011-12).

Amongst other moves this summer, general manager Dale Tallon (who knew Thornton from their Chicago days) brought in Thornton on a two-year, $2.4 million contract, which is the richest of the 37-year-old fighter’€™s career. The Panthers also shored up their goaltending last season by trading for Roberto Luongo. On the first day of free agency, Tallon brought in a group of veteran forwards that included Thornton, Dave Bolland and Jussi Jokinen.

How those signings help a young Panthers team remains to be seen, but Thornton hopes that between the veterans brought in and the young group already there (Erik Gudbranson, Aleksander Barkov and 2014 first overall pick Aaron Ekblad among them) the team will be able to get back to the postseason.

“I know they’€™re expecting big things from talking to them,” Thornton said of his new team. “Hopefully we deliver. I’€™d like to make the playoffs. Obviously I’€™m not a big fan of losing. I think they brought in some really good character guys. I think with their youth, they’€™re going in the right direction and I think they’€™re definitely improving. I’€™m hoping I can be a part of that.”

As for mentoring that young group of players in Florida, Thornton noted that Father Time has made that role pretty apparent.

“I’€™m going into my 17th or 18th year [Editor's note: 18th],” Thornton said with a smirk. “I don’€™t think anyone really needs to tell me to be an older guy in the room. I am whether I want to be or not.”

Thornton’s first game back in Boston will be on Nov. 4. Interestingly enough, it will be Thornton’s first time playing in Boston as an opponent despite having parts of four NHL seasons under his belt out west before coming to the Bruins.

“It will be weird,” he admitted. “I never played a game in the Garden until I had the Bruins jersey, so every game I’€™ve played in there [I'€™ve had] the spoked B, so it will be different. It will be weird. Maybe I’€™ll pull a groin or something.”

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

MIDDLETON –€” Loui Eriksson was among four current Bruins in attendance to support Panthers forward Shawn Thornton at his annual Putts and Punches for Parkinson’€™s golf t

Loui Eriksson

Loui Eriksson

MIDDLETON –€” Loui Eriksson was among four current Bruins in attendance to support Panthers forward Shawn Thornton at his annual Putts and Punches for Parkinson’€™s golf tournament at Ferncroft Country Club

Eriksson, who was traded to Boston last summer in the Tyler Seguin megadeal, is set to enter next month’€™s training camp as Boston’€™s first-line right wing. This comes after an up-and-down debut season in Boston that saw the now-29-year-old forward struggle with concussions and adjustment to a new team.

The longtime Dallas Star told WEEI.com Monday that he didn’€™t anticipate such a rocky time adjusting to his new team last season, but then again nobody could have expected injuries hitting Eriksson, as he had played every game in all but one of the previous five seasons.

The lack of offensive production (he finished the season with 10 goals and 27 assists for 37 points in 61 regular season games) led to some impatience from fans, but Eriksson, who scored 36 goals in the 2008-09 season and was an All Star in 2011, said the fans should have held him to a high standard.

“It was tougher than I thought, actually, but it was something I have to live with, too. Of course they should have high expectations,” Eriksson said. “It was kind of a tough beginning of my season to play for Boston with all the concussions and everything a new system. I thought I was getting into it more at the end of the season and into the playoffs.”

Check back later for more on Eriksson and what he expects from his second season in Boston. For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

The Czech Republic handed Canada a 5-2 loss Friday at the world junior development camp, with the victory led by Bruins first-round pick David Pastrnak.

Pastrnak, a right wing selected 25th overall by the B’€™s in June, scored two goals for the Czech Republic and added an assist.

The Bruins liked what they saw out of the 18-year-old at last month’€™s development camp, with B’€™s general manager Peter Chiarelli not ruling out the possibility of him competing for a roster spot on the NHL team this season.

We explored the possibility of Pastrnak potentially making the leap to the NHL. Click here for the story.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Here’s DJ Bean’s attempt at pulling off the smoothest ice bucket challenge to raise money and awareness for ALS. If you haven’t yet, please read up and donate at ALSA.org.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

Folks have been saying it since Game 7 against the Canadiens, and Gregory Campbell’s been hearing it since Game 7 against the Canadiens: The Merlot Line model is no longer the way to build a fourth line in the NHL



LOWELL –€” Though he tossed the first pitch prior to Wednesday’€™s Spinner’€™s game, Gregory Campbell will not be a pitcher next season.

For those who have been following their growth, it's been evident for a while that hockey's advanced stats are here to stay. They've provided us with a new way to watch and analyze the game. They've quantified ideas that previously couldn't be quantified. And they've proven to be a better predictor of future success than anything else that's available.



SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN

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LOWELL –€” Though he tossed the first pitch prior to Wednesday’€™s Spinner’€™s game, Gregory Campbell will not be a pitcher next season. From there, it gets tougher to narrow down which position he’€™ll play.

Campbell, who has centered Boston’€™s fourth line since the B’€™s acquired the former second-round pick in a trade with the Panthers prior to the 2010-11 season, is due to see plenty of change in the coming season. For starters, Shawn Thornton is gone. Daniel Paille may move up to replace Loui Eriksson on the third line. Plus, with Ryan Spooner and Alexander Khokhlachev knocking on the NHL‘€™s door, Campbell may be moved to wing. Peter Chiarelli said the possibility has been discussed and that the team feels he’€™d be able to handle it.

Discussing the possibility of the position switch for the first time, Campbell told WEEI.com he would put up no fight if moved to the wing.

“I’€™ve been a center for the last four years, but I’€™m not going to [demand anything]. I want to be in a spot where I can complement other guys,” Campbell said. “If they throw me with whoever it is and I have to play wing and we’€™re a successful line, then so be it. That’€™s where I want to be. I have played center for a long time, so it may take me a few games, but I’€™m sure I can do it.”

The position wouldn’€™t be completely new for Campbell. He played some wing over the course of his five-season tenure with the Panthers, and he’€™s confident he’€™d be able to swing it.

“I played wing in Florida for a while in different seasons,”€ he said. “€œI think the last season I was in Florida I was actually a winger, so I’€™m comfortable with doing that. Obviously I haven’€™t played wing in some time now, but it’€™s a position that I think is easy to adapt to. It’€™s not necessary an easy position to play, but the responsibilities are a little different and I’€™m used to those responsibilities and would welcome the challenge.”

The Bruins are no strangers to moving veteran centers to the wing. Just last season, Chris Kelly was moved to left wing to accommodate Carl Soderberg. In 2011, the B’€™s traded for Rich Peverley and made him a wing on Kelly’€™s line.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean