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Shawn Thornton of Bruins to appeal 15-game suspension for Orpik attack

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By Allan Muir

Shawn Thornton may be genuinely remorseful about knocking out an unsuspecting Brooks Orpik, but that doesn’t mean that he’ll accept his 15-game suspension without a fight

It was confirmed by the NHLPA just before today’s 4 p.m. deadline that the Bruins enforcer would contest the ruling handed down on Saturday by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.

But while he has every right to the appeal, he’ll be in tough to convince Commissioner Gary Bettman that he deserves leniency, even as a first-time offender.

MUIR: NHL sends clear message with Thornton’s 15-game ban

Bettman, who earlier this year upheld Patrick Kaleta’s 10-game suspension in the first major test of the new two-step appeal process, has one overriding concern: to ensure that the league is seen as being strict and firm in cases where a head injury is sustained. Diminishing that perception in any way could expose the league to legal liability down the line.

That doesn’t mean this is a pointless exercise, however. Bettman reduced a suspension to habitual offender Raffi Torres from 25 games to 21 after his infamous 2012 playoff assault on Marian Hossa. If Torres caught a break, anyone could.

But if Bettman holds the line as expected, Thornton can take his appeal one step further to an independent arbitrator. Kaleta chose not to pursue that route, but the NHLPA may “encourage” Thornton to serve as the test case for this right, which was newly acquired in the most recent CBA.

There’s no word yet on when the initial appeal will take place. We’ll update when we know more.

  • Published On Dec 16, 2013
  • 4 comments
    GeoffreyHolland
    GeoffreyHolland

    pathetic. the suspension should be tripled because he's appealing it.

    me1
    me1

    A real enforcer would have taken the instigator penalty. A real enforcer doesn't slew foot and punch an unsuspecting opponent. A real enforcer accepts his punishment as he said he would the day the incident happened. I honestly believed Thornton when he said he was sorry. Not any more. One more example of EXACTLY the type of player this league needs to get rid of. Or better yet...keep him and call the sport anything other than hockey.

    nygiants56
    nygiants56

    @me1Pretty much one of the more clueless posts of all-time.  Amazes me how people form such strong opinions when it is obvious that they have never seen Thornton play

    mkmck69
    mkmck69

    @me1  That is moronic. If you knew anything about Thornton, and what exactly happened that day, you wouldn't have written the tripe you just did. Before this incident,Thornton had always been the perfect example of a guy who follows the code while being a very effective enforcer. He watched as yet another Penguin took yet another cheap shot on a defenseless teammate, and may have ended his season, if not his career. Said Penguin then refused to answer the bell when challenged to account for the hit...first by Hamilton, then later by Thornton. Later in the game, a scrum breaks out, and who jumps into it? Orpik. At that point, Thornton just lost his mind, and went after him.




    Am I excusing Thornton? No. He should be punished for what he did, no question. But to get triple the suspension that was handed down to a repeat offender for kneeing a prone player in the back of the head, (even if it was Marchand!) in the same game, is absurd. Thornton took the guy down and gave him 2 gloved rabbit punches. The fact that it knocked him out says more about Orpik's fragility than it does about anything else. Thornton deserves 10 games...not a minute more. But knowing how Buttmunch operates, he'll get the 15.