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Cam Neely questions length of Thornton’s suspension

Dec 14, 2013, 4:12 PM EDT


Even before we got confirmation that Shawn Thornton had been handed a 15-game suspension, Bruins president Cam Neely was willing to attack the ruling after hearing the initial reports.

“Higher than I expected and higher than I think is warranted,” Neely told the Boston Herald in an exclusive interview, referring to the length of the ban.

Neely doesn’t deny that Thornton’s actions were “ugly,” but he pointed to Pittsburgh forward James Neal‘s five-game suspension for kneeing Boston’s Brad Marchand in the head during the same contest as an example of why he feels Thornton’s punishment was excessive.

“We’ve had our fair share of players hurt badly by concussions,” Neely told the Herald. “I don’t think anyone’s gotten a 15-game suspension out of those. Thornton is a guy who plays the role he plays and has never had any suspensions or issues. It comes down a little harsh for me.”

Thornton is being punished for slew-footing Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik and then punching him in the head. NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan called Thornton’s actions an “act of retribution.”

  1. cambannedloinstache - Dec 14, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    Nah. No doubt Neal deserved more. But nah.

    • dcfan4life - Dec 14, 2013 at 4:34 PM

      15 Games for Orpik getting knocked out, if he hadnt gotten knocked out and fought back, im no so sure theres a suspension at all. Thornton stopped immediately when he noticed Orpik was out. It was ugly how it started, but how it ended is what hes being suspended for. And its started like that before in the NHL, just rarely does it end that way. Definitely excessive.

      • joey4id - Dec 14, 2013 at 5:58 PM

        Of course! It’s a given that Thornton would not have gotten suspended if Orpik would have gotten up and not miss shift. Everyone knows that the league will consider the seriousness of an injury before deciding the length of a suspension. That’s written black on white. What’s your point? It’s like saying if you 30 MPH/KM above the speed limit the fine is more than if you were 5 MPH/KM over. That’s the way law is written.

      • dcfan4life - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:23 PM

        Im saying intent is the same, result is different. And thats not always fair. Not when theres a driving force to start something with Orpik in the first place (remember he had just had a nasty hit in open ice before this on a Bruin). In sports its a little different than murder and attempted murder for example.

      • cheesesteak75 - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:35 PM

        Thornton stopped right after he was pulled off Orpik! He tried to hit him with his elbow and knee while Orpik was knocked out. Watch the video again.

      • dcfan4life - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:45 PM

        No he didnt, he was hit and fell towards Orpiks, he throws 2 punches, a half ass missed 3rd one, and thats it, totally stops after that.

      • joey4id - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:56 PM

        It’s not about fairness. It’s about respecting the terms of the agreement and that owner as defined in the CBA. What can we do? Shanny and others are doing the job according to specific guidelines. The players are as guilty of the process than the owners. Shanny is the messenger. So, never shoot the messenger.

      • pittsburghmohawk - Dec 15, 2013 at 5:49 PM

        dcfan, you have been wrong with every post you have made on this subject. The intent was definitely not the same. Neal getting Marchand was a split decision, an opportunity arose and Neal nailed the little prick. Thornton attempted to get at Orpik earlier in the period. He skated 75+ feet to get at Orpik during a stoppage. Went out of his way to circle behind him (I guess because he is such a stand up guy) and slew footed an unsuspecting, defenseless player. He punched him while his head was against the ice and when guys were trying to get him off, he threw an elbow and attempted a knee to an unconscious player. He’s lucky he’s not sitting in jail. If this doesn’t happen in Boston, there might have been a legal investigation.

  2. hazlydose - Dec 14, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    Its official. Here is the link to the suspension video.

  3. nunan - Dec 14, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    It’s clearly setting the standard that you can’t attack people..which is fine. Like it or not, they take the injury into account. Neal’s kneeing was much more dangerous but, fortunately, there was no injury so he only get’s 5. Had Marchand been concussed, Neal get more. Had Orpik not been concussed, Thornton would have only been given a 5 minute penalty.

    • stickfrog - Dec 14, 2013 at 4:26 PM

      Which is why the Department of Player Safety is still a joke. Thornton got what he deserved, but others don’t Neal should have gotten at least 10.

      • greenmtnboy31 - Dec 14, 2013 at 5:40 PM

        Agree that the DPS is a joke, but both players should have gotten ten more games than they did; 25 & 15.

      • joey4id - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:01 PM

        You really are on blaming someone. Read the rule and the CBA before make a stupid judgement.

    • anthj99 - Dec 14, 2013 at 4:33 PM

      Ray Emery

    • hazlydose - Dec 14, 2013 at 4:47 PM

      It is clear setting the standard that you CAN attack people and the only result is 15 games.

      • madtolive5 - Dec 14, 2013 at 4:51 PM

        It also sets the record if you have a history of targeting the head of other players and knee a defenseless player on the ice you only get 5.

      • hazlydose - Dec 14, 2013 at 4:57 PM

        I said nothing about James Neal, nothing at all, but everyone likes to bring it up. What Neal did was dirty and deserved about 10 games. I don’t see how that has the smallest iota of relevance to the discussion of Thornton’s suspension other than the fact that they happened in the same game.

      • nunan - Dec 14, 2013 at 5:10 PM

        yes, bc all players don’t mind being suspended 15 games and losing playing time and money…riiiight.

      • madtolive5 - Dec 14, 2013 at 5:28 PM

        Which is exactly why they are relevant. They happened less then a minute a part in the same game.
        They are very similar dirty plays with two very different outcomes and suspensions.

      • joey4id - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:03 PM

        Not really! Bertuzzi got 20 for his attack on Moore.

    • pittsburghmohawk - Dec 15, 2013 at 6:05 PM

      How do you consider Neal’s hit “more dangerous”? Thornton threw 2 punches at a guy when his head was against the ice. He also attempted an elbow and a knee to Orpik’s head when he was down. Obviously both were dirty, however, at least Marchand’s head was able to move away from the blow where as Orpik’s head was trapped and he absorbed not only the blows from Thornton, but his head against the ice. Ask anyone with medical knowledge which was worse and you will find out you are completely wrong.

      • nunan - Dec 15, 2013 at 7:51 PM

        Not sure what you were watching. 90% of what you wrote is inaccurate. And I’ll be sure to ask a medical professional about all this. Stay tuned.

  4. bruinsfan1953 - Dec 14, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    Orpik will be a scratch every time he faces the bruins for the rest of his career . Gino too . Penguins , what a bunch of cowards

    • greenmtnboy31 - Dec 14, 2013 at 5:42 PM

      Cowards are punks who jump a guy from behind and slew foot him.

      • itsallniceonice - Dec 14, 2013 at 8:39 PM

        Cowards wear bleu, blanc et rouge.

    • jwcamp - Dec 14, 2013 at 8:23 PM

      You comment is nonsense. We’ll see whether Orpik and Malkin will be scratched every game against the Bruins. Why would they?

    • pens5829 - Dec 15, 2013 at 2:20 PM

      It’s obvious you have as many rocks in your head as Thornton does.

  5. ironyisadeadscene - Dec 14, 2013 at 4:39 PM

    Have no issue with the suspension but Neal got preferential treatment and its a crock of sh!t

    • cheetah440 - Dec 14, 2013 at 7:27 PM

      Agreed. Thorton probably deserved 15, but Neal tried to severely injure a player, has a history of being suspended for dirty play. Thorton has a clean 11 yr record, but of course the League didn’t take that into consideration. They threw the book at him. And Neal got a slap on the wrist. Complete joke.

      • pittsburghmohawk - Dec 15, 2013 at 5:54 PM

        Obviously you didn’t watch the video. They make a point to say he has never been suspended or fined in his 11 year career. That is the point the league is trying to make, these actions cannot be allowed to happen on the ice. If he had any history at all, he would probably be gone for 25 games or longer.

  6. rusty71 - Dec 14, 2013 at 4:46 PM

    Neely’s career was essentially ended by a dirty hit (of course by a Penguin) . I don’t remember any suspension for that .Mark Savard … career ended by a few dirty hits . Bergeron has had multiple concussions and missed a ton of games. Amazing how the suspensions(if any) never match the injury in these cases .

    • greenmtnboy31 - Dec 14, 2013 at 5:45 PM

      All that and yet the Bruins continue to skate with their head down.

      Typical no class Bruins way out front whining before the suspension is even finalized.

      Quit your crying, Thornton got off light.

      • nunan - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:24 PM’re a clown.

      • drewzducks - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:37 PM

        Just like Maxi Pad when he kissed the stanchion. Get out front before the suspension is even finalized ? Better yet they could’ve called 911 and opened up a police investigation. Now that’s a classy way to get out front of a suspension. But that would only happen in a Podunk town with nothing else going for it other than a once proud and once relevant franchise.

      • spitfisher - Dec 14, 2013 at 7:22 PM

        Green mountain boy, what no babysitter tonight?

  7. graymalkin26 - Dec 14, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    Don’t know why they bothered with that yellow tnuc Orpik, should have waited in the reeds and taken Crosby out the same way Orpik took out E.

  8. graymalkin26 - Dec 14, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    Hey hazilydoze, go change your panties.

  9. tsac33 - Dec 14, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    Isn’t what Neil did what started the whole fight?

    • hazlydose - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:01 PM

      This wasn’t a “fight” this was an attack.

  10. Moop - Dec 14, 2013 at 5:03 PM

    If anyone actually wants the NHL to start taking illegal acts seriously then they need to stop complaining when they do hand out long suspensions. Is 15 games really that big of a difference to Neely compared to what many people were thinking would be 10-12 games?

    The Bruins haven’t lost a game without Thornton yet and despite the injuries/suspension/flu bug spreading around the team and leaving them with no extra players, they’re playing pretty well right now. I like watching the young guys play and for the most part they’ve done well so far.

  11. dufferin101 - Dec 14, 2013 at 5:03 PM

    Thornton might have got what he deserved, but so did Orpik.

    • futuistheflyers - Dec 14, 2013 at 5:18 PM

      You sir, are an idiot.

    • pens5829 - Dec 15, 2013 at 2:23 PM

      Another rockhead comment…

  12. bruinsfan1953 - Dec 14, 2013 at 5:04 PM

    I’m sure Mario was in Shannahan ‘ s ear until the ruling came down . I love how soft teams try to get the upper hand on teams that play the way Hockey should be played should be plated

  13. timmons94 - Dec 14, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    Neal should be applauded for nailing that little rat Marchand… Too bad about gronks knee… 10 years no rings for cheatriots

    • drewzducks - Dec 14, 2013 at 7:08 PM

      Still not over being swept in last years ECF I see. Wow, 10 years have gone fast. One tends to lose track when every other pro franchise has won championships during that time. Two years in a row and no playoffs for the Stealers ? On the bright side if, if you win out you can finish .500. But you’ll need more sideline “help” from the Rooney Rule poster boy to accomplish that. Pittsburgh, where mediocrity is something to strive for.

  14. timmons94 - Dec 14, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    I love how cheap shot artist teams commit assault after a clean hit and cry when cheap shop artist is suspended. Only in Boston . Where cheating is applauded and PhDs for sluggers are ok. Nice pass int call vs browns last week. If u can’t beat them, cheat em

    • bostonfan96 - Dec 14, 2013 at 5:20 PM

      You’re arguments are weak and you’re clearly a despicable human being, please shut your mouth before you introduce us to how low your intellect really is. Unless you’re going to add anything intelligent or at all relevant to this current topic, just please leave and go troll somewhere else and stop inviting fights over the internet.

    • drewzducks - Dec 14, 2013 at 7:22 PM

      As a Stealer fan you would be an expert in steroid usage. Dr. Rydze sound familiar ?

  15. pitpenguinsrulez - Dec 14, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    Boo hoo…you damn cry baby…you’ve been crying since Ulf made you CRY ULF in 1991.

  16. lindbergh9 - Dec 14, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    Who cares what you think! Its comments like these that drag on a bonehead play by a hockey player. We all agree he deserves punishment for not only slew footing an unsuspecting player from behind after the whistle but punching him after he was unconscious takes the cake!!! People whose job it is to determine punishment did their job. Suck it up and move on!!!

  17. stakex - Dec 14, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    I wouldn’t have a huge issue with this suspension IF Neal received a similar one. There is no doubt that what Neal did was every bit as dangerous, if not more so, and it doesn’t make any sense to let him off easy because he was lucky enough not to cause an injury.

    I mean if Orpik wasn’t hurt on the play, Thornton probably wouldn’t have been suspended at all… and if he was, it wouldn’t have been for five games. So I just don’t see the escalation to 15 games due to an injury on the play, especially when equally dangerous plays result in much shorter suspensions.

    Bottom line is that the NHL needs stop punishing based on results of the play, and punish intent/action on the play. Players that do dangerous things shouldn’t get discounts because they were lucky enough not to cause an injury, and relatively standard hockey plays (not talking about Thornton) that happen to result in injuries shouldn’t result in suspensions JUST because an injury occurred. In this situation both players should have received 10 game suspensions for dangerous actions…. instead one gets 10 games more because of an injury, which is wrong.

    • joey4id - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:11 PM

      You really don’t get it…. Read the CBA and rule book to start with. It is clearly written that the results of an illegal action can be used to determine the length of a suspension. The NHL can’t stop punishing based on the results. If they due, then they are not compliant with the terms of the agreement signed between the players and owners. That’s right. The players and Fehr agreed to those terms. So, WTF is it that you don’t get. You of all people should know better before dumping you stuff here.

    • valoisvipers - Dec 14, 2013 at 11:18 PM

      Stakex, I find so many people call for Neal’s head but really how much injury can a cruise by speed knee contact to the head do to a guy on the ice, when contact would be reduced by the fact Marchand would just spin around since he was on the ice?Yes dirty cheap shot by Neal but one must admit Marchand is a hard target to pass up on being the pesky rat faced player that he is. I thought five games was excessive considering the face plantings from behind that seem to only warrant 2 or 3 games and IMO are more dangerous hits,

  18. theskinsman - Dec 14, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    1991??? Ok, whiner, you hang onto that, and try again to forget how the big,bad Bruins make the pens their punks in last season’s playoff shutout, and the last game as well, even with the pens best attempts to cheap shot/injure as many Bruins as possible.
    I sincerely hope the teams meet again in the playoffs so Boston can play a hard, physical game and all you sob sisters can wring your hands and weep again….

  19. timmons94 - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:00 PM

    Cam… Ulf says merry Xmas.

  20. vipod4ever - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    You can say 15 games is too short or too long. But you can’t argue that fact that Pens fans who post here still have a sour taste in the mouths after last years playoff humiliation. Bruins have multiple players out wiyh injuries, and yet still win! I predict the same fate for the Pens. Perhaps Fleury needs a suspension for the Pens to make any noice in the this years playoffs.

    • joey4id - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:14 PM

      Yep! I agree with you that the Pens fans (and players) still have that bitter taste following last years lost. And! Yes! Love to see a team be able to win with so many players out. Detroit did it earlier, and so have the Pens. Signs of great teams with depth.

    • timmons94 - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:16 PM

      has nothing to do with the team, if u did what thornton did outside a bar, u could go to jail…what is so hard for stupid Bruins fans to understand this..

      Bruins are playing great, hardly miss that thug 4th liner who is good for nothing but assaulting people…

      and if anyone in their right mind doesn’t think the biggest cheap shot artist in sports Marchand wouldn’t of done same thing Neal did….go back to Neverland and tell Peter Pan i said Hi….

      frontier justice as that hack announcer employed by Nesn…how pathetic Andy….u r a clown

      • bruininnh1984 - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:44 PM

        it is better to keep one’s mouth shut and appear a fool than to open it and remove all doubt

      • spitfisher - Dec 14, 2013 at 7:40 PM

        You don’t watch hockey do you? Eugene Malkin has more penalty minutes than Marchand, dumb ass!

  21. cfol44 - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    Has Ericsson started skating yet? I have no respect for a league that only did he’s out punishment for certain teams. Pittsburg has been the dirtiest team in the league from 2009 to present. And to say the hit on Ericsson was a legal hit is just showing how ignorant you really are. The player never touched that puck and was lined up for 30 yards. Where’s that penalty? Where’s that suspension. The NHL officials wanted it, but poor Orpyk had such a bad injury he flew home with the team 3 hours later and skated yesterday in practice. How bad was his injury??? Not that bad, I don’t see Erickson leaving his home, but that was a clean hard hit. Bottom line, this league is for whiimps and pansies and I’m done. Nothing but a bunch of hypocrites and crybabies on these board and fan bases. Nothing but a bunch of pusses.

    • joey4id - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:19 PM

      You’re ignorant. Do you not think that the whole league would be upset if the Pens were getting favors. 30 yards… what football game we’re you watching. You must be a troll. Orpik was at the blue line and Eriksson was looking backward and skating forward and about 5 feet from the blue line. So, maybe you should dish on Eriksson for breaking one of the basic elements every player is thought. That is not to look behind you when going in the opposite direction, Sounds to me you’re the whiner here. Move on!

  22. timmons94 - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    cfol- tell Louie to keep his head up u moron..

    great trade…..that little party animal u traded is gonna be a top 10 scorer for years to come..

    leave- u can’t afford Bruins tickets working at Burger King anyways..

    lol…Chara gets away with more garbage that anyone ever…

    nice 2 blatant penalties on Kelly vs Connor not callled..

    frontier justice- little Chrissy Kelly getting his ankle broken after 2 cheap shots

    • bruininnh1984 - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:49 PM

      go crawl back into the cave you came out of

    • bouch1 - Dec 14, 2013 at 10:16 PM

      So, as you criticize Thornton for what he did, you celebrate Kelly’s leg being broken by a slash, which, according to you, is a retaliation play (“frontier justice”). What a tool. No Bruins’ fan is defending what Thornton did. Hell, even Thornton has expressed remorse-because he is not the thug to which you refer to him. We get it: you’re not a Bruins’ fan. But you just can’t admit that Orpik;s hit was questionable, Neal’s knee was intentional and vicious (regardless of who he kneed or whether Marchand was hurt), and the slash on Kelly was bush league. Penguin fans shouldn’t be so quick to throw stones…..

  23. bsfan77 - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:55 PM

    Peguins are the worst cheap shot artists going. If Chris Kelly had 2 hand slashed Cindy Crosby, all the pansie Pitt fans would be calling for suspension. I was at the game that night and it sickens me to see what the Pens get away with. Keep talking Timmons because if you were skating against me I would take you to school. Go back to the trailer park. How do you watch the games anyway? Didnt think they had cable in trailers!

    • timmons94 - Dec 14, 2013 at 7:14 PM

      i watch with your mom…quite the screamer she is

    • drewzducks - Dec 14, 2013 at 7:24 PM

      He had Mike Webster’s cardboard box equipped with a satellite dish.

  24. muckleflugga - Dec 14, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    thornton, the bruins and the player’s association came out of the disciplinary hearing and its penalty phase skipping gleefully…

    in a climate of concussion lawsuits, this had twenty to forty games written all over it

    length of the hearing alone, tells us war was fought behind closed doors, with thornton’s camp successfully arguing mitigation against orpik’s witless goon-shot and neal’s juvenile attempt to be perceived as a thug of any consequence –neal goes toe-to-toe with marchand when both are vertical, marchand hands him his head every time…

    neal’s a penguin and marchand’s a bruin, go figure

    orpik’s hit knocked-off five games, orpik’s turtle another five and neal’s midget-grade maneuver another five

    neely, like thornton’s agent, are all posturing following pre-planned outrage in an attempt to induce belief thornton’s penalty was of any consequence…the role playing over a jar or two of jimmy was worth the price of admission by itself

    and the band played on…

  25. bsfan77 - Dec 14, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    Pens fans are pis*ed because they were handed one of the worst a*s whippings ever in the ECF’s last year. “Yinz” thought that you had the cup in hand before you even got there. Cindy, goose egg. Malkin, goose egg. The one you call the Flower, chased out. Wah to show up when it mattered most. Thorty was wrong but quite acting like the Pens are angels. You are not. If Neal did what he did outside a bar he would have been in jail too.

  26. bsfan77 - Dec 14, 2013 at 7:37 PM

    Timmons, you better watch your mouth. My mom passed away 2 years ago. Thanks a lot.

    • greenmtnboy31 - Dec 15, 2013 at 8:17 PM

      Screamer she was, would be more accurate.

  27. bsfan77 - Dec 14, 2013 at 7:57 PM

    Pens are clean players, just like that hit Engelland just delivered. “Yinz” are real classy!

  28. timmons94 - Dec 14, 2013 at 8:05 PM

    Bsfan. I am very sorry man…seriously. Sorry.

  29. saintsredwings - Dec 14, 2013 at 8:43 PM

    Orpik’s faking the whole thing.

  30. bruinsworldorder - Dec 14, 2013 at 9:51 PM

    Frontier Justice? If Orpik would’ve answered the call for his dangerous head shot none of the b.s would’ve followed. (Claude Lemieux on kris draper, Claude dropped his mitts and tooks his lumps the next time they played!) Orpik needs to grow a set! At least Cooke manned up!!!!

  31. greenmtnboy31 - Dec 15, 2013 at 8:15 PM

    I was thinking if Loui had just kept his head up, none of this would have happened.

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