Boston Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton has decided he won’t pursue a second appeal against the 15-game suspension he was thrown for his attack on Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik. An initial attempt to appeal was rejected by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Though Thornton began to seriously consider another attempt through an independent arbitrator, it was announced today that he will no longer be going down that road, fully accepting his punishment.
For Thornton, this is the best option he can take. Yes, he’s not a repeat offender, and despite going above and beyond to protect his Bruins teammates, he typically does so as clean as possible.
That said, even this can’t excuse the actions Thornton took during that violent game against Pittsburgh on December 7. Orpik refused to fight Thornton despite being challenged, and though that may have irked Boston’s resident tough guy, it certainly didn’t merit grabbing Orpik from behind, throwing him down on the ice and punching him repeatedly. Orpik left the game on the stretcher, all but icing the severity of Thornton’s eventual punishment.
Despite the fact that Thornton appeared to be very apologetic after the game, you could sense the sentence would be intense. One can only imagine the lack of previous offenses was the main defense Thornton brought up to Bettman. Word is he wasn’t looking to severely decrease his suspension, merely trying to shave a game or two off.
For what its worth, Thornton not only sounds like he’s finally willing to accept the punishment, he’s looking to make sure his actions aren’t what everyone remembers him for.
“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. “I’m still not happy with the amount of games I got, but I respect the decision. I’d rather just move on mentally.”