The Pittsburgh Penguins have been dealt a devastating blow on defense at the hands of Brooks Orpik.
Orpik, in his second playoff game since returning from an upper-body injury, delivered a predatory head shot on Penguins’ defenseman Olli Maatta. The Washington Capitals d-man made contact with Maatta’s head using his elbow/forearm at high speed.
As the video shows, Maatta passes the puck and continues to watch the play in front of the Washington Capitals net. Well after the puck had left Maatta’s stick, Orpik’s gaze did not leave the young defenseman as he ramped up for the hit.
Maatta had no idea what was about to strike him as Orpik lunged with full force into Maatta, making contact with his head. The Penguin dropped like a rock to the ice.
Orpik was assessed a two-minute minor penalty for interference and remained in the game.
As for Maatta, that was his second shift of the game. He was helped off the ice by teammates, and was clearly dazed. The Penguins insider account Tweeted there would be no update on Maatta until after his game, insinuating his return is unlikely.
No Maatta on the #Pens bench and likely no update until after the game -SK
— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) May 1, 2016
This action by Orpik will most likely draw the attention of the Department of Player Safety. There is a call to ‘make up’ for the lack of punishment on the ice, but that is not what DoPS does. They will be expected to do their job, hold a hearing, and punish Orpik for his actions; not cover for the misses of the officals.
“It’s a late hit. It’s a five minute major in my book,” Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said to NBC’s Pierre McGuire in an on the bench interview. “These are the types of hits we’re trying to get out of the game. It’s a late hit. I know it’s a tough call for the refs; there is a lot going on out there, but for me those aren’t the types of hits we want to see in our game.”
Nearly two weeks prior, Orpik himself was believed to be concussed when a hit by Ryan White sent him into the boards in Game 3 of the first round series against the Philadelphia Flyers. He did not play again until Game 1 of the second round.
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