This comes as no surprised, but Gary Bettman has upheld Shawn Thornton's 15 game suspension. Honestly, we don't think Bettman will ever go against Shanahan on these things.
You can read Bettman's full appeal ruling here. Here are some highlights:
- NHLPA/Thornton never tried saying what Thornton did was ok. They were just appealing the number of games handed down.
- NHLPA thought 10-12 games would'be been fine. That's what we figured Twos would get as a first offender. Because of this number, Bettman thought 15 was perfect. Lolz. Next time if you want 10-12, Union, you ask for 5-8. Kinda like negotiating salary but in reverse.
- Bettman acknowledges Thornton's clean record as someone who can play a "hard-working, physical brand of hockey" while still playing within the rules. Thornton's suspension could've been worse if he had a rapsheet (which would be a first for the NHL, honestly)
- Bettman calls Thornton a "good actor" and "model NHL citizen"
- Thornton's incident with Orpik wasn't a hockey play.
- Thornton testified he knew what he was doing and was in complete control of his emotions
- Bettman thinks the suspension should've been worse... but again, he's not going to override Shanahan on this stuff.
Thornton and the NHLPA have a week to file a final appeal that would be confucted by a third-party arbitraitor. We're sure the NHLPA would love to flex it's appeal muscles and try out the final step of the process, but we'll see if Thornton's incident is the hill they want to set their first battle on. Jim Murphy says one of his sources says the Union will file for it.
We're glad there's an appeal process for players, but our only real gripe with it is that it's way too slow. Eight games have gone by since Thornton was first tossed. He's already served half his sentence. Took a week for Shanahan to lay down the initial ruling, and Bettman's been stewing on his ruling since Friday. By the time a third hearing would be done Thornton will basically already back on the ice. It makes the whole process a bit of a joke, except when it comes to how much the players fork over in salary.