Penguins' Orpik out; Neal to have phone hearing
By Rob Rossi
Published: Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, 5:24 p.m.
The battered Penguins will be without two more key players Monday night.
Defenseman Brooks Orpik (concussion) will not play against Columbus at Consol Energy Center. The Penguins also expect that right winger James Neal will receive a multiple-game suspension after a phone hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety before the game.
Neal's suspension will be no more than five games. Otherwise, his hearing would have been in person with Player Safety vice president Brendan Shanahan.
Neal kneed Boston winger Brad Marchand in the head during a loss Saturday night at TD Garden.
A few seconds after that first-period incident, Orpik was taken to the ice from behind by Bruins winger Shawn Thornton, who then punched Orpik several times.
Thornton received a match penalty. His in-person hearing with Player Safety had not been scheduled as of Sunday afternoon.
Orpik, who was knocked out by Thornton and briefly hospitalized, was alert while resting at his home Sunday. He will need to pass a baseline cognitive test for return-to-play clearance as part of NHL concussion protocol.
The Penguins did not practice Sunday, and team officials were not available for comment. An update on Orpik is expected Monday.
The Penguins already were down two top-four defensemen in Rob Scuderi (ankle) and Paul Martin (foot). Also, center Evgeni Malkin, the NHL's second-leading scorer, has missed the past two games and did not accompany the Penguins to Boston.
Coach Dan Bylsma's squad is entering a third consecutive week with a 23-man roster that includes at least five AHL regulars.
Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.
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