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What they’re saying about the Thornton suspension

Dec 14, 2013, 5:02 PM EDT


Now that Shawn Thornton‘s 15-game suspension is official, let’s take a look at some of reactions from around the league. As you might have guessed after all the controversy this incident has attracted, a spectrum of opinions have been voiced.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Dejan Kovacevic called it “sickening” and compared Thornton’s actions to Todd Bertuzzi‘s. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette also labeled Thornton’s punishment as “woefully inadequate.”

On the other end of the spectrum, NESN’s Dale Arnold figured the suspension would be about half of what it actually was. Bruins president Cam Neely probably agrees with that.

Meanwhile, Kevin Allen declared this a “fair, defensible sentence” that can be seen as “a victory for those who believe that it is imperative to protect the image of the game” in his USA Today column.

Let’s close things out with some reactions from hockey writers and analysts on Twitter, starting with Eric Macramalla, who writes PHT’s Ask a Lawyer series:

  1. drewsylvania - Dec 14, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    I follow Kovacevic on Twitter. For some reason he thinks that, because this happened after the whistle, it is eons worse than James Neal’s portfolio.

    • nunan - Dec 14, 2013 at 5:22 PM

      A lot of experts out there…who actually know absolutely nothing. Media is filled with’em.

    • drewsylvania - Dec 14, 2013 at 5:22 PM

      Deliberate knees/elbows to the head/boardings should be called assault as well. Why does it matter if they happened during the play or not?

      • cheetah440 - Dec 14, 2013 at 7:37 PM

        Exactly. As a Bruin fan I don’t have a problem with 15 games. Thorton lost control and deserves it. But Neal deserved 20 for a deliberate knee to the head. A knee to the head is far worse than 2 punches with a glove on. Just because Orpic has a glass jaw shouldn’t be the issue, the intent and history of the player should matter more. Neal is a notorious dirty player with numerous past suspensions. Thorton had a clean 11 yr history.

        Decision was a joke.

    • drewsylvania - Dec 14, 2013 at 5:24 PM

      And technically, if you’re going to call what Thornton did assault, it’s aggravated assault, which typically carries less of a sentence.

      • hazlydose - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:05 PM

        Aggravated assault is worse than assault. The “aggravated” portion does not mean that the attacker was aggravated and thus justified. Aggravated in this instance means the assault has aggravating factors that justify a harsher punishment that standard assault.

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

        Each state makes their own criteria for agg. assault but one of the common factors is bodily harm. So you’re right, technically it is aggravated assault, but it carries a greater sentence.

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

        Doh. Stand corrected.

  2. drewsylvania - Dec 14, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    That said, every player who pulls intent-to-injure headshots should get 40-50 games off without pay. Make the punishment hurt.

    • hairpie2 - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:05 PM

      If thats the case Neal should be gone for 50. He absolutely tried to injure Marchand.

      • drewsylvania - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:38 PM

        Which is what I’ve been saying, especially since Neal’s done this before.

  3. stepanup - Dec 14, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    This was the sending a message suspension that has been coming down the pike. I was one of those in the 10-12 range, and I have no complaint about 15. The frequency of these hearings and suspensions is ridiculous. The players don’t get it, and Thornton put his head on the chopping block at the wrong time. Maybe previously this wouldn’t have gotten 15, but it’s the players that got it to this point.

  4. esracerx46 - Dec 14, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    Flying elbows while the play is happening is one thing. Accidents do happen, lapses of judgment in the heat of the moment is one thing. This was not heat of the moment. Malicious in intent, made a conscious decision he was going to get him as soon as he could, and did. Is the 15 games retroactive to the 3 he’s missed? Or is it really 18?

    • stepanup - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:00 PM

      It’ s 15, three already served.

  5. hairpie2 - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    7 for Scott, 15 for Thornton. Thats all you need to know. Absurd.

    • bullwinkle88 - Dec 14, 2013 at 11:57 PM

      Scott’s was a clean hit, as was Orpik’s. 15 for Thornton is indeed absurd. He deserved at least 20.

      • drewsylvania - Dec 15, 2013 at 12:24 PM

        Scott’s a clean hit? LOL

  6. muckleflugga - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:26 PM


    aggravated assault involves knowingly and purposively injuring someone while understanding the extent to which the injury will cause lasting or lethal harm

    typically a deadly weapon is involved wherein that weapon’s practical use would cause death if applied to a victim…

    an axe, a hammer, any firearm or a bag of hockey equipment forgotten in the trunk through summer might rate aggravating circumstance, essential in capital murder determination

    only hysterical and ill-informed hockey wannabes who’ve never mixed it up on a rink, in equipment, when the hurly burly starts, could argue a hockey glove is a deadly weapon

  7. wicky888 - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:50 PM

    What if Orpik wasn’t hurt? Then how many? What if Marchand was KO’d and stretchered off? How many would Neal have gotten? So throwing a guy down and punching him gets you 15, but kneeing someone who’s already down get you 5? When is the NHL gonna start punishing intent rather then result?

    • 7mantel - Dec 14, 2013 at 7:06 PM

      I agree totally !

  8. itsallniceonice - Dec 14, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    Sean Gentille doesn’t sound too intelligent. The only people claiming it is unfair in anyway are the idiots saying that Thornton should have been kicked from the NHL.

    • drewsylvania - Dec 15, 2013 at 12:25 PM

      Really not true. Neely just said the suspension was “a bit harsh”.

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