Boston Bruins forward Shawn Thornton has been handed a 15-game suspension by the NHL for his attack on Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik during their December 7 game at TD Garden.
Thornton has already received a match penalty for the incident, so he’s already missed the Bruins’ past three games while waiting for Friday’s in-person disciplinary hearing with the NHL in New York.
“This cannot be described as a hockey play that went bad, or do we consider this a spontaneous reaction to an incident that just occurred,” NHL vice president of player safety Brendan Shanahan said. “It is our view that this was an act of retribution for an incident that occurred earlier in the game, the result of this action by Thornton was a serious injury to Orpik.”
Thornton threw Orpik down to the ice and threw a few punches while the referees were dealing with the penalty on James Neal, who was also suspended earlier this week. Unfortunately, Orpik didn’t get up, and required a stretcher to be carted off of the ice. A video of the incident can be seen below.
Even though this is the first suspension of Thornton’s career, he will forfeit $84,615.45 in salary.
“I am aware of today’s ruling by the NHL Department of Player Safety. I will be consulting with the Bruins, my representation and the NHLPA about next steps, and will be in a position to address the matter publicly after speaking with those parties,” Thornton said. “Until then I will have no further comment.”
Anton Thun, Thornton’s agent, said that he and Thornton will take a few days to decide whether or not they’ll appeal the suspension.
[Photo Credit: bridgetds]