The National Hockey League’s commissioner has decided to uphold the Department of Player Safety’s ruling that Boston Bruins Shawn Thornton be suspended fifteen games for his attacking Brooks Orpik in the middle of the Penguins-Bruins game on December 7th. The NHLPA believed that the punishment (in light of other targeted attacks receiving only five or seven games) was excessive. They believed that Thornton should have only received a ten to twelve game suspension.
In the ruling, the commissioner lays down his argument for why he felt that the fifteen games was required.
Bettman: “Simply put, this was a bad act with a bad result, and neither will be tolerated in our game.”
— Fluto Shinzawa (@GlobeFluto) December 24, 2013
It’s a pity that Bettman didn’t feel the same way about his four year disaster involving the Coyotes franchise and his desperate need to validate his ‘sunbelt hockey’ argument.
The NHLPA and Thornton can take this to an independent arbitrator if they file the motion before December 31st. This would be the first time the arbitration rule had been invoked since the signing of the latest collective bargaining agreement. While I believe Thornton is entitled to a full and just legal process, I have to wonder if this would be the first stone thrown in a conflict that could only lead to another league/union showdown when the current CBA expires.
Shawn Thornton could not be reached for comment. He was too busy helping kids in the hospital get to the local movie theaters for Christmas Eve. (I’m completely serious.) So, Penguins fans get to enjoy a thrill of validation. Thankfully, that clean hit that Marc Methot put on Sidney Crosby (which Sid says was deliberate and targeted) that took out Pascal Dupuis will give the Pens fan base something new to scream about going into the new year.