Penguins notebook: Orpik not fined for knee hit
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The NHL and its disciplinary arm did not come calling Friday for Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik, a day after he was given a major kneeing penalty and game misconduct after a hit on New York Rangers center Derek Stepan.
Orpik will not be fined or suspended for the hit, which came at 15:21 of the third period of a 5-2 Penguins win. It appeared Orpik's knee was out and caught Stepan on or near his knee.
Rangers coach John Tortorella was angry about the incident after the game, calling it a "cheap, dirty hit."
Stepan did not practice Friday, but indications are that he is not seriously injured.
Orpik has not spoken publicly since that game. He was the first player off the ice at the end of practice Friday at Southpointe and declined to be interviewed about the hit.
The Rangers had a different kind of injury scare in the second period Thursday, thanks to a freak play.
Penguins defenseman Brian Strait was shadowing Rangers center Brian Boyle, and the two swooped behind the Penguins net. Boyle pulled up injured, grabbing for his left hip or side area.
He had gotten butt-ended by Strait's stick, but not in any sort of dirty play.
"My stick got caught in the netting, and it jammed up into his side," Strait said. "It broke, thank God."
Boyle was in pain on the bench briefly but remained in the game. If Strait's stick hadn't snapped in two, Boyle might have been seriously injured -- and Strait realized that right away.
"I've seen it before, in college," said Strait, who played at Boston University. "A teammate of mine did it to himself, where he got his stick caught in the net going around the net. He actually got seriously injured, ruptured his spleen, and the guy wasn't able to play hockey for months and was in rough shape for a while.
"So I was a little nervous when that happened [Thursday].
"There's a lot of weird stuff like that in hockey. They're freak things. I was just glad to see [Boyle] played the rest of the game."
The three Penguins who sat out the game Thursday night against the Rangers because of undisclosed injuries -- forwards James Neal and Steve Sullivan and defenseman Matt Niskanen -- did not practice. Neither did forward Arron Asham.
Coach Dan Bylsma was evasive about their status for the regular-season finale today against Philadelphia, saying only that he expected a healthy lineup for the start of the playoffs Wednesday or Thursday.
Presumably, that lineup would be minus defenseman Ben Lovejoy, who is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery and has not resumed practicing.
After the Flyers' 6-4 win Sunday against the Penguins, coach Peter Laviolette credited ribs from Dee Jay's BBQ in Weirton, W.Va., for Philadelphia's 5-0 record at Consol Energy Center.
The Flyers have had that meal delivered to their plane for their postgame flights.
Dee Jay's apparently has decided not to sell food to the Flyers anymore in a show of support for the Penguins, but Bylsma said not to worry.
"I think we're taking care of the ribs [today]," Bylsma cracked, but he wouldn't go into detail.
"I can't disclose that," he said, adding that he sees this not as gamesmanship but as "ribsmanship."
First Published April 7, 2012 12:00 am