Photo courtesy of NESN.com
BOSTON (CBS) – Boston Bruins forward and resident tough guy Shawn Thornton’s niche on the ice is laying down the law with his physical play. Now the National Hockey League is laying down the law on Thornton. According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the NHL has ruled a 15-game suspension on Thornton for his conduct in Boston’s 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins last Saturday.
During a stoppage in play, Thornton skated almost the length of the ice and pulled Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik down to the ice from behind, throwing a few punches at him before having to be restrained. Orpik was taken off the ice in a stretcher, and spent the evening in a Boston hospital. He was placed on the IR following the incident, but did return to Penguins practice Friday.
This was all a result of Orpik throwing a borderline hit on Loui Eriksson in the opening minute of the game landing him out of the contest and onto the IR as well with Eriksson suffering his second concussion of the season. Thornton challenged Orpik to a fight, but he declined.
It was a few moments following the incident that Thornton decided to lay the hit on Orpik.
He was not proud of what he had done, nearly crying when asked about the events that took place on the ice.
“Obviously, I made a mistake,” Thornton said after the game. “It was not my intention. I feel awful. I felt sick all game.”
This is the first suspension of Thornton’s career.
It will be worth watching to see if this suspension sets a precedent for disciplining players in the future. Some have said that this punishment is excessive and while it may seem that way, the league had to do this in order to show that this type of behavior is not what they stand for.