Shawn Thornton knew he was in hot water the moment he was being escorted off the ice. We all saw how ashamed he was that he had lost control of himself. We all guessed on the length of his suspension, and a lot of us were assuming ten games. Thornton’s meeting started at 1 P.M, and when they hadn’t announced a punishment four hours later, I began to assume that the number of games he was going to be out was going to increase. Then, things got weird.
It’s almost been some sort of soap opera day here. First, the NHL informed us that we would find out some time tomorrow the final punishment being issued out to the Bruins fourth liner. Then, we find out that the Penguins are putting Brooks Orpik back on the ice in a limited capacity. Personally, I think it’s remarkable that he would heal so well the day of the person who knocked him out is facing the league’s safety committee. Now, we find out that Peter Chiarelli wants a little more information on Orpik’s remarkable recovery. (He smelleth a rat me thinks!) If Chiarelli’s motion to the league is accepted, then the final sentence may be an additional day or two in coming.
Then there’s the lawyers. The NHL is facing down two lawsuits that could severely hurt the brand name at present. The first is the growing class action lawsuit against the league by retired players who claim the league didn’t do enough to prevent injuries. The second one is from the estate of Derek Boogaard, inferring a similar cause and effect status that led to his early death at the age of 28. The league may very likely use Thornton as a very severe example. It would be unfortunate, as Thornton is certainly not a repeat offender under the grounds of the current CBA, and he has never been suspended in his career.
I just think it’s a real bad idea to slap down one of the Bruins most faithful players the same day the B’s are heading into Vancouver to play the Canucks. The announcement might just spark a profoundly ugly match between two teams. Especially since that stadium was the location of one of the Canuck’s greatest defeats on their home ice.