15 games 'too much' for Shawn Thornton: Don Cherry

Hockey commentator and former coach Don Cherry. (REUTERS)

Hockey commentator and former coach Don Cherry. (REUTERS)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:28 PM ET

Don Cherry made it abundantly clear Saturday night he disagrees with Brendan Shanahan's ruling on Shawn Thornton.

Shanahan, the NHL's disciplinarian, handed Thornton, an enforcer for the Boston Bruins, a 15-game suspension for knocking Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman Brooks Orpik unconscious last Saturday. Orpik left the game on a stretcher and has been placed on Pittsburgh's injured reserve list.

On his Hockey Night in Canada segment ‘Coach's Corner,' Cherry said Orpick had to "pay the price" and Thornton's ban is "too much."

Instead, Cherry believes 10 games would have been an appropriate suspension length.

"If you hit like that, and you act like that, be prepared, somebody's coming," Cherry said.

"Orpik, I feel sorry for him, he got a concussion, but if you hit like that, be ready."

Earlier in the game, Orpik had run over Loui Eriksson, one of Boston's top players, in legal fashion. Thornton challenged Orpik to a fight at the time but was denied.

At least one well-respected NHLer -- Daniel Alfredsson -- doesn't subscribe to the same school of thought as Cherry.

The 41-year-old Detroit Red Wings forward said he doesn’t think players should have to defend themselves for clean plays -- like Orpik's on Eriksson.

“Not at all,” Alfredsson told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “That’s the old school. Let (the) ref decide if it was illegal.”


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