TORONTO — Boston Bruins forward Shawn Thornton has decided to appeal his 15-game suspension for punching and injuring unsuspecting Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik.
As per the collective bargaining agreement, the appeal first goes to Commissioner Gary Bettman. If Bettman upholds the suspension, Thornton and the NHLPA can then elect to appeal to a neutral arbitrator because it is for six or more games.
Buffalo Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta is the only player to use this appeals process under the new CBA, and no player has gone to the neutral arbitrator. Bettman upheld Kaleta’s 10-game suspension for an illegal hit on Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson, issuing a 17-page decision.
Thornton got 15 games for slew-footing Orpik to the ice and landing gloved punches to his head during a game Dec. 7. The Pittsburgh defenseman was knocked unconscious and has not played since because of a concussion.
Vice president of player safety Brendan Shanahan said it was not a spontaneous action by Thornton because he tried to confront Orpik earlier after Orpik injured Bruins winger Loui Eriksson.
Thornton had not been fined or suspended before. Several general managers and coaches around the NHL have spoken in support of Thornton’s character.
SENATORS 3, BLUES 2: Cody Ceci scored his first NHL goal in overtime and Ottawa won at home against St. Louis.
Ceci recovered a clearing attempt by the Blues and sent a wrist shot toward the St. Louis goal that beat Brian Elliott at 3:59 of the extra period.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Bobby Ryan scored in regulation for the Senators.
PENGUINS 3, MAPLE LEAFS 1: Sidney Crosby’s 19th goal of the season broke a tie with just over 6 minutes remaining and Pittsburgh won at home against Toronto.
Crosby took a centering pass from Pascal Dupuis and beat Toronto’s Jonathan Bernier to the stick side to boost his point total to a league-leading 47.
Biddeford’s Brian Dumoulin picked up his first NHL point, assisting on Chris Conner’s first-period goal for Pittsburgh.
JETS 3, BLUE JACKETS 2: Evander Kane returned from an injury to score a goal and add an assist, leading Winnipeg to victory at Columbus.
CANADIENS: Tough guy George Parros sustained a fighting-related concussion for the second time this season – this time in a bout with Eric Boulton in Montreal’s 1-0 overtime road win over the New York Islanders on Saturday.
Parros didn’t return to Saturday’s game and was a scratch for Montreal’s 2-1 home loss to Florida on Sunday.
Parros missed the first month of the season after being injured in a fight with Toronto’s Colton Orr in the opener.