Penguins' Orpik: Thornton was 'apologetic'
By Chris Adamski
Published: Friday, Dec. 20, 2013, 7:33 p.m.
Calling the man who attacked him from behind during a stoppage in play “a pretty good friend,” Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik on Friday largely defended Boston Bruins forward Shawn Thornton.
Orpik, who suffered a concussion after being punched repeatedly by Thornton, participated in a Penguins practice for the first time since the Dec. 7 incident in Boston. He also spoke publicly for the first time since.
“My record is far from perfect in this league and far from being completely clean,” said Orpik, who estimated he worked out with Thornton in Boston 40 to 50 times during last season's lockout. “It's one of those things where I think he knew he made a mistake and regretted it right away. I've felt the same way with certain incidents I've been a part of, and I think he tried to learn from it, move on and try to be smarter in similar situations going forward.”
Orpik, who has been suspended twice in his career but not since 2006, said he “feels a lot better” than he did last week, when he had severe headaches in the two to three days after being wheeled off the TD Garden ice on a stretcher.
Orpik, who said this was his first concussion as a pro, said Thornton reached out to him the next night and the following day. “He was really apologetic,” Orpik said.
Orpik has memory loss of that game but nothing else. He said he has not watched replays of the attack, nor does he want to.
That enabled the 10-year veteran to sidestep commenting in detail on the incident or Thornton's discipline.
“My opinion is probably different than the next guy and different from the next guy,” was a popular refrain from Orpik.
The closest Orpik came to admonishing Thornton or those defending him was a subtle rebuttal to those who say he should have fought Thornton after angering the Bruins with a crushing but legal hit on Loui Eriksson.
“There are a lot of hits during the season,” Orpik said, “so there'd be a lot of fighting if that was the case.”
Symptom-free for a week and having passed the baseline concussion test, Orpik was allowed to absorb light contact while skating with injured teammates Thursday. When he felt fine Friday morning, he was cleared, with no restrictions, to practice. The workout wasn't strenuous. The Penguins are in the midst of a stretch of six games in nine days that concludes with an afternoon game Saturday against the Calgary Flames at Consol Energy Center.
“It was kind of getting back into the flow of things, I guess,” Orpik said. “I don't know when I'll be back playing. I don't want to screw up a good thing.”
With games Saturday and Monday the only ones scheduled for the Penguins until after Christmas, it is unlikely Orpik will play until Friday at Carolina at the earliest.
Chris Adamski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Analysis: Kesler still on Pens’ radar as Shero aims to bring back ‘Big 3’
- Penguins GM Shero’s deadline deals: Addition by subtraction
- Penguins minor league report: Defenseman Dumoulin optimistic for home stretch
- Penguins notebook: Fleury feeling sharp entering tough stretch
- Trade to Penguins caps frenetic period for winger Stempniak
- Penguins notebook: Maatta leaves lasting impression with Selanne
- Penguins stave off Ducks’ shooting barrage to win in shootout
- Analysis: Kesler remains on Penguins radar as Shero looks bring back ‘Big 3’ formula
- Stempniak, Goc embrace trades to Penguins
- Penguins notebook: Sutter surprised by trade possibility
- Penguins notebook: Team hopes to avoid post-Olympic rust