Sunday, December 8, 2013

Shawn Thornton Says he Feels Bad about Sucker Punching Brooks Orpik

With suspensions--very big suspensions--looming, Shawn Thornton knows better than anyone it's never too late to say you're sorry. After sucker punching Brooks Orpik during last night during a heated battle between Eastern Conference powers (see video above), Thornton says he's feeling remorseful about his actions.

After the game Thornton said he felt terrible. He also said that Orpik is a friend of his and he had no intention of hurting him. Here's what he told reporters after the game, per this report from

“Listen, I feel awful,” he said. “It wasn’t my intention for that outcome. I know Brooksie, I’ve gotten to know him over the past several years. I got to skate with him during the lockout. I texted him a couple of times. I feel awful. It was definitely not what I wanted to see or what anyone wanted to see.

“Obviously I made a mistake. I’m aware of it. I’ve been told I’ll be having a hearing. It’s hard for me to say much more than it was not my intention. I felt sick all game.

“It’s always my job, I guess, to defend my teammates, but I’ve prided myself for a long time to stay within the lines. It’s hard for me to talk about it right now. I can’t say I’m sorry enough, and I’m sure I’ll be criticized for saying it, but it’s true. I just hope he’s doing all right. I heard he’s conscious and talking. I’m happy to hear that. “I really don’t know how to answer that right now [if this will change the way he plays], to tell you the truth. I haven’t had enough time to think about it.”

Hard to want to forgive a player after he pulls a cheap shot like that, whether it was part of a heated game or not. Thornton wasn't the only player to step out of line on Saturday (but that's nothing out of the ordinary, it happens pretty much every night in the only professional sport that seems content to let the inmates run the asylum), but that fact, or the fact that hockey lives its life on the edge where respect for the opponent is a mere afterthought after egregious acts of violence, doesn't make Thornton's actions forgivable at this point.

It's certainly no way to treat a friend.

Look, hockey is a tough sport, and everybody that loves the game takes pride in that fact, but sucker punching guys when the aren't prepared to defend themselves is more criminality than old-fashioned hockey. There's no place for it, and no apology will make it acceptable.

What do you think?