Shawn Thornton still faces a 15-game ban from the NHL after commissioner Gary Bettman upheld his league-imposed suspension on Tuesday.
Thornton was originally suspended for his attack on Pittsburgh’s Brooks Orpik on Dec. 7. Bettman heard his appeal last week.
The Bruins enforcer now has seven days to decide whether to appeal again to an independent arbitrator.
“Simply put, this was a bad act with a bad result, and neither will be tolerated in our game. Again, I note that Mr. Thornton has a reputation for being a ‘good actor’ and a model NHL citizen, but that does not eliminate the need for him to be punished appropriately for his bad act in this case,” Bettman said in his 12-page written explanation of his ruling.
Thornton’s 15-game suspension was the longest NHL senior vice president of player safety Brendan Shanahan has handed down in the regular season in his three years on the job. It is somewhat high for a first-time offender — Thornton had never before been fined or suspended — and it seemed clear that Shanahan wanted to send a message in the case.
Had the suspension been in the neighborhood of 10 to 12 games, Thornton would likely not have appealed it, according to a source close to the situation.
The 15-game suspension for Thornton means he will forfeit $84,615.45 of his salary, which will go the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund. If the suspension stands, Thornton would be eligible to return Jan. 11 in San Jose.