It’s been four days since the ugly Shawn Thornton/Brooks Orpik incident on the TD Garden ice, and it’s still the subject of chatter inside the Pittsburgh Penguins dressing room.
With the news that Thornton will have his hearing with Brendan Shanahan and the Department of Player Safety on Friday afternoon, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review beat writer Josh Yohe had a chat with Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby after practice on Wednesday.
Sid the Kid went along with what many – this humble hockey writer included – have assumed that Thornton will get a 10-game suspension for slew-footing Orpik from behind, and then knocking him unconscious with two blows to the head while he was down on the ice. Here’s what Crosby had to say:
“I have no idea. It’s hard to guess. Nealer (James Neal) got five. If I had to guess a number, I’d say 10…right around there. Maybe even more,” said Crosby. “I’m sure they have a lot of different criteria to look at when they’re giving guys suspensions. I’m sure it’s going to be up there. It’s going to be steep.”
Clearly Thornton’s squeaky clean recover over 11 years as an NHL enforcer and his reputation around the league will help him. Some of the questionable circumstances leading up to the attack will also benefit Thornton in the eyes of hockey lawmakers. But at the end of the day, everybody around the league knows Thornton faces a significant suspension that should be right around 10 games with a hefty loss of game paychecks for a player not exactly making a big time salary.
Thornton is scheduled to meet with Shanahan at 1 p.m. on Friday afternoon, and it’s expected that the Bruins enforcer will know his fate by the end of the day on Friday.