Penguins general manager Ray Shero addressed the media Saturday after Bruins forward Shawn Thornton was suspended 15 games without pay for punching an unsuspecting opponent, Pittsburgh defenseman Brooks Orpik, and causing a serious injury. Here is the full transcript of Shero's comments.
On if he is satisfied with 15 games for Shawn Thornton and if he thinks it is fair:
I honestly don’t think it’s my position to say whether it’s fair or not. I think the message was sent by Brendan Shanahan. From what I saw, that’s the longest suspension he’s given out in the regular season, so I guess that is a message being sent. As to whether it’s too long, long enough, it’s not for me to say. It’s too bad with Brooks getting hurt, obviously. But at the same time, Shawn Thornton has been a player throughout his career, through the minors and the NHL, I believe, that has been an honest player. He’s never been suspended before; plays a tough role. I don’t think what happened is what he intended to happen. I don’t believe that. But those were the consequences and he has to live with what the league says is appropriate in terms of suspension. It’s time to move on. Hopefully Brooks is going to get better here soon. So we’re going to have to move on.
On if there is any sort of deterrent value in a 15-game suspension and will this prevent future occurrences:
You would hope so. I think the problem with this play is that I think, (like it says) in the league’s video, it just was not part of a hockey game, basically. So every incident probably stands on its own, and this was probably the problem the league had with what happened. So whether that’s going to serve as a deterrent, the 15-game suspension, remains to be seen. I certainly hope so. We don’t see these types of plays very often, luckily. It was an unfortunate game all around. It was an unfortunate event that a player of ours like Brooks Orpik got injured, but also a player like Thornton, (where) I don’t think that’s what he intended to actually have happen. But it did though, and he’s going to have to certainly face the consequences of that. But again, time to move past that game and move on. Hopefully Brooks will be okay in time and we’ll see exactly if it does serve as a deterrent down the road for the players in the league.
On reports that part of the delay on the suspension announcement was because Boston wanted to get clarification on Orpik’s injury:
That’s a question for Boston. The league obviously was out at the Board of Governors’ meetings early in the week, but any time there’s a potential suspension with an injury, you’re always providing updates in terms of how the player is. That’s just the way it is. Fortunately for our situation with Brooks is that he’s begun to do some light exercise as part of the protocol to see where he is. But he’s certainly not coming back right now. He had an off-ice day today with some light exercise and we’ll see where it (goes Sunday). But that’s the best I can say right now.