Sure, Thornton crossed the line in a disgusting way but it's not like the Penguins are a clean-team by any ways. Also Thornton has been in a lot of heated situations and never ever has been suspended, huge kudos to him and I would love to have a guy like him protecting Pasha, Z and the young guns instead of only one guy who is willing to stand up for them in Sam...
Loved what McCarty did back then and now that I'm older I love it even more! Rock'em Sock'em hockey, even Lemieux said he wanted a guy like McCarty on the Stars because of how well DMac played his role.
I don't know your age, and maybe it's a poor generalization on my part, but I tend to believe that many of us mid 30's, and older tend to be indifferent towards these sorts of violent acts (meaning that we were around in the 70's/80's when pro ice hockey was arguably it's most violent).
I'm not condoning what Thornton did to Orpik, and indeed it was a cheap shot...Now with that said - I'm the sort who's felt if a certain player has a habit of running, or injuring opponents, or is generally known around the league as a cheap shot artist - well - that player better grow eyes on the back of his head.