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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The dirtiest NHL hits of the season, courtesy of Bleacher Report

Here is a good, clean hip check courtesy of the NHL and Phoenix Coyotes. Photo by Norm Hall/NHL via Getty Images.

Here is a good, clean hip check courtesy of the NHL and Phoenix Coyotes. Photo by Norm Hall/NHL via Getty Images.

By Brad Constant, Dec. 6, 2013

On occasion we like to show some love to our fellow hockey writers and share some of their work with you. Our latest example of awesome work comes from bleacherreport.com, one of our favorite sites here at The Hockey Ref. The piece is a list of the dirtiest hits of the 2013-2014 season so far, and it includes videos.

We wanted to share this with you for a few of reasons. First, we agree with the Bleacher Report list. Second, they are awesome sports writers that we love to read. Third, and most importantly, the more people that jump on the bandwagon to eliminate dirty hits from the game of hockey the better.

The National Hockey League and NHL Players’ Association are working to eliminate dirty hits. There are stricter penalties and suspension for players that directly target an opponent’s head.

USA Hockey is doing its part at the youth and amateur levels with rule changes giving harsher penalties for contact to the head, boarding and charging. USA Hockey even raised the level in which checking is allowed – kids used to be able to hit when they reached the Pee Wee level, 10-12, but now checking isn’t allowed until the Bantam level, 12-14.

But rule changes, penalties and suspensions are not enough when youth hockey players watch their heroes in the NHL make dirty hits. So maybe we, the fans, can make a difference if we get behind the NHL and show our displeasure for these dirty hits. It could result in a much better game of hockey for everyone involved.

So check out the bleacherreport.com list here and if you agree, show some support. Maybe you can boo the next time you see a dirty hit, even if it’s a guy on your favorite team.

But before you jump over to the Bleacher Report, watch the video below of the top 10 hits of from the season so far courtesy of the NHL, which only shows off hard and clean checks. And if you want, we also added a video below of Brendan Shanahan, the NHL’s senior vice president of player safety, explaining what makes a good, clean body check.