Penguins notebook: Thornton punishment severe enough?



Penguins players, as well as coaches and management, seemed to make a point of avoiding the word “satisfied” when discussing the 15-game suspension Boston enforcer Shawn Thornton was assessed for assaulting defenseman Brooks Orpik in the first period Dec. 7 at TD Garden.

It seems clear, however, that they were not disappointed with the relative severity of Thornton’s punishment.

“It’s a big number,” winger Pascal Dupuis said. “Significant. Obviously, by putting that number [on it], they’re trying to get rid of that kind of action.”

Orpik was diagnosed with a concussion after being knocked unconscious by Thornton, and there is no target date for him to resume playing.

Center Sidney Crosby knows all about missing an extended period because of a concussion and felt Thornton’s punishment “was right around what everybody expected,” but he said it did not alter his perspective on the incident.

“I wasn’t going to judge how I felt about it based on the number of games,” Crosby said.

“We all know it was a bad situation. We want to see [Orpik] back as soon as possible. That’s really the most important thing.

“But 15 definitely sends a message that they didn’t like it and they don’t want to see it happen.”

No rest for the weary

The Penguins canceled practice Sunday after playing on back-to-back nights. There were no updates available on injured players, including center Evgeni Malkin and defenseman Kris Letang.

A game tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Consol Energy Center will be the Penguins’ third in four nights and part of a stretch of five games in seven nights, including two sets of back-to-back games.

Third time’s a charm

Rookie goalie Jeff Zatkoff, a Detroit native, stopped 28 of 29 shots in the Penguins’ 4-1 victory against the Red Wings Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena, and said it was particularly special because his parents were in the crowd.

But that wasn’t all that made the experience memorable.

“I lost both of my games in college [at Joe Louis],” said Zatkoff, who attended Miami of Ohio. “So it was nice to come out with a [victory].”

Dumoulin debut

Against the Red Wings, defenseman Brian Dumoulin made his NHL debut because of the absence of Letang, who was a late scratch, and then got increased ice time after defenseman Deryk Engelland was given a match penalty.

Dumoulin played 18 minutes, 10 seconds.

“Brian Dumoulin steps in there in tough situations, tough spots, a lot of [penalty-killing],” coach Dan Bylsma said. “I thought our defense, including Brian, had a great third period.”

Dumoulin, 22, said he “almost felt myself shaking a couple of times” early in the game, but his nerves eased as his playing time increased.

“When we went down to five [defensemen], it’s almost like I wasn’t thinking about it anymore,” he said. “It kind of took me away from playing in my first NHL game and [took] the nerves right out of it. I enjoyed it a lot.”


Shelly Anderson: shanderson@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1721 and Twitter @pgshelly.

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