What's buzzing:

Puck Daddy

Shawn Thornton on Orpik incident: ‘I can’t say I’m sorry enough’

Harrison Mooney
Puck Daddy

View photo

.

Shawn Thornton didn't do much on Saturday night that could be deemed admirable. His punches to a prone Brooks Orpik were disgusting and completely over the line, and he deserves the lengthy suspension the recently-announced in-person hearing would suggest he'll be getting.

Shawn Thornton will have an in-person hearing for violating Rule 46.2 - Aggressor. Date & time TBA.

— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) December 8, 2013

You can at least give the Bruins' enforcer credit for facing the music, however.

A lot of players might have avoided speaking after an incident like this one, at least until the morning. But Thornton didn't, addressing the media, apologizing, and answering questions after the game:

CSNNE has the same video from the other angle, and you can see that Thornton is near tears as he speaks.

Thornton, asked if he was just out to protect his teammates:

"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. I'm sure I'll be criticized for saying it. It's true. I hope he's doing all right."

[Cotsonika: Thornton's attack on Orpik the kind of garbage the NHL needs to clean up]

That's something, and kudos to Thornton for refusing to take the bait on a question where he might have been tempted to say an unkind word about the Penguins' antics, defend his role, or really do anything beyond apologize profusely.

It doesn't exculpate Thornton, however. The NHL's mention of the aggressor rule makes it perfectly clear what he did, and how serious they consider it.

Since it's a rarely-cited rule, here's a refresher course on the important section from the league rulebook:

The aggressor in an altercation shall be the player who continues to throw punches in an attempt to inflict punishment on his opponent who is in a defenseless position or who is an unwilling combatant.

[Story: Don Cherry 'really upset' over Thornton-Orpik incident]

A player must be deemed the aggressor when he has clearly won the fight but he continues throwing and landing punches in a further attempt to inflict punishment and/or injury on his opponent who is no longer in a position to defend himself.

Interesting that this didn't come up while the league was trying to find a way to suspend Ray Emery for making a combatant out of the unwilling Braden Holtby. Maybe it's because Holtby engaged in the end. Or maybe they just remembered this rule existed.

Anyway, this is a pretty apt description of exactly what Thornton did, and it sounds like he won't be arguing when the league throws the book at him for it.

The NHL also announced that James Neal would be having a phone hearing for his knee to Brad Marchand, which means, unlike Thornton, he's likely to get off easier than he should.

- - - - - - -

Harrison Mooney is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

 

View Comments (253)
  • Flames edge Ducks in overtime

    Flames edge Ducks in overtime

    (The Sports Xchange) - Center Mikael Backlund scored the overtime winner on a delayed penalty call as the Calgary Flames beat the Anaheim Ducks 4-3 in Game Three of their Western Conference playoff series on Tuesday. The Ducks still lead the series … More »

    Reuters - 2 hours 4 minutes ago
  • Anaheim Ducks regroup after 4-3 ovetime loss to Calgary Flames

    The Anaheim Ducks are perfect no longer. After starting the Stanley Cup playoffs with six straight victories, Anaheim succumbed for the first time Tuesday night in a dramatic 4-3 overtime loss to the Calgary Flames. The Ducks were 20 seconds away … More »

    The Canadian Press - 4 hours ago
  • Flames wiggle back into series with Ducks on Backlund's overtime winner

    Flames wiggle back into series with Ducks on Backlund's overtime winner

    Calgary Flames centre Mikael Backlund felt paralyzed by indecision after his overtime winner beat the Anaheim Ducks 4-3 on Tuesday. He wasn't sure how to celebrate a goal that pulled his team back into their second-round playoff series with the … More »

    The Canadian Press - 4 hours ago
  • Less 'panic' helps Capitals in 1-goal games against Rangers

    Less 'panic' helps Capitals in 1-goal games against Rangers

    Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green thinks his team is better equipped now to handle tight, low-scoring games than it used to be. Which is a good thing, because their opponent in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the New York Rangers, have … More »

    AP - Sports - 5 hours ago
  • Calgary beats Anaheim on Backlund's OT goal

    Calgary beats Anaheim on Backlund's OT goal

    Mikael Backlund didn't need to see the biggest goal of his NHL career go in. The crowd and the rest of the Calgary Flames told him he'd scored the winner. Backlund scored on a delayed penalty call in overtime, lifting the late-charging Flames over … More »

    AP - Sports - 5 hours ago