NHL Morning Links - Dec. 17 

December, 17, 2013
12/17/13
10:45
AM ET
Forward Shawn Thornton is opting to roll the dice. According to the player’s agent and the NHLPA, the Boston Bruins veteran is appealing his 15-game suspension for attacking Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik on Dec. 7. Next up is a hearing with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. If the suspension still sits at six games or more after Bettman makes his call, Thornton can then take his appeal to an independent arbitrator. Of course, Thornton also runs the risk of seeing his suspension increased. TSN legal analyst Eric Macramalla suggests odds are slim the punishment is altered by either the commissioner or, if it gets that far, a neutral authority. Also, Macramalla proposes the entire process should pass rather quickly.

As for Orpik (concussion symptoms), there’s word the Penguins defenseman is feeling better. Welcome news, considering how devastated the Pens’ blue line is by injury. While Kris Letang (undisclosed upper-body injury) and Rob Scuderi (broken ankle) aren’t due back until after the Christmas break, Paul Martin (broken leg) isn’t scheduled to return until mid-January. ESPN Insider Craig Custance looks into whether the Penguins can keep up their winning ways with some many key figures hurt. Forward Evgeni Malkin is also listed as day-to-day.

In other suspension-related news, Edmonton Oilers defenseman Corey Potter has been told to sit out two games for boarding forward Nick Bonino of the Anaheim Ducks. And Deryk Engelland (Penguins) has an in-person hearing with the NHL's discipline department set for Wednesday after elbowing Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader in the jaw.