UPDATE: Thornton will meet with the NHL on Friday 12/13 to determine his suspension.
Shawn Thornton is going to meet with league officials during this week for his hit on Brooks Orpik and rest assured, it was a cheap shot. The biggest thing in this instance is it’s players trying to police what happens on the ice and the intention was good on Thornton’s part, but the execution was complete crap and makes Boston look bad.
How can anyone look at this video and not see clearly see Thornton challenge Orpik and Orpik declining to fight. Once Orpik declines the fight, you take his number and hit him good within the confines of the game. What Thornton did was completely crossing the line and it got him an in-person meeting with the leagues correction office, which will ultimately lead to a six-game suspension at a minimum.
The situation occurred following an incident where Marchand got kneed in the head while down on the ice and a high shot on Loui Eriksson, which resulted in another concussion for Eriksson.
A part that is underplayed was the following shift, when Claude Julien sent his enforcer out there to deal with Orpik. Yahoo writer Nicholas J. Cotsonika actually pointed it out in a terrific article and he has a point.
“Clearly they took exception to Orpik’s hit on Eriksson,” said Penguins coach Dan Bylsma. “They put people on the ice to take exception to it, and the events that ensued, you saw Thornton.”
A player in Orpik, who is known for pushing the envelope and then declining to fight, was intentionally challenged by the Bruins and Julien and did just what he does. The Bruins had to know the situation and got him back during the game. The problem is Julien sends Thornton out there to fight a person that doesn’t fight and it results in Thornton being lost for at least six games for a team that is already dealing with multiple injuries.
James Neal’s cheap shot on Marchand started it and his excuse is complete crap: “I haven’t, like, seen the replay or anything, so I mean I hit him in the head with my leg or my foot or my knee or shin area,” Neal said. “I don’t know. But I mean, he’s already going down, and I guess I need to try to avoid him, but I have to look at it again.”
Neal got a phone meeting with the league officials so his suspension is less than Thornton’s at five games, which is complete garbage. That guy is a piece of crap and he’ll get what’s coming to him undoubtedly.
Penguins-Bruins should have been a game of skill and what hockey should be, but instead it turned into a circus and all the people involved are to blame.