Thornton appeals 15-game suspension, is he right or wrong?

Boston Bruins' forward his appealing his 15-game suspension. Photo courtesy of ESPN.com.

Boston Bruins’ forward his appealing his 15-game suspension. Photo courtesy of ESPN.com.

By Brad Constant, Dec. 15, 2013

Brendan Shanahan and the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety weighed in and suspended the Boston Bruins’ Shawn Thornton for 15-games for his attack on Pittsburgh Penguins’ defenseman Brooks Orpik on Saturday, Dec. 7.

We originally thought that Thornton would get around 10 games for his slew foot, sucker punch combination. But the NHL feels that Thornton deserves 15-games, and here is the video in which Shanahan explains the League’s reasoning.

As expected there are people who think 15-games is too harsh, mainly those among the Bruins’ faithful like former NHLer Cam Neely, as noted by prohockeytalk.com. But there are also those who think the NHL was not strong enough. Bleacher Report has a good piece arguing this angle.

To throw a wrench in the process, Thornton appealed his suspension on Monday, Dec. 17, according to ESPN.com. The next step in the process is a hearing with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. But Thornton can appeal to an independent arbitrator if Bettman upholds the suspensions, and there are still six or more games remaining on Thornton’s suspension.

We were shocked to read about Thornton’s appeal because we believe he got off lightly with just 15 games. Yes, we know that we wrote that we expected him to get around 10 games – mainly because he has no prior disciplinary history – but let’s be real. Thornton attacked another player and punched him when he was defenseless. The result was a major injury – memory loss and concussion syndromes – that we hope Orpik can come back from. If this happened in Canada then you could bet your maple syrup that there would be a court case much like the Marty McSorley slash on Donald Brashear and Zdeno Chara hit on Max Pacioretty.

Is Thornton a dirty player? No. But he crossed the line and he was suspended for only 15 games. He should be thankful, he should shut up and he should serve his suspension, not appeal it.

 

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NHL suspends Neal for 5 games, how many will Thornton get?

By Brad Constant, Dec. 10, 2013

People can go round and round about whether they think James Neal or Shawn Thornton was the dirtier player in Boston last Saturday night, Dec. 7. In fact, there is such a debate on Twitter that can be read on BleacherReport.com. But when it comes down to it, both players showed the uglier side of hockey and deserve to be suspended.

All of this got started when Pittsburgh Penguins’ defenseman Bruce Orpik hit Boston Bruins’ forward Loui Eriksson. At first it looked like another hard hit that happened to leave Eriksson woozy and slow to get up. But the replays show that Orpik did catch Eriksson on the chin, although it doesn’t look intentional, in our opinion. Either way, there is concern for Eriksson since he has already missed five games this season with a concussion after being the victim of another dirty hit. Watch the video below and see the hit that sparked everything.

Now enter our main villains, starting with the Thornton of the Bruins. As expected, the Boston tough guy went after Orpik during their first shift on the ice together. Thornton tried to like heck to get Orpik to fight but the Penguins’ defender wouldn’t drop the gloves and Thornton ended up getting a minor penalty.

However, things would escalate again later in the first period when our other villain, and Penguins’ forward, Neal kneed Boston’s Brad Marchand in the head as the Bruin forward was on the ice. As usual a gathering of players occurred, including Orpik and Thornton. But things got nasty when Thornton slew footed Orpik and punched the Pittsburgh defenseman in the head while he was on the ice. Watch the video below of both incidents.

As you can see, Orpik leaves the ice on a stretcher and was taken to a local hospital. Marchand got up and escaped major injury.

The National Hockey League has already comeback and issued Neal a five-game suspension. We say well done Brandon Shanahan and the NHL Department of Player Safety.

But that leaves us wondering what type of suspension Thornton will get. He is currently suspended indefinitely as he awaits an in-person hearing schedule for Friday, Dec. 13. We believe that a suspension of at least 10 games can be expected, and here is why.

Although, Thornton has no previous disciplinary history with the NHL, the League takes whether or not the victim of any infraction was injured. So while people may think that the headaches and neck stiffness that Orpik is experiencing are not that severe, the memory loss that has occurred is. In fact, Orpik cannot remember anything from after Saturday night’s national anthem. Memory loss is a brain injury, and brain injuries are as severe as injuries get.

So as we wait the NHL’s ruling, we leave with a video from the Department of Player Safety telling us why Neal received a five-game suspension. We also ask that you let us know who you think is the dirtier player by answering our poll below (there is a bet riding on this with the winner getting a free lunch so your participation is very important).

How Stamkos’ injury affects all of hockey

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Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos broke his tibia on Monday.

By Brad Constant, Nov. 12, 2013

Tampa Bay Lightning forward and offensive powerhouse Steven Stamkos broke his tibia after crashing into the goal post while playing against the Boston Bruins as part of the Bruins’ Veterans’ Day game on Nov. 11. The impact on Stamkos and the Lightning is obvious, he is out three to six months, according to bleacherreport.com (watch the GIF here), and the team is without its leading scorer. But Stamkos’ injury affects more than just the Lightning, it affects all of hockey.

Mainly, the National Hockey League is without one of, if not the most, natural goal scorers in all of hockey. Stamkos’ name may not be as well known as Sidney Crosby’s, but the man can score goals. He scored 60 of them during the 2011-12 regular season and was tied for the league lead with Alex Steen at 14 goals so far this season (check out hkref.com for Stamkos’ full career stats).

Simply put, Stamkos is a joy to watch play hockey. He is Brett Hull-like in his ability to find open space. His shot, whether it be a slapper, wrist or snap shot, is a thing of beauty – all youngsters out there should try to emulate him. Plus he loves scoring so much it’s contagious.

It’s a pity that fans around the league won’t be able to see his talent till his return. Even worse is the fact that he may very well miss the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, a platform in which hockey fans worldwide could watch him score again and again. Team Canada will be fine since it’s, well, Canada…obviously. The Canadians are stacked with talent.

As hockey fans, we here at The Hockey Ref can only hope for Stamkos’ speedy recovery. We love watching him play, as long as it’s not against our favorite teams.

So have at it Steen, the stage is set for you to show us what you’ve got and win the scoring title this season.

Check out Yahoo! Sports for a video of his injury and obvious pain afterwords.