BOSTON (CBS) — John Scott and Shawn Thornton have a bit of a history, so it wasn’t surprising to see the two heavyweights go toe-to-toe in the opening minutes of Thursday night’s game between the Bruins and Sabres. What was somewhat stunning to witness was Thornton decidedly lose the bout, but the bad news for Thornton didn’t end there.
The Bruins’ enforcer headed straight to the dressing room after serving his five-minute major penalty, and the Bruins announced after the first period that he wouldn’t be returning to the game.
On Friday morning, general manager Peter Chiarelli announced that Thornton suffered a concussion and will be out of the lineup for the next 7-10 days.
Thornton did not appear to be dazed after the fight, which saw him absorb about six punches to the head before getting shoved to the ice by the 6-foot-8 Scott. The two could be seen exchanging some words from their respective penalty boxes, with Thornton as the initiator.
Thornton and Scott’s history traces back to late March 2011, when Thornton’s face was gashed open by a skate. As Thornton, a bloody mess, skated toward the Bruins bench, he heard some words from the Chicago bench that he didn’t appreciate, and he had to be restrained by an official to keep away from the Blackhawks.
Scott, then a member of the Blackhawks, told reporters that Thornton was “more than welcome to come chirp at me. I’ll kick the [expletive] out of him.”
Scott said Thursday night that he did exchange some words with Thornton prior to the game, but the Sabres’ tough guy wasn’t exactly gloating about the unanimous victory.
“He’s obviously one of the tougher guys in the league, and it just happened,” Scott said. “I kind of got the right grip, and kind of had him on the run, and it just happened that way. He will bounce back. He’s a tough guy and he’ll probably fight me again, and probably do a lot better next time.”
Scott also said he was concerned when Thornton didn’t return to the game.
“I was asking our trainers how he’s doing. You never want to hurt somebody,” Scott said. “I was kind of concerned after the first period we never saw him again. So I still don’t know how he’s doing, hopefully he’s doing well. You hate to see someone leave the game like that.”
The sight of Thornton losing a fight and leaving the game was something even his teammates weren’t all that prepared to witness.
“It’s tough to see, but he’s a tough guy as everybody knows,” Tuukka Rask said. “He’ll bounce back. It takes some balls to fight a guy like that that’s two heads taller than you. That’s really all I can say.”
The seven-to-10-day timetable would have Thornton returning to the ice on Feb. 9 at home against Tampa Bay or Feb. 10 at Buffalo. Of course, given the tricky nature of head injuries and concussion, the timetable should not necessarily be considered a hard date for Thornton’s return.