Shawn Thornton assaulted Brooks Orpik in an incident which might be described as the worst moment of the 2013-14 NHL season. Thornton jumped Orpik from behind, threw him to the ice and then punched him in the head multiple times. Orpik had to be taken off on a stretcher.
Earlier in the game Orpik knocked Boston's Loui Eriksson out of the game with a crunching hit. Orpik was challenged by the Bruins, but he declined the invitation to fight. Later, James Neal hit Brad Marchand in the back of the head with his knee. This sent Thornton into a rage and the forward completely lost his mind as you can see in the video above.
There are no excuses for Thornton's behavior. Yes, the officials may have let this game get out of hand, but there's absolutely no justification for a player pummeling an opponent in the head while he's down and defenseless on the ice.
The timing of this incident is loaded with irony. Just a few days ago Thornton had an interview with ESPN where he justified fighting in the NHL and explained how it prevents dirty play. Now he's at the heart of one of the dirtiest plays in recent memory.
How big of a punishment does Thornton deserve?