Updated: NHL suspends Thornton 15 games for Orpik attack


After a week long wait and an in-person hearing, NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan has decided to hand Boston Bruins forward Shawn Thornton a 15-game suspension for knocking Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik to the ice and punching him in the head during Boston’s 3-2 win on Dec. 7, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.

Update (4:05 p.m. ET): The length has been confirmed.

Thornton was pulled off of Orpik and handed a match penalty while Orpik was taken off the ice on a stretcher. Orpik suffered a concussion and didn’t skate again until Friday.

Before that incident, Orpik delivered an open-ice hit on Loui Eriksson. The Boston Bruins forward suffered his second concussion in as many months as a result.

Thornton’s suspension is the second longest of the Shanahan-era, behind only Raffi Torres. This is also the biggest punishment he’s given for a regular season incident. He will be eligible to return for Boston’s game against San Jose on Jan. 11.

Shanahan argued that Thornton’s actions were not spontaneous, but rather an “act of retribution.”


Janssen: Orpik should’ve fought Thornton, then ‘everything would have quieted down’

Alfredsson: Players shouldn’t need to fight after dishing big hits

Crosby: If I had to guess Thornton’s suspension, I’d say 10 games

The Chip ‘n’ Chase: Outrage over hockey violence, Gary Bettman is a happy man, Darryl Sutter is awesome, and more!

Video: PHT Extra — are longer suspensions the answer?

Panarin impresses ‘Hawks with his preseason debut

Artemi Panarin
AP Photo

Will Artem Panarin‘s overwhelming success in the KHL translate to North America? The 23-year-old forward has a lot to prove, but his first big test was a success.

Playing on a line with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov, Panarin made his preseason debut in Chicago’s finale on Saturday. He registered two assists while giving his teammates reason to be optimistic about him.

“For not being on the ice he looks really relaxed. He’s great with the puck, has nice moves and I think we’ll see a lot of this,” Marian Hossa told CSN Chicago. “He has unbelievable skill. People here in Chicago are going to have a good time watching this guy dangling.”

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was impressed by Panarin as well and liked that line as a whole.

The fact that the trio seemed to hit it off quickly has to come as a relief after an upper-body injury prevented Panarin from getting the most out of this year’s training camp. At the end of the day though, the fact that he was able to at least get in one preseason contest is a big silver lining. How smoothly his adjustment goes from here is still a big X-factor, but at least now he’s going into the regular season with a better idea of what to expect.

Panarin is attempting to establish himself in the NHL after leading the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg to a championship last year. He was the team’s scoring leader, topping ex-NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk.

Gustavsson secures one-year contract with Bruins

Jonas Gustavsson
AP Photo
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There was stiff competition for the backup goaltending job in Boston, but with a signing this afternoon, it seems likely that the matter has been resolved.

The Boston Bruins announced that Jonas Gustavsson has agreed to a one-year, $700,000 deal. It’s a one-way contract, according to the Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin.

That contract is still small enough that the Bruins could bury it in the minors if they so desire, but it does set him apart from his last competitor for the goalie position, Jeremy Smith, who has a two-way deal. The fact that Boston went this route seems to imply that Gustavsson will serve as Tuukka Rask‘s understudy, although both netminders attended Sunday’s practice.

In Smith, the Bruins would be getting a 26-year-old goaltender who was dominant with the AHL’s Providence Bruins last season, but has no NHL experience. By contrast Gustavsson, 30, has played in almost 150 NHL games.

Boston sent Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban to the minors last week, but an argument could be made that either one of them is worthy of the backup job. However, both of them have a lot of potential and it’s not surprising that the Bruins felt they were better served by staying in the minors where they can play regularly and focus on honing their game.