Shawn Thornton Punches Brooks Orpik: Penguins Defenseman Stretchered Off Ice vs. Bruins (VIDEO)

12/07/2013 09:19 pm ET | Updated Dec 07, 2013

Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik was stretchered off the ice on Saturday after being repeatedly punched in the head by Bruins forward Shawn Thornton. The incident occurred in the first period after Boston's Brad Marchand took a knee to the face from Pittsburgh winger James Neal. While the refs were separating a few players from Marchand, Thornton pulled Orpik down from behind. Thornton then landed a few quick punches to Orpik's face before being dragged away.

Thornton was ejected while Neal was handed a minor penalty for kneeing.

According to ESPNBoston.com, Thornton attempted to fight Orpik earlier in the first period after the defenseman knocked Bruins' Loui Eriksson out of the game with a hard check.

The Penguins' official Twitter account posted an update on Orpik's status after the incident.

Thornton choked up while apologizing after the game, telling reporters that he felt "awful."

"Listen, I feel awful. It wasn’t my intention. I know Broosky, I’ve gotten to know him over the last 7 years here, I skate with him in the summer, through the lockout. I’ve texted him a couple of times. I definitely feel awful. It was not what I wanted to see or what anyone wanted to see," Thornton said after the game, per the Bruins' official tumblr account.

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