BostonBruins.com – Lane MacDermid, the brawny, 6-foot-3, 205-pound winger, broke camp with Bruins a few weeks back, but hadn’t hit the ice in a game until Thursday night’s battle with Buffalo at TD Garden.
He had been the healthy scratch for the B’s first six games, but with Head Coach Claude Julien giving Chris Bourque a game to step back and try to relieve some pressure from himself, MacDermid got the call.
MacDermid played just 4:12, partly due to the fact that Thornton was hurt on the line’s first shift of the night – just 2:53 into the game – after a scrap with the Sabres’ John Scott.
MacDermid, who has 41 fights over the past three seasons between the NHL and AHL, is always ready to drop the gloves if necessary.
“I’m always ready if the situations arises, if I have to stick up for a teammate if something happens. I always have that in the back of my mind. I was ready,” said MacDermid, who had tallied three goals, two assists, and 73 penalty minutes in 32 games for Providence before being invited to Bruins training camp.
The dangers that fighting present were on full display when Thornton took several hard punches from the much larger Scott, and Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced on Friday that No. 22 would miss 7-10 days due to a concussion.
MacDermid added that, despite the risk that come with fighting, he respects his role.
“Fighter, non-fighter, there’s injuries. You don’t really think about it, you just go out there and do your best.”
Julien acknowledged that fighting is a dangerous game and while it is tough to lose a player like Thornton, who is one of the leaders in the dressing room, it is part of hockey.
“It is tough,” said Julien, following the Bruins’ practice in Wilmington Friday morning. “Here’s a guy [Thornton] who does everything for his teammates and his team. Unfortunately, there’s always a risk in that job.
“He took on a pretty big man, as we all know, six-eight, maybe around 280 pounds. He handled himself as best as he could, but those things are going to happen. At the end of the day, he still was willing to do it for his team. Not only do we lose a guy who does it well, he’s a good teammate, he’s great in the dressing room.”
When it was suggested that MacDermid would step into Thornton’s role as enforcer on the fourth line, Julien disagreed. The Bruins, Julien said, are “team tough,” and don’t have a particular player to step in and protect others.
“I don’t think Shawn was the only guy that does that,” Julien explained. “When you look back, Looch [Milan Lucic] has dropped the gloves a couple times, we know [Adam] McQuaid [can fight]. We like to consider ourselves team tough, we stick up for each other. You’ve seen [Andrew] Ference step in there at times.
“It’s not about one guy, it’s about our whole team being that. We say team tough, sticking up for each other. I think we’ve done that well. No doubt Shawn is going to be missed for all the right reasons, not the wrong ones.
“Hopefully, he’ll be back soon.”
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