Shawn Thornton has appealed the 15-game suspension handed to him after he was accused of attacking and injuring Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik, reports ESPN.

The Boston Bruins forward was given the ban following the incident on December 7th but has denied any wrongdoing and asked for an appeal hearing with commissioner Gary Bettman.

Even if they ban is reduced to as few as six games, Thornton still has the right to appeal to an independent arbitrator.

Thornton was given the ban by the NHL department of player safety on Saturday following a disciplinary hearing on Friday at the league's head offices in New York.

He didn't travel with the team on their four-game trip.

"We felt for him being home and not with us," forward Patrice Bergeron told reporters. "He's a great team guy, a veteran leader on our team, so we definitely miss him."

"It's about trying to be there for him. Obviously, he's a friend and a teammate," Bergeron said. "He obviously regrets what happened and would probably like to take that moment back. But that being said, he's living with the consequences and we all need to do that, also, and respect the league's decision."

Orpik suffered a concussion after the incident and had to be carried off on a stretcher. He is yet to play again for the Penguins.

A date for the appeal hearing is yet to be announced.

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