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Ottawa’s Kassian, Philly’s Rosehill Understand Where Thornton’s Rage Originated

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Shawn Thornton and Jay Rosehill fight in March 2012. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)

Shawn Thornton and Jay Rosehill fight in March 2012. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) — Seemingly everyone in the media has chimed in with opinions on the Bruins-Penguins game on Saturday night, specifically Shawn Thornton’s takedown of Brooks Orpik and the ensuing punches Thornton delivered, which sent Orpik off the ice on a stretcher.

Yet now we are hearing from some of Thornton’s colleagues, resident tough guys who may ultimately disagree with Thornton’s final actions but nevertheless understand why the Bruins’ enforcer was so enraged during the game.

“I look at the hit Orpik made that knocked [Loui Eriksson] out and gave him a concussion, an open ice hit, the guy doesn’t even have the puck, the puck is nowhere near him — that’s just as bad, if not worse, I think,” Matt Kassian of the Senators told Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun. “I see Thornton giving [Orpik] a chance to respond numerous times before that. Should he have handled it differently? Probably. You don’t want to see someone hurt, and obviously he made the decision in the moment, and maybe it wasn’t the right one, but he did give Orpik a lot of chance to respond. … I honestly get more concerned about [James Neal’s kneeing of Brad Marchand’s head] than what happened with Thornton and Orpik.

“We say we want to talk about policing the game, and that’s what he’s doing,” Kassian added. “You wonder if next time, Orpik thinks twice about making that hit. Obviously you don’t want to see a guy injured, and stretchered off, that’s never good. At the same time, he knows, and everyone on that team knows, that if you do something like that there’s going to be someone going after you. The unfortunate part now is everyone is just worried about the Thornton incident and not the Orpik hit, which I think I’m more concerned about.”

Philadelphia’s Jay Rosehill said the end result couldn’t have been something Thornton ever imagined.

“Not to take anything away from Orpik, but you see that happen a lot, you give a guy a couple of shots when he’s down, and usually the worst that happens is a sore nose,” Rosehill told Brennan. “To see a guy get stretchered off, I think that’s pretty rare and I think that was pretty unexpected. Thornton just wanted to go in there and send him a message. That’s his job.”

Rosehill said “The Code” is not something that’s commonly followed these days.

“The code was a book written how long ago? It was a different time and a different era, guys had that to fall back on,” Rosehill told Brennan. “Nowadays, there’s certain guys that play with integrity, and certain guys that don’t. Thornton is a guy that does.”

All of Kassian’s and Rosehill’s comments are at the Ottawa Sun, and what makes them more interesting is the fact that Thornton has dropped the gloves to fight both players in his career — fights in which both parties got their money’s worth.

Rosehill has lived up to Kassian’s standards, too, as he had to answer for a boarding penalty on Gregory Campbell by fighting none other than Thornton himself.

Rosehill and Kassian certainly put their money where their mouths are, too. Midway through the first period of Monday night’s game, hours after Rosehill and Kassian made these comments to Brennan, the duo squared off to fight in their game in Ottawa.

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