BOSTON (CBS) – Shawn Thornton has been dishing out punishment in the NHL for 11 years, but on Saturday, the league came down hard on the Bruins forward.

After and in-person hearing with the league on Friday, the NHL decided on a 15 game suspension for Thornton over his actions in last Saturday’s 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. The suspension was first reported by TSN’s Darren Dreger.

During a stoppage in play, Thornton skated nearly the length of the rink and pulled Penguins defenseman Bruce Orpik down to the ice from behind, throwing two punches at his face before being restrained. Orpik was taken off the ice on a stretcher and spent the night in a Boston hospital.

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Ryan Johnston and Mike Flynn filled in for the vacationing Toucher & Rich on Monday, and both Hub hosts feel like 15 games is way too much for a player with an impeccable reputation who has never been suspended before.

“I know they want to make a statement, but if Brooks Orpik gets up I’m not even sure that Shawn Thornton gets a major in that situation, let alone suspended,” said Ryan Johnston.

“If he is helped up off the ice, I think Shawn Thornton maybe gets three or four games. The fact that he was stretchered off the ice legitimately weighs into the length of this suspension and [NHL disciplinarian] Brendan Shanahan takes it from a three or four game suspension to a fifteen game suspension.”

“From the very beginning, this was a public relations suspension from the league,” concluded Johnston.

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Mike Flynn compared the Thornton-Orpik incident to other recent plays throughout the league and doesn’t understand the rationale in handing out discipline anymore. There seems to be a lot of discrepancy in what constitutes a short suspension versus a lengthy suspension.

Ryan Johnston thinks more attention should be paid to a player’s reputation and not necessarily the result of the play.

“I think 8-10 games would have been fine, but by elevating it to a 15-game suspension the league made a statement that really didn’t need to be made,” lambasted Johnston. They’re taking it out on a guy who plays the game the right way. He does things the right way.”

“It’s a tough job that he’s got, but he’s never been suspended and he’s never had a disciplinary hearing before this.”

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