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Boston Bruins tough guy Shawn Thornton(notes) is one of those blue-collar players coach Claude Julien likes to talk about, one who simply connects with the fans and the community. Typically he looks the part, too, rocking a Boston Red Sox hat during interviews in the playoffs.

Why the NHL told Shawn Thornton to ditch Red Sox hat

Until recently, that is.

Renaud Lavoie of RDS reported that the NHL told Thornton "he can't wear his Red Sox cap anymore when he's doing TV interviews." The image above left is Thornton during Thursday's press availability.

Some Boston fans were indignant about the move and questioned the NHL's priorities, so we asked the NHL for its rationale. From John Dellapina, senior director of media relations:

"We'd prefer that our players wear only NHL and licensed merchandise at our events. The revenue from sale of both is split between the clubs and players."

Plus, the NHL generally discourages players from wearing ball caps during Media Day because it obscures their faces on TV. Which makes sense.

Kinda see both sides here. The NHL has every right to ask its marketing partners (the players) to promote its swag rather that of Major League Baseball.

Yet there's also the notion that wearing that hat connects a player with his community — and maybe with parts of the community that aren't hockey obsessed — so what's the harm of some synergy with a popular local team during the playoffs?

The real loser in all of this? Chris Kelly(notes) of the Bruins, because apparently no one cared that he wore a Red Sox hat, too. Sad trombone.

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