NHL hands Thornton 15-game ban

Updated: December 14, 2013

New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) – The National Hockey League issued a 15-game
suspension to Boston Bruins forward Shawn Thornton on Saturday for his attack
on Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik during last weekend’s meeting
between the teams.

The long-awaited ruling came seven days after Thornton was given a major
penalty and game misconduct for sucker-punching Orpik during the first period
of an eventual 3-2 Bruins victory.

Thornton has already sat out Boston’s last three games while awaiting a
hearing from the league, which took place Friday in New York, meaning he will
be eligible to return for the Bruins’ visit to San Jose on Jan. 11. The
veteran enforcer also will forfeit $84,615.45 in salary for his actions.

Orpik, who was briefly unconscious on the ice, was sent to a local hospital
for observation, but released that night and was able to travel back to
Pittsburgh with his teammates.

The 11-year veteran was later diagnosed with a concussion and placed on
injured reserve earlier this week.

Thornton went after Orpik in apparent retaliation for Penguins’ forward James
Neal having kneed Boston’s Brad Marchand in the head while he laid defenseless
on the ice earlier in the contest. Neal was previously given a five-game
suspension that he is currently serving.