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Reports: Thornton will appeal 15-game suspension

Dec 16, 2013, 4:03 PM EDT

Shawn Thornton Getty Images

Multiple reports cite sources that say Bruins forward Shawn Thornton will appeal the 15-game suspension he received for his “act of retribution” on Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik.

We’ve already written about the possibility of an appeal here. To be clear, it wouldn’t mean that Thornton is denying any wrongdoing; rather, he would be appealing based on the length of the suspension and claiming the punishment was inconsistent with previous rulings by the NHL.

If Thornton has indeed appealed, his argument will first be heard by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. If Bettman upholds a suspension of six or more games, Thornton could then appeal to a neutral discipline arbitrator, whose decision would “be final and binding in all respects and not subject to review,” per the CBA.

108 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. nunan - Dec 16, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    Before all the trolls comment, actually read the short article. He isn’t denying wrongdoing…just trying to get the suspension shorter. Easy now..

    • xdj511 - Dec 16, 2013 at 4:11 PM

      That’s very optomistic of you to think that the trolls that wouldn’t read the whole article wouldn’t just skip right over your comment too.

    • bmscalise - Dec 16, 2013 at 4:19 PM

      Sorry – the optics on this are awful. You are absolutely trying to minimize your culpability if you appeal: “What I did wasn’t THAT bad.” Except that it was that bad. And this is also why some garbage public apology means nothing – meant nothing when Thornton did it, meant nothing when Neal did it.

      • nunan - Dec 16, 2013 at 4:51 PM

        xdj511 – valid point

        bmscalise – it’s a matter of opinion then…you think we should be basing our judgement on the 15 games number. If it was 25 games and he appealed it, would you feel the same way? If you think 15 games is too many, than the appeal is justified…if it’s not enough, then the appeal means he’s trying to avoid’s a matter of opinion and for someone whose never been suspended and for a league whose never doled out that sort of punishment, it seems like it’s an acceptable route to take, whether it works or not.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:09 PM

        I think it probably comes down to money rather than minimizing culpability, as I do believe Thornton has been sincere in his regrets and apologies. Less games just means less money lost.

      • tougie24 - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:15 PM

        Thornton makes a little over 13k a night. It’s easy to call Thornton a POS when you don’t have that number staring back at you.

    • logicalcomment - Dec 16, 2013 at 6:23 PM

      “i feel bad, just not 15 games bad “

      • nunan - Dec 16, 2013 at 10:43 PM

        exactly..nobody feels 15 games bad. Glad you see it my way.

    • c9castine - Dec 16, 2013 at 6:40 PM

      well I’m not sure how much that means i hardly think he would help his case for leniency if he said “i don’t see what i did as wrong” typically taking responsibility in the face of the “judge” will help you out.

      as a pens fan, i really don’t care. its whatever. i don’t think he is a bad guy or even really a dirty hockey player but he’s not as innocent as he wants to make himself out to be or others want to make him out to be. I imagine the NHL will come prepared to this appeal because a lesser sentence simply because he hasn’t been suspended before will be setting a very bad precedent. There are tons of guys out there that have never been suspended that will see it as an opportunity to play a little loose and take some liberties.

      I think they did a great job with this situation and in recent months with discipline, personally. However they messed up with the numbers here a bit. I feel Thornton got off rather fairly but I don’t think he has any hope of appealing for less games if they gave James Neal more like 10 or 12 games. What Thornton did was worse, it was VERY premeditated and resulted in a serious injury and thats where Thornton got all the extra games. Neal did something very dangerous and dirty but at the spur of a moment, a quick stupid decision. If Thornton would have not already tried to fight Orpik, had already not been chasing him all over the ice, and had simply happened to be in that scrum already instead of skating all the way down the ice with his eyes on Orpiks back and slew footing him, and sucker punched him there.

      Well we would have a much different situation. But thats not how he did things. I say he has a 50/50 chance of getting it reduced by about 5 games.

      • blackandorangeforlife - Dec 16, 2013 at 8:23 PM

        You may hate me for this post but this is why what Neal did was way worse (yes i am a Flyers fan but no bias here)….Orpik was in a scrum at the time..
        Scrums happen in hockey every game…….In some of those scrums a player will get drug to the ice……And in some of those cases a player will catch a few to the head while he is down……This happens in at least every other game in the NHL…..It either turns into a fight (5min major)…..Or it’s called roughing (2min minor)….That leaves the only infraction a slew foot and i can post at least 10 of those from the last few seasons that have not even been blinked at………In Neals case he had a player (dirtbag?) on the ice facing away from him……with no way of knowing what was coming at him…..Neal had every opportunity to avoid contact but altered his path instead to skate right at Marchand and leave his knee out to make contact….This is something i cant say i see even every 20 years in the NHL let alone on a daily basis like a scrum……Feel bad that Orpik is hurt but this is Hockey and it happens every day from Sept – June every season!

      • nunan - Dec 16, 2013 at 10:44 PM

        He isn’t saying that doesnt know what he did wrong…he admitted making a mistake.

      • c9castine - Dec 17, 2013 at 12:55 PM

        Nun an please read the first couple sentence of my post over again.

  2. killerpgh - Dec 16, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    I’m surprised. But I have no problem with him using a right that was agreed to by the NHLPA?NHL.

    • killerpgh - Dec 16, 2013 at 4:11 PM

      Not that I think it should happen, but can an “neutral discipline arbitrator” add games as well?

      • c9castine - Dec 16, 2013 at 6:46 PM

        probably not because the hearing is an “appeal” i think that would limit the actions taken to only taking punishment away, not adding on to.

        just so you know, i made that up simply based on logic. i have no expertise so don’t take my word for it.

      • blackandorangeforlife - Dec 16, 2013 at 6:48 PM

        No….He cant reduce it either….He can only uphold or reverse it!

      • c9castine - Dec 16, 2013 at 7:29 PM

        i think thats incorrect based on bissonette’s 8 game appeal at the start of the year.

      • blackandorangeforlife - Dec 16, 2013 at 8:10 PM

        9…..An arbitrator is not a penalizer…..I cant say for sure as i dont know the incident but that reduction must have come from Bettman…..The 1st appeal goes thru him…..If it cant come to a conclusion it goes to the arbitrator who can only uphold or reverse…..other than that he is powerless……Read Muckles post below as he answered a lot of questions in just 1 post!

  3. canucks30 - Dec 16, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    Yeah. Good luck with that.

    • polegojim - Dec 16, 2013 at 6:52 PM

      Yes – let’s just skip to the end… they’ll make it 10-12. It’s a done deal… no need to waste time on it.

      What’s NOT done is… the other side of ‘hockey justice’… when someone IS ready to go V Thornton… and the playoffs aren’t on the line in a close game… and they have complete intent on causing injury in a fair fight.

      Thornton’s only true ‘victory’ this year is against a MUCH smaller guy – Krys Barch. Thorton is a cheap shot artist… hitting plenty of guys after they’re on the ice… see Thornton V Bordeleau.

  4. penvik - Dec 16, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    Oh my god!! Appealing the suspension is basically saying you don’t deserve what you got, which sadly was probably only half of what he should have got. That’s why an appeal is even much not drastically sick, he basically got off easy on the suspension. Love how the article and some commenters on here are defending it first thing!! Boston can do no wrong baby.

    • bwayblueshirt - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:11 PM

      I don’t think he’s saying he doesn’t deserve a suspension, I think his claim is that the suspension is inconsistent with other punishments dealt out for similar infractions. Like James Neal’s hitting a defenseless player in the head, for example.

    • hockeyflow33 - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:39 PM

      I haven’t heard anyone in Boston say what he did was right.

    • montrealbbr - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:54 PM

      Appealing this is a joke and I think boston would look better if they came out and admitted that what Thornton did was wrong and that he deserves to be punished for it.

    • nick01805 - Dec 21, 2013 at 2:29 PM

      If you think he received half of what he should have, then you must agree that Sidney Crosby should have also been suspended 10 games. Though I am sure your rose-colored glasses or blinders won’t let you see the truth. I watched the videos multiple times to be sure I was seeing what I was seeing.

      First the game officials were incompetent and shouldn’t be allowed to officiate a youth hockey game never mind a professional one. They are as much culpable for Erikkson’s injury and Orpik’s. They are damn lucky that Marchand was not more seriously hurt.

      Second, for Orpik to pull this stunt in Boston I think dishonors the education BC gave him. He played dirty and expects that just skating away and throwing his hands up, entitles him to a free pass. Not happening sir, you should endure a suspension after you recover from your apparent concussion.

      Third, the play on Marchand began with Crosby slew-footing him then Neal lining him up. You cannot deny it, the video shows it. The league ignoring it only adds to the stupidity of the entire situation. Sorry, but the Pens have nothing to whine about. They ought to go to Mass and hope that Crosby doesn’t get what truly is coming to him.

      But hey, he’ll probably cry when someone drops the gloves and challenges him after his next sly little Steve Urkel moment.

  5. hosewater2 - Dec 16, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    His actions in and of themselves are on the level of Bertuzzi-Moore, I just hope Orpik doesn’t have the same result long-term, which isn’t known yet. I vote to uphold.

    • kovodisc - Dec 16, 2013 at 4:48 PM

      Was Moore skating with the team less than a weak after his incident?

      Enough with the comparisons between these two. Other than the fact that they happened on the ice – the similarities end there.

      • hosewater2 - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:02 PM

        Talking about the action, not the result. Understand the difference??

      • c9castine - Dec 16, 2013 at 6:51 PM

        really? sucker punch. already been turned down on the fight but kept pursuing. came from behind. resulted in a head/neck injury. in both cases, both. piled on. all because of a hard clean hit to a star player.

        you can argue my last point if you want but all the other aspects of the situation are very similar.

        tell me I’m wrong.

      • broadstreetsbaddest88 - Dec 17, 2013 at 12:55 AM

        Let me tell you how your wrong. Orpiks neck is fine and had a mild concussion at worst. He got stretchered off from a thing he could of walked away from. He made a hit that would of been deemed suspension worthy for most players and didn’t answer for it. Moore hit naslund with a clean hit. Ericsson will be out alot longer then naslund was. Bertuzzi pulled the scummiest move possible and was way more premeditated then thortons. The game was still carrying on when he went after him so tempers were still goin. Bertuzzi got Moore 3 weeks later which is a long time to hold a grudge. Orpik will be playing this week I’m sure if he hasn’t already and Moore will never play again so don’t ever try comparing the one piled on orpik and he took two shots to the face while he was face to face with Thorton. Moore never knew it was comin and bertuzzi proceeded to ram his face into the ice on the way down. He also only got 13 games for that stunt which he should of got a ban for life. I remember when that happened I watched it go down, your just goin off what you googled cause we all know you weren’t a fan back then beings your a pens fan and all.

      • c9castine - Dec 17, 2013 at 1:00 PM

        I think it’s really funny that you think your a doctor and know that he had a mild concussion (no such thing) and his neck is fine. Sore neck is one of the symptoms he is still experiencing although it is getting better and he had a concussion, one that made him forget the entire hockey game back until the national anthem. He was unconscious for about 30 seconds to a minute.

        These are things reported by orpik himself, and the team doctors and management through Pittsburgh journalists.

        Who are you?

  6. penvik - Dec 16, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    I hope Bettman doesn’t flinch and Thornton takes it to an independent arbitrator. Then the arbitrator gives him 25 games.

    • montrealbbr - Dec 16, 2013 at 6:01 PM

      I hope Thorton gets jumped from behind in the parking lot as he is walking to his appeal.

      • drewzducks - Dec 16, 2013 at 8:30 PM

        Coming from someone who enjoys being jumped from behind by Stephane “5 hole” Richer.

    • blackandorangeforlife - Dec 16, 2013 at 7:06 PM

      First it goes to Bettman…If there is no agreement it goes to the arbitrator……He can only uphold or reverse the suspension….He cannot add or remove games from it

  7. gmanonthird - Dec 16, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    I believe Thornton and the NHLPA will use the Matt Carkner suspension as a comparable. Carkner also received a suspension as the aggressor in an incident in 2012. Like Thornton, Carkner was getting retribution for a previous incident, and Boyle wanted no part of the fight like Orpik. In the video they point out Carkner had previously been fined for the same thing, but he only received a 1 game suspension. There are differences – Thornton has no history of discipline in his entire NHL career, but there was an injury.

    • jjregan21 - Dec 16, 2013 at 4:31 PM

      Thanks for that, I was wondering what precedent he’s going to use in his appeal short of Moore-Bertuzzi. It makes his perspective more understandable

      • killerpgh - Dec 16, 2013 at 4:44 PM

        I think that video would be better used as to why Eremy could have been suspended as apposed to why Thornton should be less. No slew foot, continuing to punch an KOed player and/or injury. But maybe if they use that video the NHL will be forced to officially say 1 playoff is equal to “x” playoff games in relationship to suspensions.

      • bwayblueshirt - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:08 PM

        Except Bertuzzi never served a suspension because the whole league was locked out the next year. Which was a huge miscarriage of justice, IMHO.

      • killerpgh - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:21 PM

        Bertuzzi served 20 NHL game (13 regular season and 7 playoff game, plus the Canucks were fined $250,000) plus the IIHF barred him for playing hockey over seas during the year long lockout.

      • bwayblueshirt - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:51 PM

        The point of a suspension is that you don’t get to play while everyone else does. If nobody plays, you weren’t suspended, you were locked out like the rest of them.

    • joey4id - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:00 PM

      idk if this incident is a good reference. First, let me say that if this had happened this year I believe Carkner would have rec’d a longer suspension. The aggressor rule referenced in this video reads as follows in this year’s rule book. Rule 46.2 is a subset of rule 46 Fighting. Since this incident was not a fight, then I don’t know for sure that they can reference the Carkner/Boyle incident.

      46.2 Aggressor – The aggressor in an altercation shall be the player who continues to throw punches in an attempt to inflict punishment on his opponent who is in a defenseless position or who is an unwilling combatant.

      A player must be deemed the aggressor when he has clearly won the fight but he continues throwing and landing punches in a further attempt to inflict punishment and/or injury on his opponent who is no longer in a position to defend himself. A player who is deemed to be the aggressor of an altercation shall be assessed a major penalty for fighting and a game misconduct.

      A player who is deemed to be the aggressor of an altercation will have this recorded as an aggressor of an altercation for statistical and suspension purposes. A player who is deemed to be both the instigator and aggressor of an altercation shall be assessed an instigating minor penalty, a major penalty for fighting, a ten-minute misconduct (instigator) and a game misconduct penalty (aggressor).

    • joey4id - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:11 PM

      The video released by the NHL explaining the suspension to Thornton does indeed indicate that he rec’d a major penalty under Rule 46.15 under Fighting. So, it will be very interesting if they use the Carkner suspension and how the commish will handle this.

    • blackandorangeforlife - Dec 16, 2013 at 6:43 PM

      Here is another video that he might use…same thing but no suspension

      That leaves the Slew Foot….For that he could submit this undisciplined incident
      skip to the 2 minute mark and watch 2 slew foots by the same player with 10 seconds of each other

    • c9castine - Dec 16, 2013 at 6:55 PM

      good post. i think Thornton is going to have a hard time explaining the coming up from behind Orpik, slew footing him, and hitting him while he was down with his head by the ice. also, the 10 minutes of premeditation, so to speak.

      in this situation shown, they were at least standing up and face each other, and boyle was able to protect himself to a certain extent after the initial punches were thrown to his face. and I’m not sure how long careener was pursuing Boyle.

      • blackandorangeforlife - Dec 16, 2013 at 7:10 PM

        9….But tat is where the Emery vid comes into play…..Yes Holby saw him but mostly felt him on the back of the head…..And last i checked there is nothing in the rule book that says anything about coming up from behind a player and dragging him to the ice other then a 2 minute roughing penalty….Keep in mind it was between the whistles so i dont think they could call it anything more/less

      • c9castine - Dec 16, 2013 at 8:03 PM

        unsportsmanlike conduct comes to mind as well. don’t think thats the issue.

        i appreciate all the examples. seriously, well thought out. something about putting it all together makes the individual acts almost irrelevant. i think your looking at the rule book a little too closely and also forgot that they are instituting the aggressor rule here which is like a capital murder charge in hockey.

        id hire you to rep me…you basically turned the suspension into a simple math equation based up past events. not bad. lol

      • blackandorangeforlife - Dec 16, 2013 at 8:33 PM

        Sorry….Unlike a lawyer i have a conscience and morals and could not represent a case like this…..Never said he wasn’t guilty just why he could get off! :)

      • blackandorangeforlife - Dec 16, 2013 at 9:11 PM

        Also all the above mentioned incidents would have followed the same aggressor rule as all incidents were in what?….The last month?

  8. bullwinkle88 - Dec 16, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    Since Thornton wants the number of games changed, that number is now in flux. So a new ruling should be imposed, making it 25 games instead!

  9. ewoods6 - Dec 16, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    He should have gotten 20. I understand he hasn’t been suspended before, which shocked me to be honest, but to slew foot someone from behind and then punch them while they are down, besides being one of the most cowardly acts ive ever seen, is INCREDIBLY dangerous.

    While he says his intentions were not to hurt Orpik, his actions tell a totally different story. And you know what they say about actions vs. words.

    • Moop - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:59 PM

      Why did it shock you that Thornton hasn’t been suspended prior to his attack? Are you just a fan who isn’t really familiar with players on the Bruins and therefore his awful antics in this game makes up a lot of what you know of Thornton or do you just genuinely believe he’s a dirty player?

      Not trying to start an argument, I’m just curious as to why you said that.

  10. myroncopesflask - Dec 16, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    This just in Cam Jansson will be representing him for his appeal… Other character witnesses scheduled to speak are Colton Orr and Steve Downie…. I like his chances

    • buysamadrink - Dec 16, 2013 at 7:08 PM

      Can we add Trevor Gilles to the list?

  11. buysamadrink - Dec 16, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    Maybe he’s not “denying wrongdoing” but taking accountability means accepting the consequences of your actions. By appealing, he’s not taking accountability. Sorry, but all those words of apology and regret and being near tears rings a bit hollow for me at this point.

  12. hockeydon10 - Dec 16, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    Isn’t he also trying not to take an 18.3% pay cut for the season?

    They don’t get paid while suspended, right? That money instead goes into some fund the NHLPA manages?

  13. charlieconway96 - Dec 16, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    I believe the NHL was trying to send a message with the length of the suspension. While he has every right to appeal (even though it seems like a bad PR move and sort of takes credibility away from his profuse apologies), the league has to stand by the decision in order to maintain its own credibility. If they’re serious about trying to take a stand against these sort of incidents, Bettman has to stick with the 15 games.

  14. bigdaddy44 - Dec 16, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    pendik, when it comes to trolls, you have been number one. Your views are childish, over emotional and have no basis in reality. Time to let the adults post.

  15. malkamania71 - Dec 16, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    So basically what he is saying is “I’m sorry for what I did, but I’m not 15 games sorry” I understand that this is a system of checks & balances but if you’re going to gripe about how badly you feel, maybe you shouldn’t plan on fighting the punishments..

    Always liked Shawn Thornton, but use your head. Have a nice day.

    • nunan - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:01 PM

      So when does it become too many games? If I was Thornton, making less money than most players, and I’d just been suspended longer than anyone else under Shanahan’s rulings (in the reg season), and I had this opportunity to appeal, I would take it too. I heard it equates to something like $80,000 to him. Give it a shot. Anyone who says they wouldn’t do the same this is just flat out lying. Most commenters here are angels who do no wrong.

    • tdrusher225 - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:25 PM

      I disagree. Just because you disagree with a ruling doesn’t mean you’re not sorry for what you did. Those apologies are partially out of respect to the severe injury Orpik sustained. If he got up and turned out to be okay, Thornton wouldn’t be apologizing to that extent. As well as the Dept. of Player Safety wouldn’t be doling out any suspensions higher than 2 games. If you were to severely hurt someone, even if you felt that you weren’t totally in the wrong, you would still feel guilty and sorry for playing any role in causing them pain or injury (at least for most people who have a soul).

  16. joey4id - Dec 16, 2013 at 4:46 PM

    The CBA states the following;
    c) The Neutral Discipline Arbitrator (NDA) shall hold an in-person hearing and shall determine whether the final decision of the League regarding whether the Player’s conduct violated the League Playing Rules and whether the length of the suspension imposed were supported by substantial evidence. The NDA shall issue an opinion and award as soon as practicable. The NDA shall have the authority to consider any evidence relating to the incident even if such evidence was not available at the time of the initial Supplementary Discipline for On-Ice Conduct decision or at the time of the Commissioner’s decision in connection with the appeal. The NDA shall have full remedial authority in respect of the matter should he/she determine that the Commissioner’s decision was not supported by substantial evidence. The NDA’s decision shall be final and binding in all respects and not subject to review.

    Two things worth noting; *1) NDA can consider evidence not previously available *2) NDA shall have full remedial authority in respect of the matter should he/she determine that the Commissioner’s decision was not supported by substantial evidence

    *1) Highly unlikely that the NHL missed any evidence
    *2) Doesn’t indicate if the corrective measures apply only to reducing the number of games. And, it’s highly unlikely that the Commish’s decision was not supported by substantial evidence.

    So, idk. Seems like the NHL would have had to fumble the suspension pretty badly of any changes to be made to the suspension, and considering how much spotlight is on them with the pending lawsuit and concussion history, it’s highly unlikely that they would miss evidence. The NDA is not a given after the appeal with the commish. Thornton and his reps would have to file an appeal with the NDA within 7 days of the commish’s decision.

    • blackandorangeforlife - Dec 16, 2013 at 7:25 PM

      But they did miss a lot….Look at the similar videos posted…..None resulted in a suspension…..Considering it was between the whistles what penalty did he commit that would be a penalty?…..Roughing?……They could only argue the injury and they happen daily in the NHL……And yes the spotlight is on them and it will show that they have F’ed up….And that may be good for us fans because it could result in a more well rounded DOPS!

  17. steelers88 - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:03 PM

    What a jerk. Take your punishment!!!! All those tears and apologies after the incident I guess mean nothing.

    • tougie24 - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:13 PM

      I really do hope you’re not that stupid.

  18. bwayblueshirt - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:04 PM

    Based on James Neal’s suspension of five games for a knee to the head that was pretty much the same infraction (just using his knee instead of his fist) he may have a case. Then again, based on Bertuzzi’s 1-year suspension (for sucker-punching Steve Moore in 2004) that he never had to serve) maybe he got off easy.

  19. steelers88 - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    It’s ridiculous that he appealed this!!!! This was not during the play, it was after the whistle. The NHL is still a garage league till the NHL does more to stop it.

  20. tougie24 - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    I’m very happy to say that people on this comment section have lived up to exactly what I expected of them. “Oh, he’s appealing? He must think he isn’t guilty or what he did isn’t that bad. What an ass”.

    I want to say I can’t believe some people are that dumb, but I can. I’d go through explaining how ridiculous that thought process is, but let’s be honest, if you’re one of those people who believe that, you’re just going to get mad and….oh no! DOWNVOTE ME!!!!!! NO!!!! PLEASE NO!!!!!!

    Regardless, what Thornton did is beyond unacceptable, and he knows that. But, appealing this suspension isn’t him denying that what he did was very, very wrong. But judging by the comments here, you’re telling me that if you were in his situation, making that amount of money, living your dream as a pro hockey player, that regardless of how badly you feel, you wouldn’t appeal to get back out there sooner? In a completely acceptable manor mind you, that is a part of the NHL system to begin with?

    If you say “No, I wouldn’t. I would take the punishment like a man because I know what I did was wrong”…..blah, blah, blah, you’re lying. And nobody on the internet believes you have that strong of a moral code to actually do that.

    “Oh, well, he should have thought about the consequences, etc”.

    Really? You don’t say? How many people in the heat of any situation can sit there and think to themselves of the consequences before acting? The answer? Not many. Again, that’s not defending what he did. 15 games is a much deserved suspension. And again, appeal doesn’t equal refusal to admit fault. And, it’s not a guarantee that just because he’s appealing, that the suspension will be shortened.

    • killerpgh - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:28 PM

      Matt Cooke didn’t appeal his 17 game suspension. Just saying.

      • tougie24 - Dec 16, 2013 at 9:00 PM

        Yes, totally the same situation. Marc Savard was skating a week after the incident and Orpik is still at home with memory loss issues, unable to play ever again.

      • mordock57 - Dec 17, 2013 at 10:05 PM

        Actually, Savard played several more games afterwards, so you can’t really make such a comparison that holds water, sarcasm or no.

  21. bunkerhillbob - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    I wonder if maybe Thornton will get a trophy out of this for protecting a teammate from a goon?

    • basedrum777 - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:36 PM

      Yeah so the only goon involved in this incident was the one charged with the crime…

  22. basedrum777 - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    I’m a pens fan and understand the appeal if only because I think the Player’s association is probably saying any “groundbreaking” suspensions should be heard on appeal for future considerations. I think he should’ve gotten a lot more than 15 and think it’ll be upheld. I never believed he was sorry for DOING the deed just sorry for the result. Thinking that way this appeal doesn’t surprise me at all. He would do it again I bet b/c he assumes, like many, that the player won’t get hurt and its an emotional response.

    • shortsxit34 - Dec 16, 2013 at 6:06 PM

      Every single team has numerous guys that would react similarly without thinking about the consequences. That’s the entire problem–the league does nothing to any of these players until somebody gets hurt. Once somebody is already hurt, the league comes out and decides there should be consequences.

  23. ejbigg - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    As a hockey fan it has been extremely disappointing to read the comments from both Bruins and Penguins fans following these incidents. We all have our biases towards our respective teams and players, but have some objectivity and realize that these players were wrong in their actions.

  24. steelers88 - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    I’m not sure Brooks Orpik will ever play again. Brooks Orpik’s head is so messed up that they can’t even give him a concussion test. I also worry about him in the future getting CTE.

    • blackandorangeforlife - Dec 16, 2013 at 7:34 PM

      They cant give him a test?……Thought i read he skated already!

  25. shortsxit34 - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    And this is the exact reason for my ridiculously long rant a few days ago.

    Thornton has all the proof in the world to have his suspension lowered. There have been too many similar incidents that have gone completely unpunished. I think Emery had the worst and most obvious this season, but they’re hardly the only two to jump an unsuspecting player this season.

    Every single aspect of the Emery/Holtby altercation was worse than Thornton’s, except Thornton’s resulted in an injury. What happened to Shanahan and Bettman swearing that their hands were tied? What happened to them both claiming they wanted to punish Emery, but there was nothing in the rulebook or CBA that they could penalize him with other than five and a game misconduct?

    The league has set a terrible precedent by doing nothing in the past, and this is the kind of crap that comes out of it. Players go unpunished, so they continue to play dangerously with no regard for other players’ safety. Finally somebody ends up paying the price. And like Emery, Thornton would have gone on without any supplementary discipline if Orpik had been okay.

    The league blatantly boasts that they suspend based on the result of an injury rather than the actual injury, so what does that tell everybody? They have no plans of doing anything to protect the players, they will only react once it’s too late and an injury occurs.

  26. hazlydose - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    Its interesting to see how Bettman will handle this. Does he undermine Shanahan’s ruling by reducing the suspension? Or does he let a neutral arbitrator handle the case? Neutral arbitrators and independent investigators aren’t very well liked. Most organizations like to handle things in house and in their own way.

    I bet Bettman caves and reduces it to 10 games to avoid the independent arbitrator.

    • shortsxit34 - Dec 16, 2013 at 6:12 PM

      Remember, Thornton would have to appeal Bettman’s decision before it went to a neutral arbitrator. Kaleta considered it, but backed off and accepted Bettman’s decision.

      I doubt he (or any player) would go that far. By the time the appeal reached an arbitrator he will probably already be close to serving his 15 games, anyway.

      • ironyisadeadscene - Dec 16, 2013 at 6:40 PM

        He will recoup the money lost for the reduction in games regardless of how long the process takes. I don’t mind the suspension length however the inconsistency is ridiculous. If you can score goals, then they are lenient on you.

    • blackandorangeforlife - Dec 16, 2013 at 6:17 PM

      I bet he drops it to 5 or less…He has no choice as an Arbitrator will reduce it to zero!

  27. montrealbbr - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    He deserves not only a longer suspension but jail time for what he did. That is an assault and not a hockey fight. People in boston call him a respected fight but he jumps a guy from behind and now he is crying about being suspended. Boston is just a joke of a team these days. I hope they give him a longer suspension and then suspend that jackass coach who sent him out to hurt Orpik.

    • shortsxit34 - Dec 16, 2013 at 6:14 PM

      A Montreal fan whining about the police getting involved and then bashing an entire city/fan base?

  28. sjsharks66 - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    buysamadrink you hit the nail right on the head.

    Although all players have the right to appeal, your comment just shows all the wholes in his apology theatrics. Don’t do the crime, if you can’t do the time!

  29. Moop - Dec 16, 2013 at 6:05 PM

    I don’t really think this is about Thornton not believing his actions were worth the suspension he was given as much as it is as getting back on the ice as soon as possible to help out the team. The Bruins are one more injury/suspension away from playing with 1/3 of their active roster being players who began the season on their AHL team. They need some regular NHL players back as soon as possible, whether it be from injuries or from Thornton’s suspension.

  30. katra2logic - Dec 16, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    Too bad they can’t add more games to the suspension if he loses the appeal (for wasting everyone’s time)…

  31. blackandorangeforlife - Dec 16, 2013 at 6:10 PM

    He will win this appeal…….May not be right but he will…..if i need to post why again just ask and i will repost why an arbitrator would have no choice but to over rule Shanny and Bettman!

    • shortsxit34 - Dec 16, 2013 at 6:24 PM

      I saw your reply in the other thread, but didn’t get a chance to reply back. Between Emery, Rinaldo, the video above of Carkner, and I’m sure many other examples the NHLPA lawyers already have, I think Thornton will have a pretty strong case. The league simply has too many other cases,even recently, where they did nothing.

      • blackandorangeforlife - Dec 16, 2013 at 6:31 PM

        That’s my point….The lack of even disciplinary action from the NHL is about to bite itself in the azz…..Not say i personally agree with it but what choice will an arbitrator have if he watches those vids?

  32. totallysirius - Dec 16, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    He’s a big boy playing a big boy’s game, he should take his punishment like a big boy,serve the 15 games and consider himself lucky he wasn’t banned for life.

  33. montrealbbr - Dec 16, 2013 at 6:13 PM

    Still waiting for legal action on this as well. Doesnt the US have laws against assaulting people?

    • shortsxit34 - Dec 16, 2013 at 6:27 PM

      Every single fight and every single body check would be assault outside of a hockey rink. Stop whining about getting the police involved. Seriously, I hate to generalize; but, you do nothing to help the Canadiens fan stereotype.

      • ironyisadeadscene - Dec 16, 2013 at 6:45 PM

        actually he helps reinforce those stereotypes

      • hazlydose - Dec 16, 2013 at 7:04 PM

        Good point, except this wasn’t a fight or a body check. It was assault and as a matter of fact, no hockey was being played at the time of the incident. Just because it happened in a hockey rink doesn’t mean its legal. The NHL acknowledges that criminal actions can happen in hockey in the CBA.

      • shortsxit34 - Dec 16, 2013 at 7:16 PM

        Every single fight is during a stoppage of play. Every stoppage in front of the net leads to some shoving; a lot of the time they end up with punching. Every single stoppage there’s some crosscheck, slash, facewash, or punch that happens. Are all of those assaults?

  34. blackandorangeforlife - Dec 16, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    Also anyone blaming Throton for the appeal has no clue….This was initiated by the NHLPA….Without them Thorton has no appeal!

    • joey4id - Dec 16, 2013 at 7:52 PM

      Right! But Thornton has to make the request to the NHLPA for them to initiate the appeal process. Yes?

      • blackandorangeforlife - Dec 16, 2013 at 7:55 PM

        Yes…..But read Muckles post below….He said it perfectly!

  35. pitpenguinsrulez - Dec 16, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    What a scumbag either way

  36. logicalcomment - Dec 16, 2013 at 6:29 PM



  37. muckleflugga - Dec 16, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    it’s not all that complicated…

    the collective agreement is just that, agreement between employer and employee to conduct work of mutual interest by a set of rules…rules both sides agree to through the collective bargaining process

    the nhl’s rules of play are a subset of the collective agreement

    if in the process of exercising its duty to manage its business following the body of rules outlined in the collective agreement, and an employee so penalized is unhappy, that employee can grieve management’s ruling. rarely does a union itself grieve a management ruling unless it is perceived to violate rights of a general class of dues-paying employees or the collective agreement itself

    union members are the union, and they support their union by paying dues

    the onus is typically placed upon the damaged employee to prove grounds for grievance under the collective agreement…unions are loth to spend membership’s money on trivial grievances, but often take them to a first level review to appease the aggrieved member

    insofar as merit plays, precedence is rarely argued beyond general discussion at first level grievance hearings; precedence argued must be virtually identical in every element to the case at hand, and is therefore settled at the first level

    neither party want to squander money in a lingering process, itself prohibitively expense –look at thornton’s losses held against what the cost of appeal will entail –stupid is as stupid does

    the merit of the case itself prevails beyond the first level of grievance because of the wide range of dynamics in behaviour expected to be examined against a black and white body of rules. and proof prevails over notions of truth and righteousness, much as it does in the courts generally

    in thornton’s case, he as an individual member has no case…

    assaults such has his, overtly licensed by league protocol nurturing violence through weak-kneed in-game policing, and supplementary discipline not involving practical incarceration is farcical in comparison to what thornton would have received outside a self-governing body as is the nhl

    thornton’s a poorer man but he’s a free man who’ll be permitted to return to employment, in the same role with the same employer…how many lawyers or accountants or anybody else for that matter would enjoy that privilege if violations were proportionally grave

    thornton’s union has a case…

    the nhlpa is duty bound to protect its membership, and extent to which its membership is disciplined is of critical concern. because the nhl and its department of player safety have such variance in its schedule of discipline, with veto power given its league president, the nhpla does not want the ceiling lifted on length and weight of penalty

    while precedence used when arguing cases is rarely admissible beyond general discussion, the penalty phase, once guilt is measured, relies entirely on precedence

    the union wants the bar on the penalty phase kept low, so it goes to war…

    the probability thornton’s case would go to arbitration is remote, for reasons i’ve already stated. i believe the process as it evolves has already been mapped, and agreed upon by both parties, after they pulled thornton down from the tree in rockerfeller square

    it’s all look-see-pidgin, designed for the nhl and the nhlpa to posture as opposing armies defending righteous causes, for the benefit of john q public, some of whom will be sitting in a jury box in washington, if the nhl is crazy enough to let the concussion lawsuit get that far

    it’s all a sham…

    • blackandorangeforlife - Dec 16, 2013 at 8:01 PM

      Great Post….Sham might be the best word for it….I call it Collusion on the leagues part when including the law suit because that’s what it is and between the NHL and NHLPA there is a financial interest to overlook it….Or should i say put it to rest as soon as possible!

  38. whosennext - Dec 16, 2013 at 8:55 PM

    Being a Pens fan, I first must state that James Neal should have gotten 20 games for his action. Second, Shawn Thornton should have gotten the rest of the season. There is no place in the game for the antics some of the players display. You want ratings, stop being bush league on these suspensions. I have an idea about how the NHL should address these hits. First time the player gets 20 game suspension plus whatever amount of games the injured players sits out. Second time the player gets 40 game suspension plus whatever amount of games the injured player sits out. The third time the player gets a lifetime ban from playing. There is absolutely no place in hockey for what Thornton did in this game. Now that all being said, what is sad is that no Penguins player came to Orpik’s defense during this mugging. And they never come to Crosby’s or Malkin’s defense either. If I am playing them, I go after their stars because nobody is going to defend them. And if your on,y going to get 15 games for these acts, who cares, I am giving my team a chance at taking out their better players.

  39. sporkov - Dec 16, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    Hope this makes it to arbitrator and they decide that the suspension isn’t long enough and pushes it up to 50!

  40. dumbassgreg - Dec 16, 2013 at 11:45 PM

    thornton only defense is affluenza. if loses all this cash . he not going to as rich. sure there are lines around the block in USA today claiming that defense lmao

    steve moore was not hurt from the punch from bertuzzi it was the angle his head hit the ice. lucky for orpik .when thornton slew foot him he did land at wrong angle.

    unions have lost their way. the players has backed bertuzzi and thrown moore under the bus.repeatly run him over. the hockey union always defends the person doing wrong not victim. it like unions saving bad teachers,corrupt cops,etc. not the people doing their jobs well.

    time to go back to post who you the team they cheer for immediately. it would be so funny if neal was traded for marchand &thornton were traded for each other. fans who hated the guy would love him now. anyone saying no. just check what boston fans said about ignila a six months ago and today lmao

  41. thesublimeylimey - Dec 17, 2013 at 8:07 AM

    I understand hockey is a sport for tough guys, but that wasn’t sport, that was assault. Orpik had no chance to defend himself, and what Thornton did was pure thuggery. The violence in the NHL is starting to make it look like a bunch of barbarians on ice.

    I like a good scrap as much as the next man, but I personally believe they should start permanently banning players (or a season band) for those players who do things like Thornton and Bertuzzi. Suspensions just aren’t an effective deterrent.

    Professional courtesy seems to have evaporated.

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