I don’t think many believed the NHL would take a hard stance against Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik for his illegal knee-on-knee Thursday night on Derek Stepan.
But many didn’t think John Tortorella would take the brunt of the punishment. But we were wrong, as the League handed Torts a $20,000 fine yesterday for his post-game comments against Orpik, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Penguins organization as a whole.
“Absolutely, it’s a cheap, dirty hit,” Tortorella said. “I wonder what would happen if we did it to their two whining stars over there, I wonder what would happen? So I’m anxious to see what happens with the league with this. Just no respect among players, none. It’s sickening.”
He wasn’t done. When asked why players have no respect for each other, Tortorella responded: “Ask the guy who did it, ask him. It’s one of the most arrogant organizations in the league. They whine about this stuff all the times and look what happens. It’s ridiculous, but they’ll whine about something else over there, won’t they? Starting with their two (bleepin’) stars.”
Torts spoke the truth and the League didn’t like it. Do we see some pattern developing? Last week, Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette complained about a late, big hit on Danny Briere in the dying minutes of a Flyers 6-4 loss that resulted in a melee. A few days later, Mike Milbury took the airwaves to bash Crosby and others on the team.
The Penguins are the love of the League. They get away with everything and escape punishment at every corner. I don’t think Orpiks’ knee was overly viscious but was still illegal. Could you imagine if that was Stu Bickel or Brandon Prust injuring Crosby or Malkin. I think the Rangers would forfeit their playoff spot.
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