Shawn Thornton and Alexei Emelin go way back, and not in the “we’ve been best friends forever” kind of way.
The two players were big parts of the rivalry between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens when Thornton still skated for the Black and Gold. He’s since moved on to the Florida Panthers, and Emelin remains in Montreal, where they renewed acquaintances Thursday night.
Thornton took exception to what some might see as a questionable high hit from Emelin on Florida captain Derek MacKenzie. Almost immediately after Emelin delivered the hit, Thornton jumped the Montreal defenseman and tried to fight him as Emelin ducked down on the ice.
Coincidentally, the incident came in the same exact spot these two mixed it up in 2012.
But the biggest news out of Thursday’s game might have been what Thornton said after the contest. The longtime enforcer ripped into Emelin, calling him an “idiot” and saying Emelin is “what’s wrong with the league these days.”
Issues with Emelin are nothing new, especially when Bruins players — past or present — are involved. The Montreal blue liner is capable of landing thunderous hits that don’t always sit well with opponents. Obviously, not all of those are dirty, but he sometimes toes the line with his hitting.
What’s especially annoying, though, is Emelin rarely fights, even when challenged after his hits. Emelin needed facial reconstruction after a fight in the KHL in 2009 which since has more or less kept him from fighting.
Whether Emelin should tone it down because he’s basically unable to answer by dropping the gloves isn’t a new debate, and we’re pretty sure of where Thornton would land in that discussion.
Thumbnail photo via Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports Images
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