Taking care of my 7-month-old and traveling to Tampa today cut me out of the popular parlor game “guess which Bruins player sits after Patrice Bergeron returns.”
So forgive me for catching up with that now.
Unfortunately, the only logical way to make room for both Bergeron and Tyler Seguin in tomorrow night’s Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final against Tampa Bay is to sit Shawn Thornton. Everyone knows how valuable Thornton is to the Bruins on and off the ice. And this is no slight to what he brought to the team this year in regards to both his usual grit and his surprising 10 goals.
This is all a tribute to the Bruins’ depth now that Bergeron appears healthy and Seguin has morphed into a man. Thornton has said all along, as his role in the playoffs has diminished to a shift or four a night, that he’s all about team and he’ll do whatever the team thinks is right to win. He’s been here before. He was a healthy scratch for one game against Carolina, as the Bruins searched for more offense. And last spring he was the odd man out for one game when Marc Savard came back against Philadelphia.
Today head coach Claude Julien made it clear that he was still mulling things over with his staff and general manager Peter Chiarelli for a lineup. But in a rare break from Julien tradition, he declared Seguin will be in regardless of Bergeron’s status (which sounds as close to a definite as can be without being definite).
Here’s how my lines would look if I was Julien (with more hair):
Julien alluded to how well that third line played together in Game 2. So I’m almost certain he’ll keep that line together. All the people suggeting Mark Recchi get bumped down are forgetting not just what a slap in the face that would be to a future Hall-of-Famer but how much better he plays when he has Bergeron as his center.
With Peverley and Paille on Campbell’s wings, that fourth line not only becomes an energy group but a speedy offensive threat that would definitely give Tampa Bay some match-up problems.
So there you have it. A simple drop of Peverley down the depth chart and Thornton to the press box and the Bruins have the recipe for seven more wins and the Stanley Cup. Boy, that was easy.