Penguins’ Orpik embroiled in controversy after hard hit on Toews

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.

  • Ryan Rodríguez

    Any contact to Toews’ head is accidental. He’s lower than Orpik is, and Orpik actually pulls up a bit before the hit. He would have had to slid in on his knees to be low enough to avoid all contact with the head.

  • Pearlbuck

    His skates left the ice a “little bit” and he hits him in the head “but”…
    His rear skate is high off the ice before contact. And the initial point of contact is his head. If it’s a judgment call, and it happens to your Captain, your judgment is obviously going to be to take this guy’s head off at the next opportunity.

  • krusty

    Engblom is blind. he saw nothing wrong with that hit? Three angles showed Orpik made primary contact with the head, not the shoulder.

  • ScottPeceny

    Love the no-call here. Don’t see a problem with the hit at all. Toews has to keep his head up.

    • chitownAL21

      stupid response. Isn’t it Orpik’s responsibility to not hit a defenseless player? He had plenty of time to back off and deliver a respectful hit, not a charge from 20 ft. Get a clue. You love the no-call? Really? I guess the rule book is worthless.

      42.1 Charging – A minor or major penalty shall be imposed on a player who skates or jumps into, or charges an opponent in any manner.

      Charging shall mean the actions of a player who, as a result of distance traveled, shall violently check an opponent in any manner. A “charge” may be the result of a check into the boards, into the goal frame or in open ice.

      • ScottPeceny

        I don’t see a charge. Orpik isn’t skating when he hits Toews- he holds up a solid 2-3 steps from Toews. Orpik is a physical player and he’s paid to be exactly that. Even with the new rules, hockey is still a collision sport and the rules protect hits like this one, which is exactly why there wasn’t a penalty or a fine. If this hit is on Andrew Shaw, nobody is talking about it, plain and simple.

  • Dave

    Look at the tape on SB Nation. Orpik’s shoulder is actually ABOVE Toews’ head when the hit is made. It’s Orpik’s fore arm and elbow that catches Toews in the head. Definitely not a clean check.

  • Evil Pens

    Seriously? Mike? He left his feet? After the hit, open your eyes idiot. As for bob… he should be suspended for WHAT? A clean hit? Wow, you 2 really know your hockey. So I guess if it were Simmonds or Chara with that hit or even Lucic it’d be ok right?

  • Mike

    Was clean if he didn’t leave his feet…. but he did. Suspension should be coming for that one.

    • rossdaniels1987

      The rule is you can’t leave your feet before you make the hit. He left his feet after the fit was made. It was clean.

      • Pearlbuck

        You’re allowed to leave one foot before the hit? Is that what the rule says?

      • chitownAL21

        How was it clean? The hit isn’t the issue, although it could also be. It was clearly a charge. Read the rule book:

        42.1 Charging – A minor or major penalty shall be imposed on a player who skates or jumps into, or charges an opponent in any manner.

        Charging shall mean the actions of a player who, as a result of distance traveled, shall violently check an opponent in any manner. A “charge” may be the result of a check into the boards, into the goal frame or in open ice.

  • bob

    idiotic bias bullshit article. he deserves a game or two or more.

  • .

    You’re an idiot