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TSN's McKenzie offers thoughts on Neal, Thornton actions

TSN.ca Staff

12/7/2013 10:09:51 PM

Following James Neal's knee on Brad Marchand and Shawn Thornton's slew foot and punches to Brooks Orpik in the first period of the Pittsburgh Penguins-Boston Bruins game on Saturday, TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie weighed in on the two incidents on Twitter.

"I'm no rocket surgeon but have to think Shawn Thornton will get in-person hearing for knocking down Brooks Orpik and KOing him while down. I'd also imagine NHL [Department of] Player Safety will be looking hard at James Neal's knee to head of Brad Marchand for possible supplementary discipline."

McKenzie also addressed Orpik's initial hit on Loui Eriksson and his refusal to fight Thornton that precipitated the two incidents to follow.

"Orpik's hit on Eriksson was hockey play, could've been minor for interference, but well within context of game action. Orpik shouldn't necessarily be obliged to answer the bell to Thornton on that hit. It wasn't that egregious."

McKenzie believes Thornton will have a tough time explaining his actions.

"Thornton will have no defence for taking down Orpik and even less for punching him while he was down and not prepared to defend himself.

As for Neal, there could be more room for a benefit of the doubt based on actual intent.

"Neal on Marchand may or may not have been sneaky dirty or accidentally on purpose, but that's for NHL Player Safety to determine.

McKenzie also gave a final assessment on both.

"[My] guess is Thornton and Neal will both get suspended with Thornton somewhere between six games and double digits. Neal's number of games may hinge on Marchand's status.

Marchand did not leave the game.