By John Vogl
YUL -- Shawn Thornton is filled with remorse after assaulting Brooks Orpik on Saturday night. It won't save him from Brendan Shanahan.
The Boston tough guy pulled an unexpecting Orpik to the ice and knocked him unconscious, the biggest lowlight in a cheap shot-filled game between the Bruins and Penguins. The video is below.
"Listen, I feel awful," Thornton said. "It wasn’t my intention. I know Brooksy, I’ve gotten to know him over the last seven years here. I skate with him in the summer, through the lockout. I’ve texted him a couple of times. I definitely feel awful. It was not what I wanted to see or what anyone wanted to see."
Orpik went to the hospital but made the flight home with the Penguins.
"Obviously, I made a mistake," Thornton said. "I’m aware of it. I’ve been told that I’ll be having a hearing and it’s hard for me to say much more other than that was not my intention. I feel awful and felt sick all game."
Thornton, who will have an in-person hearing with Shanahan, took exception to Orpik's clean hit on Loui Eriksson.
"That’s always my job, I guess, to defend my teammates, but I’ve prided myself for a long time to stay within the lines, and like I said, it’s hard for me to talk about right now," Thornton said. "I can’t say I’m sorry enough, and I’m sure I’ll be criticized for saying it, but it’s true. I, I just hope he’s doing alright. I heard that he’s conscious and talking, and I’m happy to hear that."
Pittsburgh's James Neal will have a phone hearing for a knee to the head of Brad Marchand, which is also in the video.