NHL: Bruins F Shawn Thornton Appeals 15-Game Suspension

Boston Bruins forward Shawn Thornton has appealed the 15-game suspension given to him by the NHL for punching Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik on Dec. 7.

Dec 16 2013, 8:28pm CST | by

NHL: Bruins F Shawn Thornton Appeals 15-Game Suspension
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Boston Bruins forwad Shawn Thornton has appealed his 15-game suspension for punching Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik on Dec. 7.

According to ESPN Boston's Joe McDonald, "The next step for Thornton will be an appeal hearing with commissioner Gary Bettman at a date to be determined, followed by Bettman's decision. If the suspension remains six or more games even after Bettman's decision, Thornton can then appeal to an independent arbitrator."  

The decision to appeal the suspension was confirmed by Thornton's agent, Anton Thun, to Mike Brehm of USA Today Sports on Dec. 16. 

The NHL's official website also announced on Dec. 16 that Thornton had until 4 p.m. EST on that day to file his appeal. 

Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron spoke with McDonald and expressed his support for his suspended teammate, who did not travel with the team on its four-game road trip.

"We felt for him being home and not with us. He's a great team guy, a veteran leader on our team, so we definitely miss him.

"It's about trying to be there for him. Obviously, he's a friend and a teammate. He obviously regrets what happened and would probably like to take that moment back. But that being said, he's living with the consequences and we all need to do that, also, and respect the league's decision."

With this, Steve Conroy of The Boston Herald chimed in on the issue in his update:

"Thornton, who has never been suspended before, is taking the action despite acknowledging going over the line after failing to get Orpik to fight him after Orpik to fight him after Orpik concussed Loui Errikson with a borderline hit on the first shift of the game." 

Conroy also included a statement from NHL vice president for player safety Brendan Shanahan, who labels Thornton's action as "an act of retribution" and explains why the Bruins forward was suspended.

"He grabs him by the collar, kicks his feet out and proceeds to throw two short punches at Orpik while he is lying on his back. This cannot be described as a hockey play that went bad. Nor do we consider this is a spontaneous reaction to an incident that just occurred.

"Rather, it is our view that this was an act of retribution for an incident that occurred earlier in the game." 

Both Orpik and Errikson are out of the Penguins' and Bruins' ilneups, respectively, although Conroy says the former "resumed skating last Friday." Brehm also affirms it's Errikson's second concussion this season. 

Should the 15-game suspension -- the longest Shanahan has ever given -- stand notwithstanding Thornton's appeal, he will lose approximately $85,000 in pay, per Brehm. 

 

 
 
 


Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.

 

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