A lot can be said about the Shawn Thornton suspension. There are fans out there who are angry that Shawn Thornton didn’t get fifty games or a season suspension. First of all, you are deluded. While I’m not a fan of fifteen games, it is on the right side of appropriate. My argument is based on the hit by Brooks Orpik on Loui Eriksson. That hit was completely missed by both the refs and the Department of Player Safety. So, if you are perceived as a ‘star’ player on a ‘star’ team, you seem to get a pass in this league.
For example, Dion Phaneuf got two games for a board that would have gotten other players five. Anthony Peluso of the Winnipeg Jets got three for an equally serious boarding penalty. Cody McLeod got five for a nearly identical boarding hit. Star players, especially ones with past issues will be taking advantage of this to engage in more reckless behavior. I’m not alone on this bandwagon, and a well known person from the Bruins past agrees with me.
“Let’s talk about Orpik,” said ex-Bruins coach Don Cherry during his Coach’s Corner on Hockey Night in Canada. Grapes was as usual, straight forward with his comments.“[It] was a mean hit. Here’s [Eriksson] just coming back from a concussion, and [Orpik] runs into him like that. If Orpik is going to run and hit a guy like that, then he’s got to pay the price. He’s got to step up if you’re going to act like that . . . I’m telling the real world what goes on. If you hit like that and act like that, be prepared because somebody is coming.”
To the Penguins fans that argue that Thornton should have been arrested, I’ll remind you that James Neal would be in the very next cell for his actions.
The league MUST be consistent with its penalties and suspensions. If this is the plan of the DoPS, OK. I’ll shut up and so will a lot of people. However, if the league doesn’t institute a universal crackdown, then the game will have a disturbing new predatory edge to it.