Bruins' Thornton facing in-person hearing for attacking Brooks Orpik

Thomas Drance

An otherwise riveting game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston Bruins was marred on Saturday night by a litany of brutal incidents. 

Bruins forward Shawn Thornton will face an in-person hearing with league disciplinarians for his role in an attack on Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik. It was a unique, ghastly incident as Thornton grabbed Orpik from behind during a scrum, pulled him down, and struck the Penguins defenseman multiple times in the head while he was lying prone on the ice.

There will also be a phone hearing between the NHL's Department of Player Safety and Penguins forward James Neal, who kneed Bruins forward Brad Marchand in the head when he was lying defenseless on the ice. This was the incident that immediately preceded Thornton's mugging of Orpik, the match which ignited the whole conflagration. 

And in the wake of the multiple acts of senseless violence: multiple head-injuries. The Boston Bruins will be without winger Loui Eriksson indefinitely, as he sustained his second concussion of the year. Eriksson was tagged by a legal hit from Orpik early in the first period, raising the emotional stakes of the contest almost as soon as the puck initially dropped.

The Penguins will also be without a major contributor indefinitely in Orpik, a sturdy tough-minutes defenseman, as the presumption is that he too sustained a concussion.

As Shawn Thornton said rather perceptively after the game: "It’s definitely not what I’d want to see, or what anybody would want to see."

For a full recap of the ugliness tonight in Boston, check out the storyline below.