BOSTON -- After suffering a gash on his forehead Tuesday night, compliments of Blackhawks forward Fernando Pisani's errant skate, Boston Bruins forward Shawn Thornton wasn't in the lineup for Thursday night's 4-3 overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Although Thornton was on the ice Thursday morning sporting a new helmet with a half shield, he has not been cleared to play.
Thornton and coach Claude Julien both said the rugged winger, who needed 40 stitches to close the cut, is day to day.
"I'm told I am medically not cleared I guess due to the amount of stitches inside and that's the doctor's call," said Thornton, who planned on being reevaluated by team doctors Thursday night. "I guess they want to give it a couple more days since we have extra bodies. There's no point in risking it getting ripped open so I'm not going tonight."
Julien said that the team just wanted to be cautious.
"I think the doctors wanted to make sure ... he took a lot of stitches but not just what you see on the outside, but on the inside as well," Julien said. "So it's obviously a dangerous area. They certainly want to be cautious about it and we're going to respect that. And obviously he's going to miss tonight. When the medical people told him that, what was at stake, I think he understood. When I talked to him there was no pushing back. I'm sure he'd love to play, but just because you're a tough guy doesn't mean you're not a smart guy also."
Although he said he would prefer not to wear a shield or mask, Thornton credited the team trainers for making the new helmet and half shield as comfortable as possible.
"Trainers did a great job of getting it ready to go," Thornton said. "I had to cut a bunch of padding in the front where my head is swollen but it was fine. Other than the fact that I've been wearing the same helmet for 12 years and it's a different helmet, it's as comfortable as it could be with this many stitches in my head."
Thornton spent Wednesday shopping as he tried to distract himself from thinking about how close the gash was to his eye and what could have happened had it been a couple of inches lower.
"I know it could've been worse, but it could've been better, too, and not get kicked in the forehead, but yeah, I'm aware if it could've been a little bit lower, it could've been very dangerous," Thornton said. "I try not to dwell on that too much."
One thing he won't forget is the Blackhawks player yapping at him as he skated off the ice, bleeding. Thornton said he didn't know who it was yet, but when he finds out, he will take care of it. However, he wasn't letting on what that meant.
"You think I'm stupid enough to tell ya?" he said with a laugh when asked what he might do to the player. "We'll have a conversation I'm sure if I ever find out who it is."
James Murphy covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.