Boston Bruins forward Shawn Thornton was handed a 15-game suspension by the NHL and consequently isn’t eligible to play until Jan. 11. Only, it might not be that simple.
Thornton still has the option to appeal the length of his suspension. Agent Anton Thun said that they’ll take a few days before deciding if they want to go down that route, according to ESPN/TSN’s Pierre LeBrun.
If they do, Thornton and his agent will likely have the backing of his team after Bruins president Cam Neely stated that 15 contests was “higher than I expected and higher than I think is warranted.”
Of course, the NHL’s decision has led to a wide range of reactions beyond Neely’s.
If Thornton does appeal the suspension, it would be to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Should Bettman uphold the ruling, then he could further appeal the decision to a neutral arbitrator. No player has done that since the NHL’s current CBA was implemented.
When Buffalo’s Patrick Kaleta considered taking his 10-game suspension all the way to an arbitrator, it reportedly caused “widespread unease” in the NHLPA. There was reportedly a feeling that the NHLPA was helping the defendants over the victims. However, Kaleta decided not to take the process that far.
Only time will tell if Thornton will take things further than Kaleta.