Let me know if you’ve heard this one before: a hard hit by Brooks Orpik, a star player injured, and yet another mindless conversation about Orpik’s status as a dirty player.
It’s almost a carbon-copy of the incident that happened early this season in Boston when Orpik belted Loui Ericsson near the blue-line, except this time Shawn Thornton wasn’t around to karate chop Orpik when he was vulnerable on the ice.
Tonight, it was the Chicago Blackhawks and their captain Jonathan Toews playing the part of the victim. He didn’t return to the game.
But hey, don’t take my word for it. Have a look for yourself then draw your own conclusions.
Orpik watches Toews along the boards, keeps his shoulder and elbow down, and makes contact with Toews’s shoulder and drives up into him. His skates leave the ice a little, but only after initial contact had been made, and while Toews’ head was hit, it was not the principle point of contact.
Obviously when an elite talent like Toews goes down on a big hit, people are going to get fired up, but this is about as textbook of a hit as you can make. Orpik should not and will not be suspended or fined.
I’m sure this will spawn another mind-numbing conversation about fighting and self-policing in hockey, but if that hit is illegal, what is legal? I admit that Orpik has had his fair share of controversial hits, but this was simply not one of them.