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Monday, December 16, 2013
Thornton has until 4 p.m. to appeal ruling

By Joe McDonald

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Boston Bruins forward Shawn Thornton has until 4 p.m. Monday to appeal his current 15-game suspension for attacking and injuring Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik on Dec. 7 at TD Garden.

Thornton participated in the Bruins’ practice Monday morning at Ristuccia Arena. While Thornton politely declined to comment on whether he would appeal with the league, Bruins coach Claude Julien said the decision is up to the player.

“It’s up to him and his agent to deal with that,” Julien said. “I’m trying to keep my nose out of other people’s business right now and trying to keep this team together with everything we’re going through.”

The NHL’s department of player safety handed down its suspension last Saturday after Thornton had his in-person disciplinary hearing on Friday at the league’s office in New York. Since he was awaiting his hearing, Thornton did not travel with the team on its recent four-game road trip.

“We felt for him being home and not with us,” said Bruins assistant captain Patrice Bergeron. “He’s a great team guy, a veteran leader on our team, so we definitely miss him.”

After the Bruins’ practice, many teammates voiced their support for Thornton.

“It’s about trying to be there for him. Obviously, he’s a friend and a teammate,” added Bergeron. “He obviously regrets what happened and would probably like to take that moment back, but that being said, he’s living with the consequences and we all need to do that, also, and respect the league’s decision.”

Team captain Zdeno Chara added, “The biggest thing is, no matter what happened or will be happening, he’s still a big part of our team,” Chara said. “Any time you see your teammate going through some tougher times, you want to support him. For sure it’s not easy, but we’re all behind him and we’ll see how it goes with the appeal, or whatever is going to be happening, but for sure you feel shocked to see that kind of big punishment.”