Commentary

Thornton sorely missed by B's

While waiting for official word from the league, teammates express their solidarity

Updated: December 14, 2013, 7:00 PM ET
By Pierre LeBrun | ESPN.com

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The Boston Bruins' morning skate at Rogers Arena came and went without official word from the NHL on the suspension for Shawn Thornton.

Colleague Darren Dreger, of TSN, reported that Thornton would receive a 15-game suspension just before the B's hit the ice for their 11:30 a.m. PT skate. The suspension became official soon after, but the Bruins were only willing to talk about a teammate they miss.

Thornton, back home in Boston, is already serving the beginning of his suspension. Thornton's agent, Anton Thun, told ESPN.com via phone that they were disappointed with the league's decision and would take a few days to figure out whether or not they'll appeal.

[+] EnlargeShawn Thornton
Bruce Bennett/Getty ImagesShawn Thornton has reportedly been handed a 15-game suspension for his attack on Pittsburgh's Brooks Orpik on Dec. 7.

"He's always somebody that stands up for us, never crosses the line," veteran Bruins blueliner Dennis Seidenberg said after the morning skate. "He's a pleasure to have in the locker room. He's a vocal, upbeat person. He's very important to us."

But Thornton did cross the line in this case, and the Bruins aren't hiding from that reality.

"Shawn has been a real good player for us," coach Claude Julien said after the skate. "I say 'player' because he's known as a guy that's going to stick up for his teammates and probably 'enforcer' is a name that comes to mind when you talk about Shawn Thornton. But he's also a guy that's played a lot of minutes for that type of a player. He's very trustworthy. I've put that line against top lines from other teams. He's also a pretty good player. Him missing from our lineup, we lost his leadership, we lost his presence as far as what his line brings to us.

"He made a mistake. He knows he made a mistake, and we're not hiding from that fact," Julien added. "We just hope we can see him back sooner rather than later and move on."

Bruins players have checked in on Thornton all week during their road trip.

"I think all of us at one point have reached out to him to ask him how he's doing," Seidenberg said. "We want to make sure he's OK. He was nervous, obviously, scared to get into that meeting [hearing on Friday]."

"We would love to him here with us; he's a big part of this team," added center David Krejci. "He fits into our team perfectly. He's a missing piece of the puzzle right now. We miss him."

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