BOSTON (CBS) — Shawn Thornton will drop the appeal of his 15-game suspension and will sit out for the remainder of the ban, the Bruins forward announced on Tuesday.

Thornton was initially handed a 15-game suspension on Dec. 14, one week after he took down Pittsburgh’s Brooks Orpik from behind and delivered a series of punches while Orpik was down on the ice. Orpik suffered a concussion and required a stretcher to take him off the ice.

The suspension was issued by Brendan Shanahan, and Thornton elected to appeal the decision to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. On Dec. 24, Bettman upheld Shanahan’s ruling, leaving Thornton with the option to bring the appeal to an independent arbitrator.

Thornton, however, will not go that route. He has not played since Dec. 7, and he will be eligible to return to the Bruins on Saturday, Jan. 11 at San Jose.

The suspension was Thornton’s first punishment from the NHL in the forward’s career of 611 games (regular season and postseason combined). No player has taken an appeal to an independent arbitrator since the new CBA went into effect.


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