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Bruins tough guy Shawn Thornton banned for 15 games for attack on Orpik

Monday, 12.16.2013 / 4:25 PM / News

The Canadian Press

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Bruins tough guy Shawn Thornton banned for 15 games for attack on Orpik

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Bruins tough guy Shawn Thornton has been suspended 15 games for his attack on Penguins defenceman Brooks Orpik.

The ban was handed down after an in-person disciplinary hearing Friday with NHL officials.

Thornton hasn't played since last Saturday when he was assessed a match penalty during Boston's 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at TD Garden.

Thornton went after Orpik during a stoppage in play, slew-footing him to the ice and punching him twice in the head.

Orpik suffered a concussion and was taken off the ice on a stretcher and transported to the hospital.

"I can't say I'm sorry enough," a repentant Thornton said after the game.

Orpik is still experiencing concussion-like symptoms and took part in a light skating session for the first time Friday.

Orpik had knocked Boston's Loui Eriksson out of the game earlier with a hit that went unpenalized. The Penguins blue-liner subsequently declined to fight Thornton.

Pens forward James Neal was suspended for five games earlier this week for kneeing Brad Marchand in the head during the same game.

Thornton, a first-time offender, has already missed games against Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton.

The 36-year-old from Oshawa, Ont., has three goals and 41 penalty minutes in 27 games this season.

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We want to make sure that whoever makes our team really makes our team by earning it and not putting them in situations where they get preference because of their status as a first-round pick or whatever it might be. That's not going to happen. Everybody has to earn their way on our team.

— Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen on the team's prospects at development camp