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Shawn Thornton thinks Alexei Emelin is ‘what’s wrong with the league’

Thursday’s game between the Florida Panthers and Montreal Canadiens got a little chippy after Alexei Emelin delivered a hit on Derek McKenzie.

McKenzie’s teammate, Shawn Thornton, was on the ice and saw it all happen. As you’d expect, Thornton took exception to Emelin’s hit, and he went after the Canadiens defenseman right away.

As Thornton tried fighting Emelin, the Habs blue liner went down and protected his face from being pounded (top).

“I think he’s what’s wrong with the league these days,” Thornton said after the game, per Canadiens beat reporter Marc-Antoine Godin. “I think there’s no accountability anymore. You can run around and take headshots at our captain and just turtle and the refs save your life.

“So that’s my honest opinion of the guy. I don’t have any respect for him. I think he’s a pretty good defenseman, but I don’t like the way he plays.

There’s an important detail that Thornton may be overlooking. Emelin is forced to protect himself right away because he suffered such significant facial injuries during a hockey fight in Russia, that he had to have metal plates put into his face. He can’t take blows to the face.

Here’s the fight with Alexander Svitov from a few years ago: