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Penguins notebook: Orpik won't be disciplined for Toews hit

| Monday, March 31, 2014, 4:24 p.m.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Brooks Orpik lines up the Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews for a second-period check that knocks Toews out of the game Sunday, March 30, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.

Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik will not face a hearing from the NHL for his hit on Chicago's Jonathan Toews that caused the Blackhawks' captain to leave Sunday night's game. No penalty was called on the play, and the league's Department of Player Safety did not deem the hit illegal. Toews was favoring his upper left arm after the hit into the boards in the right-wing corner. After the game, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said he didn't think the injury was serious and that Toews is day-to-day.

• Lost in the return of Paul Martin to practice was that forward Joe Vitale also was back at practice. He has not played since March 20. On Sunday, coach Dan Bylsma said Vitale was “week-to-week” with a “mid-body” injury. On Monday, Bylsma said there was no update to that status.

• Bylsma suggested the composition of the team's third and fourth lines could be altered for different playoff series, pending the opponent. “Certain opponents, whether they're a big, strong, heavy team or we're playing a fast, speed team in the playoffs,” Bylsma said. “There's a difference between (5-foot-8) Brian Gibbons and (6-4) Taylor Pyatt in terms of those things. We've been looking at some of those combinations on the third and fourth lines over the last five games and over the next seven.”

• Four days after finishing off a five-game season series sweep of Columbus, the Penguins have a chance to complete a four-game season sweep of Carolina on Tuesday. “I'd like to place some significance on it, (but) I don't know if I can,” Bylsma said. Bylsma noted that beating the Blue Jackets all five meetings is a 20-point swing between those two teams — if Columbus had won all five, it would be ahead of the Penguins in the standings. “Does it mean much more than that?” Bylsma said. “I'm not sure it does.” Carolina did earn a point against the Penguins this season; a Dec. 27 overtime loss.

• Monday's 11 a.m. practice wrapped up in less than 40 minutes. On Opening Day in Pittsburgh, a large “Jolly Roger” flag hung at the entrance to the Penguins' locker room, and there was significant chatter among the players about baseball. With a smile, Bylsma encouraged the media to keep his post-practice session brief. “Let's end this thing quickly,” he said. “This will be the last question. We've got to go see a baseball game.”

— Chris Adamski

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