Bruins president Cam Neely was not happy with the length of the suspension handed down to Shawn Thornton earlier Saturday by the Department of Player Safety. Boston's enforcer received a 15-game ban for his attack on Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik last week.
While speaking with reporters in Vancouver before the league's official announcement had been made, Neely expressed his displeasure with the Department of Players Safety's decision on Thornton.
“Higher than I expected and higher than I think is warranted,” Neely said, referring to the length of the ban.
“We've had our fair share of players hurt badly by concussions,” Neely added. “I don't think anyone's gotten a 15-game suspension out of those. Thornton is a guy who plays the role he plays and has never had any suspensions or issues. It comes down a little harsh for me.”
Neely, who labled Thornton's actions as "ugly," is obviously speaking from a point of frustration not only in the ruling, but in what has happened to some Bruins players this year. In the game in which Thornton's infraction occurred, Bs forward Loui Eriksson was concussed by a borderline hit from Orpik.
Additionally Brad Marchand was kneed in the head by Penguins forward James Neal, who got a five-game ban. The next game in Toronto, Boston defenseman Kevan Miller was boarded by Dion Phaneuf, who was suspended two games for the infraction.
The Bruins indeed have been a number of injurious, suspendable hits this season.
If there's been one common complaint about player discipline, it has been around the lack of consistency. There's some validity to that point, but as is the case with every hit, it's all about interpretation. No two hits or incidents are the same.
In this case, Thornton acted out of revenge as he attempted to get Orpik to fight earlier in the game without success for the Eriksson hit. He went out of his way to do harm to another opponent. He put that opponent on a stretcher and he got punished appropriately for it.