CSNNE’s Bruins reporter Joe Haggerty joined the Toucher & Rich on Tuesday, and the main topic was still the fracas that took place on TD Garden ice on Saturday night.
Haggerty gathered the opinions of some former players who weighed in on the Shawn Thornton-Brooks Orpik incident, and he said that many of them didn’t have major problems with how Thornton handled the situation.
“These players are from the previous generation to this particular class of players that is playing now,” Haggerty said. “Surprisingly — and I’m not saying I agreed with them, because I’m not sure I do and I don’t think I do — they didn’t have as big of a problem as I thought they would with what happened between Thornton and Orpik. There’s definitely a sentiment among players, both ex-players and current players, that Orpik is a guy that takes runs at players, that plays on the edge, that does things and then isn’t willing to back it up by fighting. And the sense and the feeling is that in the world of ‘The Code’ and justice within hockey, that guys like that who aren’t willing to fight and want to play that way, that things like that will happen to them if they continue to do it. There’s some level of — I don’t want to say deserving of it to happen, but that’s just the way it goes in hockey in the NHL if you continue to act that way.”
Haggerty’s view differs a bit from the former players he talked to.
“I understand where he’s coming from and where the upset and the emotion and some of that rage came from,” Haggerty said of Thornton. “It came from a place of wanting to protect his teammates, and he wanted to scare Orpik and intimidate the Penguins. Obviously, though, it went horribly wrong for him.”
As for the suspension that will be handed to Thornton, Haggerty predicts 10 games.
“He’s never had a suspension, he’s never had a hearing, and he’s never had a phone call from the league,” Haggerty said. “The fact that he’s done his job, which is an extremely difficult job, to try to toe that line and to try to always do the right thing and to not hit guys when their jersey’s over their head or they’re down on the ice when you want to fight and all that emotion is running through your veins, to be able to pull back and have that control to stop when you can really hurt somebody. And for him to not play that game where he hits guys with questionable hits to really incite things or to put intimidation out there, he’s never had to do that before. I think to be able to do that job for that long without incident, without anything happening, certainly speaks for itself. And I think that’s something that Brendan Shanahan and the league are going to take into account, along with everything else.”