ORPIK OUT OF HOSPITAL
The Pittsburgh Penguins suffered a heatbreaking 3-2 loss to the Boston Bruins on a Zdeno Chara game winning goal with 13 seconds left in regulation, but the game was nothing more than an after thought.
Defenseman Brooks Orpik was knocked unconscious by Bruins tough guy Shawn Thornton on a sickening display of actions by Thornton during a stoppage in play at 11:06 of the first period.
In what seemed to be a response from a crushing hit Orpik delivered on Loui Eriksson on the first shift of the game, Orpik was jumped from behind and slew footed down to the ice by Thornton and then knocked unconscious as Thornton punched a defenseless Orpik twice.
Orpik left the game on a stretcher and was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital. The good news is Orpik has been released from the hospital and is traveling back with the team.
The question now is how hard the league comes down on Thornton. My initial reaction was the league needs to come down extremely hard and deliver a 20-25 game suspension. The likelihood, though, is that Thornton gets somewhere around 10 games.
Thornton was said to be almost be in tears after the game. “Obviously, I made a mistake,” Thornton said. “I’m aware of it. I’ve been told they’re having a hearing and it’s hard for me to say much more than that. It was not my intention. I feel awful. I felt sick all game….
“Listen I feel awful. “I know Brooksie,” Thornton said. “I’ve gotten to know him over the last several years here. I skated with him in the summer through the lockout. I texted him a couple times. I feel awful. It definitely was not I wanted to see or anybody wanted to see.”
Thornton normally plays within the lines and while this was probably a situation where his emotions got the best out him and he just lost it, but there’s no excuse for him losing it like he did and the league has to come down with at least a 10-12 game suspension.