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Bruins Thornton Talks ‘Playing Policeman’

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Shawn Thornton #22 of the Boston Bruins hits Petteri Nokelainen #15 of the Montreal Canadiens at the TD Garden on December 19, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeated the Canadiens 3-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Shawn Thornton #22 of the Boston Bruins hits Petteri Nokelainen #15 of the Montreal Canadiens at the TD Garden on December 19, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeated the Canadiens 3-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Boston Bruins

BOSTON (CBS) – Boston Bruins forward Shawn Thornton is ready for some relaxing time off when the Christmas break hits the NHL this weekend.

“I’m not doing much, just going to relax,” he told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich Thursday morning. “I have no plans, nothing whatsoever really.”

The Bruins host the Florida Panthers Friday night, and then don’t hit the ice until the following Thursday in Phoenix. It’s been a good month for the defending champs, going 7-2 in December and coming off wins over their conference rivals in Montreal and Philadelphia.

The Bruins embarrassed the Flyers in Philly on Saturday to the tune of 6-0. In that game, Thornton saw some time on the Bruins second line next to Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

“It was probably after five years of seeing my uncanny ability to score goals in practice,” Thornton joked. “I can’t think of any other reason other than my skills, I belong on that line.”

Of course, the reason he found himself on the second line was to protect Marchand, who was targeted by Philadelphia’s Scott Hartnell during the game.

“He took one (run at Marchand) and Johnny Boychuk stepped up and did a great job sticking up for Marchy,” said Thornton. “I was just playing policeman; out there patrolling, making sure nothing happened to those guys. Our top line with (David Krejci) has two wingers (Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton) who are two unbelievable players and two of the toughest guys in the league. I think with the Bergeron line with (Tyler Seguin) out there, they don’t really have that element as much… I think I was just out there making sure nothing happened to those guys.”

Thornton also touched on Montreal forward Mathieu Darche, who had some words for him during Boston’s 3-2 win on Monday.

“I played against that guy a long time. He always comes in and tries to push me in the draw and I kind of get sick of it after a while,” said Thornton, who added Darche usually skates away after the exchange. “That’s the gist of it. There might be a few F-Bombs in there, out of my mouth, but that’s pretty much the gist of it.”

“I doubt he’s going to get his gloves off with me anyways,” said Thornton. “You have to keep your temper in check with those guys, as difficult as it is with the rivalry and all. It seems like the only time we have a problem with that is when we get in penalty trouble.”

After hosting Florida, Boston hits the road for three straight away from the Garden, and have a stretch in January where they play six of seven on the road. That shouldn’t be a problem for the Bruins, who are 10-3 on the road this season after going 24-12-2 last year.

Thornton said sometimes getting away from their home ice is a good thing.

“I don’t know. I like it. We’re pretty composed on the road,” said Thornton. “There are no distractions, there are a lot of things you could say, but I don’t have a definite answer. There isn’t much to do on the road, just eat, sleep and play hockey. That’s really all your focus is. When you’re home, guys have family and things going on. That might be part of it.”

Hear Shawn Thornton on Toucher & Rich in its entirety:

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