Well, anyone who watched the game last night saw that in the third period, with the Penguins well on their way to a victory, Derek Stepan carried the puck through the neutral zone, and was hit by Brooks Orpik. The hit was a knee-on-knee hit, and Stepan was down on the ice for a while before skating to the bench. Video is below:
When watching the video, different angles show different aspects of the hit. First, Stepan made a move at the last second to try and get around Orpik. Those last second moves are generally a precursor to this type of hit. However, Orpik appears to have led with his knee on the hit, which makes it a dirty hit. I went over to Pensburgh to see what they thought, and in the game thread even they thought it was a dirty hit.
That said, Orpik is not a dirty player. His hit on Stepan in the first period was as clean a hit as they come. It just so happened a hard nosed defender made a boneheaded play, and now the Rangers are going to suffer for it. It’s not the dirtiest hit I’ve seen, look at who else is on that roster, but it’s still a dirty hit.
The in-game call of a five minute major and a game misconduct was the right call on this hit. A suspension, likely a game, would also be the right call. After all, there is zero chance that Stepan will play tomorrow, so shouldn’t Orpik be punished as well?
But of course we are talking about the NHL and the Penguins, so Orpik will likely get one of those $5,000 slap on the wrists. If he does, expect another colorful interview with John Tortorella (more on that after the jump), because that will be one of those calls that goes in the Penguins favor.
Tortorella’s press conference hit the nail on the head, even if Penguin fans don’t agree.
The Penguins have a history of whining, especially when it comes to Sidney Crosby. In fact, some in Pittsburgh can see why Tortorella called out Crosby as a “whining star.” And to be honest, the other 28 teams in the NHL agree with the Rangers, although many won’t say it. The Penguins have had the benefit of having the darling child on their roster, and the calls generally go their way because of it. It’s a shame really.
Side note: What do you think the reaction would be if Stu Bickel did this to Crosby or Malkin? 50 game suspension? Disbanding of the Rangers?