BOSTON — Shawn Thornton is someone who usually abides by hockey’s code, but on Saturday night, he obviously crossed the line.
Thornton was given a match penalty after attacking Brooks Orpik in the first period of the Bruins’ 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Thornton, looking to gain revenge after a hard hit from Orpik on Loui Eriksson, went after Orpik a few minutes after the hit. Thornton tried to get Orpik to drop the gloves, but the defenseman wouldn’t oblige.
A few minutes after that, Thornton finally got his revenge, but not in the conventional (or legal) sense. At the end of a play, Thornton pulled down Orpik and he punched the Pens defenseman was laying on the ice, and Orpik’s head was driven into the ice.
He lay motionless on the ice before being carted off on the stretcher. Thornton was given the aforementioned match penalty, and he’s already been informed he’ll have a hearing with the Department of Player Safety with a suspension looming.
After the game, a seemingly distraught Thornton addressed the media and apologized for his actions.
Below is a transcript of everything Thornton said after the game.
“Listen, I feel awful,” he said. “It wasn’t my intention for that outcome. I know Brooksie, I’ve gotten to know him over the past several years. I got to skate with him during the lockout. I texted him a couple of times. I feel awful. It was definitely not what I wanted to see or what anyone wanted to see.
“Obviously I made a mistake. I’m aware of it. I’ve been told I’ll be having a hearing. It’s hard for me to say much more than it was not my intention. I felt sick all game.
“It’s always my job, I guess, to defend my teammates, but I’ve prided myself for a long time to stay within the lines. It’s hard for me to talk about it right now. I can’t say I’m sorry enough, and I’m sure I’ll be criticized for saying it, but it’s true. I just hope he’s doing all right. I heard he’s conscious and talking. I’m happy to hear that.
“I really don’t know how to answer that right now [if this will change the way he plays], to tell you the truth. I haven’t had enough time to think about it.”