For the second time this season a suspension was appealed to Gary Bettman and for the second time this season, the appeal process will end with Gary Bettman.
Bruins forward Shawn Thronton was handed down a 15-game suspension by the NHL a few weeks back after his attack from behind on Brooks Orpik that left the Penguins defenseman with a concussion. It was the first suspension of Thornton's NHL career and ended up coming across as a bit stiff for a first-time offender.
At least that was the basis of his appeal, one that was summarily dismissed by Bettman in his written opinion. He said the fact that Thronton was a first-timer saved him from a longer suspension.
After Bettman's ruling Thronton had the option to appeal the decision to an independent arbitrator, something that hasn't been done since the new appeal was added to the process. Instead, Thornton declined that on Tuesday and will take his 15-game ban as is.
Thornton: "I'd rather not be a distraction around here and I'd rather just focus on getting ready for Jan 11 (in San Jose)" ^CS— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) December 31, 2013
He has already missed a lot of action as is, at this point there's little benefit from going through the process further. Even if an independent arbitrator overturned it, it might only be by a game or two considering that would be all that's left to sit out anyway. Previously, Patrick Kaleta declined to exercise his right to further appeal early this season.
The first appeal to an independent arbitrator will come eventually, it just won't be from Thronton.