Report: Bettman hears Thornton’s appeal, no announcement this weekend

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Boston Bruins forward Shawn Thornton rolled out the argument to appeal his 15-game suspension to Gary Bettman over five hours on Friday. The NHL’s commissioner will mull everything over and eventually announce a decision, but not until next week, TSN’s Darren Dreger reports.

While Bettman could conceivably alter the punishment to a satisfactory level, the natural question is: how long might it take if Thornton wants to appeal further to an independent arbitrator?

The 36-year-old has already missed six games since that Dec. 7 incident with Brooks Orpik. It seems certain that he’ll miss Saturday’s game and maybe Monday’s contest while awaiting Bettman’s announcement.

The Bruins get a holiday break between that Monday (Dec. 23) contest and their next game on Friday, Dec. 27, but that same winter break might make it difficult to line up an independent arbitrator quickly.

Here’s the remaining nine games Thornton might sit out, just to give an idea of how much time he may miss before being able to appeal to that last level:

Already missed: six games (Dec. 8 – 19)
Game 7: Dec. 21
Game 8: Dec. 23
Game 9: Dec. 27
Game 10: Dec. 28
Game 11: Dec. 31
Game 12: Jan. 2
Game 13: Jan. 4
Game 14: Jan. 7
Game 15: Jan. 9

It all makes you wonder if it will really be worth it for the rugged forward to take this process that far. As it currently stands, he’s eligible to return against the San Jose Sharks on Jan. 11.

There are still some variables to work out, as Bettman’s announcement could provide another twist or two.

Here’s the explanation of the 15-game suspension: