The league finally made a decision on Shawn Thornton and his abhorrent attack on Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik. Brendan Shanahan has decided to suspend the Bruins toughman for 15 games. 15 games for a stupid, senseless act. Finally, a correct decision by Shanahan, but don’t tell Bruins fans that. Or Don Cherry.
Boy, were they angry.
I wish thorton would have hit orpik even harder and got a lighter suspension
— Nick Fiecke 🌪🤌🏽🦍 (@LittleBear6616) December 15, 2013
Shawn Thornton should not be suspended. That was a Clean hockey play, suspend Orpik for not standing up for himself.
— ogre under (@PlyersFoop) December 9, 2013
In all honesty, these Bruins fans are flat out wrong about this. Thornton deserved every single game he got and Brooks Orpik doesn’t deserve any type of punishment, from Thornton or the league.
Thornton Hasn’t Been Suspended Before
Some Bruins fans are arguing that since Thornton has never been suspended in his NHL career, he should receive a light sentence.
15 games for Shawn Thornton, bullshit. Too long for a first time offender. @NHLBruins
— Joey Parise (@JoeyParise) December 14, 2013
— Mike Salk, 710 ESPN (@TheMikeSalk) December 14, 2013
While 15 games for what Shawn Thornton did isn't unreasonable, 15 games for a first time offender seems steep. #Bruins
— Corey (@cheaward) December 14, 2013
Now this theory doesn’t really make much sense if you think about it. It doesn’t matter if a player has a sparkling record or not, if an action is horrible enough then you should be suspended. Every player starts their NHL career with a clean slate, so does that mean that every single first suspension should be light because they haven’t been suspended before? No.
What if a lawyer said this, “My client has never murdered anyone before, so, if found guilty, then you must let him off with a probation seeing as how this is his first offense.” Seems pretty asinine, doesn’t it? I’m in no way comparing Thornton’s attack to Orpik with murder, but the argument is very similar.
It doesn’t matter if you are Shawn Thornton or Sidney Crosby, if you pull something like this, you deserve to be suspended no matter the record or whether or not they are a star.
Orpik “Faking” His Injuries
This one could be the most offensive and certainly makes Bruin fans look incredibly stupid: Brooks Orpik is faking it.
— Rejean Poirier (@Ranch29) December 8, 2013
I could probably embed more Tweets, but it would be a couple pages long. Orpik was not faking his injuries. He was knocked out by pretty tough hockey player in Shawn Thornton.
Orpik was carried out on a stretcher, placed on injured reserve, and is reportedly suffering from memory loss. With the award season right around the corner, you can forget about Robert Redford, Matthew McConaughey, or Chiwetel Ejiofor winning the Best Actor award because Brooks Orpik just blew them all away. He’s quite the method actor apparently.
Orpik’s “Illegal” Hit
Another argument that is being made is about the non-suspension for Brooks Orpik for his hit on Loui Eriksson. Eriksson left the game with a concussion and the hit started all of the bad blood that night.
So why no suspension for Orpik's intentional illegal head shot on Eriksson causing his 2nd concussion @NHLPlayerSafety
— Valerie Corum (@ValerieCorum) December 14, 2013
@NHLShanahan And brooks Orpik deserves a suspension for an illegal high hit to Louis erikksson. Your making the nhl look like a joke.
— Tyler White (@TWhite617) December 14, 2013
The fact is this: Orpik’s hit was clean. Brutal, but clean. It was an unfortunate accident that led to Eriksson suffering his second concussion this season. At the very most, the refs could have called a minor penalty for interference seeing as how the puck wasn’t there yet, but it certainly didn’t garner any type of suspension.
Eriksson likes to play with his head down and Orpik simply caught him in a bad position. It was an unfortunate accident to have happened to Eriksson, but hits like this happen all the time in the NHL, almost every night, and they don’t get called nor do they garner any type of suspension.
Brooks Orpik is not that type of player anyway. THW writer Nick Vucic had a great article on this very same fact and some great points were made. Orpik isn’t even the biggest goon on the Penguins, in fact, Orpik isn’t even a goon at all. He’s not a headhunter and he certainly wasn’t that fateful Saturday night in Boston.
Now, I understand that not all Bruins fans think like this and many agree that Thornton should have been suspended. If the shoe was on the other foot and Orpik did the same thing to Thornton and Thornton laid a hard hit on someone like Malkin, I’m sure Penguin fans would be asking for Thornton to be suspended. It’s all about having passion, but sometimes you can get so passionate that you don’t think logically.
At the end of the day, Shawn Thornton is suspended for 15 games, and rightfully so, and Brooks Orpik is not suspended, again, rightfully so. It may be too bad for the Bruins, but if you truly think about it, Shanahan made the correct call on both Thornton and Orpik.
What do you think of the Thornton ruling? Comment below or send me a Tweet, @MarkWGraham
Mark Wallace Graham has been a writer for TheHockeyWriters.com since March 2013. Growing up in New England, Boston Bruins hockey was in my blood. Follow me on Twitter, @MarkWGraham