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Bruins tough guy Shawn Thornton banned for 15 games for attack on Orpik

Boston Bruins right wing Shawn Thornton argues a call, Nov. 7, 2013, in Boston. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Charles Krupa

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Boston Bruins right wing Shawn Thornton argues a call, Nov. 7, 2013, in Boston. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Charles Krupa

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Bruins tough guy Shawn Thornton has been suspended 15 games for his attack on Penguins defenceman Brooks Orpik.

The ban was handed down after an in-person disciplinary hearing Friday with NHL officials.

Thornton hasn't played since last Saturday when he was assessed a match penalty during Boston's 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at TD Garden.

Thornton went after Orpik during a stoppage in play, slew-footing him to the ice and punching him twice in the head.

Orpik suffered a concussion and was taken off the ice on a stretcher and transported to the hospital.

"I can't say I'm sorry enough," a repentant Thornton said after the game.

Orpik is still experiencing concussion-like symptoms and took part in a light skating session for the first time Friday.

Orpik had knocked Boston's Loui Eriksson out of the game earlier with a hit that went unpenalized. The Penguins blue-liner subsequently declined to fight Thornton.

Pens forward James Neal was suspended for five games earlier this week for kneeing Brad Marchand in the head during the same game.

Thornton, a first-time offender, has already missed games against Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton.

The 36-year-old from Oshawa, Ont., has three goals and 41 penalty minutes in 27 games this season.

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