NEW YORK (AP) -- Marty McSorley will have lots of time to ponder what he did to Donald Brashear.
McSorley received the longest suspension for on-ice violence in NHL history Wednesday for his stick-swinging attack on Brashear.
The Boston defenseman will not be allow to play in the Bruins' final 23 regular-season games or in the playoffs should the last-place team in the Northeast Division make it that far.
The penalty was handed down as a result of McSorley's two-handed slash to Brashear's right temple Monday night in Boston's loss to the Vancouver Canucks.
''We must continue to be vigilant when there are acts that cross the line,'' commissioner Gary Bettman said. ''In response to a clearly inappropriate act, the league acted firmly and decisively.''
McSorley's behavior, and seventh NHL suspension, will cost him $72,000 in salary.
''We always try to make a statement in whatever we do because we don't want it to happen again,'' said executive vice president Colin Campbell, who handed out McSorley's punishment. ''We're trying to right a wrong.''
McSorley's hit on Brashear brought hockey into the national spotlight for all the wrong reasons in this the first year of the NHL's new television contract with ABC and ESPN.
''There isn't a sport that doesn't have incidents,'' Bettman said. ''The true measure is if you have an incident, how you deal with it.''
Bettman and Campbell both pointed to the fact that stick fouls and violence of this nature have declined.
''We made a real attempt last year, and we did lower it,'' Campbell said. ''They have been down this year, blows to the head, stick infractions, and I don't think this represents what happened this year at all.
''Unfortunately, it will get the play that it is, and you see the gathering that is here, but we have had a fairly lean year. I think that it has been good.''
McSorley, who apologized repeatedly for the hit that knocked out Brashear, did not attend a scheduled disciplinary hearing at NHL headquarters Wednesday on the advice of his lawyers.
Vancouver police, investigating the attack, plan to finish their work by next week. The findings will be sent to a prosecutor, who will decide on charges.
''We don't think further involvement by the authorities is necessary,'' said Bill Daly, the NHL's executive vice president and chief legal officer. ''We think we dealt with the situation decisively, harshly, and we think that's probably sufficient.''
The NHL players union declined comment.
Assistant general manager Mike O'Connell represented the Bruins at the meeting.
''They made it clear they don't condone what their player did in Vancouver, but they were here to support the player and support the team,'' Campbell said.
Before he can play again, McSorley must meet with Bettman, Daly and Campbell, who could decide to extend the suspension.
''I think at the appropriate time we have to make sure Marty understands the gravity of the act,'' Bettman said.
The commissioner did not speculate whether the 36-year-old McSorley would return to the NHL for his 18th season.
''You'd have to be clairvoyant to know,'' Bettman said. ''He's had a very long NHL career.''
The blindside swing to Brashear's head knocked the 28-year-old forward down, causing him to smack the back of his head on the ice. He sustained a concussion that will sideline him for at least several weeks and perhaps even the remainder of the season, said Canucks general manager Brian Burke.
''McSorley has always been known as an honest and tough player, but this is something he'll have to live with the rest of his life,'' Burke said.
Campbell stressed that Brashear's health was ''the most important factor'' in the severity of McSorley's punishment.
''He struck him from behind, and Donald Brashear has no idea -- probably still has no idea -- what happened to him unless someone told him or he's seen the individual replay,'' Campbell said.
The longest previous suspension was 21 games given to Washington's Dale Hunter for his blindside check of the New York Islanders' Pierre Turgeon after a goal in a 1993 playoff game. There have been longer suspensions for drug use.
McSorley, who signed with Boston in December, is in the last year of his contract and is believed to want to return next season.
''Marty was a player who arrived upon the scene as a tough hockey player and his toughness opened the door to become a skilled hockey player,'' said Campbell, who was McSorley's coach for only a handful of games when the enforcer played with the New York Rangers. ''It's unfortunate this had to rear its ugly head near the end of a pretty good hockey career.''
McSorley said he was just trying to goad Brashear into a fight at the end of Vancouver's 5-2 victory. They fought in the first period, with Brashear -- another of the league's heavyweights -- clearly getting the upper hand.
McSorley received a match penalty for attempt to injure and was suspended indefinitely Tuesday, pending the hearing. Brashear was also involved in a goal-mouth tangle in the game that caused a knee injury to Bruins goalie Byron Dafoe.
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