As someone who's a big proponent of fighting in hockey, I hate to see s*** like this because I know what it's eventually going to lead too. Stuff like this by Thornton, and John Scott attacking a skill player, is going to get fighting banned in hockey. This isn't the 70's or the 80's anymore, enforcers need to provide protection and keep teams honest. Not attack players who are considerably more talented then them, clean hit? Sure, please do. That's your role, dirt like this? You're going to cost yourself a job down the line. When even Don Cherry (pro fighting, pro Bruins) is visibly upset by it, you know it's not good.
You're right it will lead to the ban of fighting, but for more than the reasons you suggested. You say enforcers need to provide protection and keep teams honest., we're forever hearing on this board how we need Probert/Kocur/McCarty 2.0 to stop teams cheap-shotting us. Yet here we are with a Bruins star player getting kneed in the head.
A Bruin. A big, bad, Boston Bruin. A team (supposedly) so nasty they could play Rollerball. And all their toughness and meanness did nothing to stop one of their star players getting kneed in the head. So tell me again how enforcers police the game and stop cheap-shots.