Neely: NHL 'should start looking at intent'

Neely: NHL 'should start looking at intent'
December 19, 2013, 8:15 pm
Share This Post

Bruins team president Cam Neely, in his weekly radio interview on 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Felger & Mazz" show, reiterated that he thought the 15-game suspension the NHL handed down to the Bruins' Shawn Thornton was excessive and that the league should look at "intent rather than outcome" when doling out discipline in the future.

"I know they don't at instances and compare them but what [the Penguins' James] Neal did to [the Bruins' Brad] Marchand [in the same game as the Thornton-Brooks Orpik incident] was just as bad," Neely said.

Thornton grabbed Orpik from behind, tripped him and punched him in the head several times as Orpik lay on the ice. Orpik sustained a concussion and had to be carted off the ice on a stretcher. Earlier, Neal kneed Marchand in the head. Neal was suspended five games for that hit.

"I know Sean's looked really ugly and it was ugly," Neely said. "And he certainly felt terrible afterward like most athletes do. I wasn't expecting 15 games."

Neely said a player's intent to injure should play more of a role in determining the discipline.

"They should start looking at intent rather than outcome," Neely said. "If you can prove that there was clear intent rather than is this guy hurt or is he not hurt?"

Neely said Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli will accompany Thornton to a hearing Friday in New York, where an appeal of the suspension will be considered. He also said the Bruins first learned of the suspension on Saturday through the media and not from the league, something he said the team has addressed with the NHL.

"It's wrong," Neely said. "It's not the way it should go down at all."