Boston winger Shawn Thornton appeals 15-game suspension

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Boston winger Shawn Thornton appealed a 15-game suspension he got for attacking Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik in a Dec. 7 game at TD Garden.

The NHL Players Association announced on its Twitter feed that Thornton had opted for an appeal and said that “on his behalf the NHLPA has notified the NHL.” He had until 4 p.m. Monday to file the appeal.

Thornton’s appeal will be heard by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. No date has been set. If Bettman upholds the suspension, Thornton can appeal it to an independent arbitrator.

The independent-arbitrator process is part of the latest collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and its players. It never has been used.

Earlier this season, Buffalo’s Patrick Kaleta appealed a 10-game suspension for a check to the head of Columbus’ Jack Johnson to Bettman, who upheld it. Kaleta did not take the next step and appeal to an independent arbitrator.

In a stoppage in the first period of Boston’s 3-2 win, Thornton pulled Orpik down from behind and punched him. Orpik, who was unconscious at least briefly, left the ice on a stretcher.


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