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Thornton's appeal unsuccessful; will sit two games

TSN.ca Staff

11/6/2010 11:29:24 PM

Joe Thornton's appeal hearing with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on Saturday was unsuccessful.

The San Jose Sharks centre held a meeting with Bettman at 11am et and, as expected, he will still have to serve his two-game suspension, starting tonight as he sits out San Jose's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

John Thornton, Joe's agent and brother, issued this statement following Saturday's denied appeal:

"The league once again failed to follow any precedent they have set when making disciplinary decisions.

They stated this was most similar to the (Nick) Foligno hit (on the Hurricanes' Patrick Dwyer in mid-October) which only resulted in a $2500 fine.

When Joe asked the league, directly, what he could have done differently, they could not clearly explain. I guess being 5'9" was Joe's only solution to avoid this suspension.

We are extremely disappointed with the league's decision and feel the continuing uncertainty with league actions will only hurt the fans of the NHL."

Joe Thornton was originally suspended two games for his hit on St. Louis Blues forward David Perron on Thursday night.

Colin Campbell was travelling on Friday, so Mike Murphy conducted the formal portion of the conference call hearing, and Murphy and Campbell determined that supplemental discipline was required.

The Sharks captain, talking to Gino Reda on TSN's That's Hockey on Friday, said he was surprised with the league's original decision to suspend him.

"I didn't see the hit last night but I saw it (Friday) morning," said Thornton. "I thought that was my ice. It's not like I ran anywhere, I took two steps onto the ice from the penalty box and he actually hit me so I was a little shocked when (Campbell) gave me the two games."

Thornton will forfeit $77,419.36 in salary, which will go to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

The 31-year-old was originally assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for the hit, that occurred in the second period. he said that he's received a lot of support from players around the league.

"I've had quite a few emails and texts from last night until this morning and guys were kind of questioning if I even should have gotten a two minute penalty."

Perron, who recovered from the hit to score a goal later in the game that the Blues won 2-0, didn't know who hit him at first.

"I asked the guys who hit me actually, because I didn't know who it was," Perron said after the game. "Obviously, Joe's not a dirty player."

Thornton went on to say that there is a lot of uncertainly amongst players regarding the new blindside hit rules.

"With this new rule I think everybody's just really sensitive right now and nobody really knows what's a penalty," said Thornton. "I think that's what's really confusing the players right now. Nobody really feels comfortable with this rule right now."