Andrew Ference knows Shawn Thornton personally.

A former member of the Boston Bruins and now captain of the Edmonton Oilers, Ference doesn’t condone Thornton’s actions against Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman Brooks Orpik on Saturday.

Ference does, however, feel Thornton’s remorse is genuine.

“It was 100% genuine, I know him,” Ference said. “I talked to some of the guys in Boston (Sunday) and they said he was broken up about it for sure. That’s no act.

“But that play goes back many games, past years and heated games that happened. You see (Loui) Eriksson get hit like that, he’s seen many other teammates get hit like that. He tried to engage in a fight and it doesn’t happen, which is fine, guys aren’t forced to fight.

“But the knee to the head was scary and I’ve seen Thornton’s replay more than I’ve seen that.”

The bad blood Saturday started when Orpik laid out Eriksson with a body check at the blue line as the Penguins winger was looking down at the puck.

Thornton challenged Orpik in defence of his teammate but was dismissed.

Later in the opening period, Brad Marchand was tripped up at the blue line and James Neal skated through him, kneeing the Bruins winger in the head. On the ensuing scrum, Thornton took down an unsuspecting Orpik and punched him in the head, knocking the Penguins defenceman out cold.

Neal was handed a five-game suspension for is knee to Marchand’s head. Thornton is being called on the carpet and will have a hearing later this week to determine the length of his suspension.