BOSTON (CBS) – Marc Bertrand was joined by Joe Haggerty of Comcast SportsNet on Thursday afternoon, and the first topic they covered was Shawn Thornton’s suspension getting upheld by commissioner Gary Bettman.
Although he hasn’t heard one way or the other, Haggs believes that the situation is heading towards independent arbitration – something that was added to the NHL in its latest collective bargaining agreement and has never been done before.
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The two questions that remain are: What happens next? and Will it work?
“I think there’s a good chance, given the fact that he’s a first time offender and there’s not a lot of evidence besides the one incident, that the arbiter may end up lowering it by a couple of games – but nobody knows because it’s never gotten to that point,” said Joe Haggerty on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Bertrand and Haggerty posit that the arbitration process will be lengthy, and that there’s “no way it gets wrapped up” by the 15-game mark of January 11th.
Even if the suspension is ultimately upheld by the independent arbiter, it’s worth it for a guy like Shawn Thornton to keep fighting (no pun intended) Gary Bettman and the NHL to recoup the estimated $85,000 in lost wages.
“I’ve talked to a couple people around Shawn Thornton and he hasn’t really even discussed that part of it yet, that’s going to happen in the next few days. After that? We’ll see. I’m sure it’s going to take at least a couple discussions, and I’m sure the NHL is going to have to draft some type of argument or whatever. It’s definitely heading in that direction [arbitration]. It’s about peace of mind too. I think he felt like 15 games was a little harsh.”
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“Shawn Thornton lost more than half of his salary because of the lockout last year. His most recent contract was supposed to be the $2.2 million deal setting himself up for life, but more than half of that’s gone now because of the lockout, and now 10-15% of his salary is gone this year because of the suspension – that’s a lot of money that he’s lost out on.”
“If he can get back a couple of game checks [it’d be worth it].”
As far as whether or not meeting with an independent arbiter will work, it’s tough to tell because it’s never been done before. However, Haggerty believes it’s “99.9%” heading that way, so we will find out soon enough.
Marc Bertrand wants Shawn Thornton to continue this battle with the league for two reasons: 1.) Because he’s “getting a raw deal” and 2.) Because he wants to see how the arbitration process plays out, and what type of precedent it will set for the NHL.
Listen below for the full discussion: