Dec 31, 2013, 12:14 PM EDT
Thornton had an appeal hearing with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman earlier this month following his lengthy ban for an attack on Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik, but the 15-game punishment was upheld just prior to Christmas.
Thornton had the option of a second appeal through an independent arbitrator.
As per Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com, Thornton believes he could’ve gotten perhaps a game or two taken off the suspension, but “didn’t want to become a distraction to team.”
“I know I made a mistake and I crossed the line. But there were a lot of circumstances leading up to it. It won’t define me,” said Thornton on Tuesday.
He continued: “I’m still not happy w/amount of games I got, but I respect the decision. I’d rather just move on mentally.”
On Dec. 7, in a game between the Bruins and Penguins, Thornton grabbed Orpik from behind during a scrum, brought him to the ice and delivered two punches to Orpik while he was down.
Orpik was stretchered off the ice, and suffered a concussion. He has since been taken off injured reserve, playing on Dec. 27 against the Carolina Hurricanes and Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
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