Devils tough guy Cam Janssen says the Shawn Thornton-Brooks Orpik incident could’ve been avoided had Orpik engaged Thornton when prompted to fight.
Here’s the excerpt, from a lengthy Q&A with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
“Thornton calls you out, he’s calling you out in front of everybody, and you don’t fight, then it’s not over. Then we’ve got to get our justice. We’ve got to get our justice and then something happens and boom that happens. All of a sudden he’s hurt. If Orpik would, once in a while … Once in a while … you don’t have to trade punches, you don’t have to stand in there and go toe to toe.
“If Orpik just would have dropped his gloves and grabbed on – he’s a strong guy – grabbed on, held off Thornton, maybe took a couple [punches], and threw him down or whatever the case it, then it’s over. Then it’s over. Then it’s done. You fought. You stuck up for yourself. If you don’t do that, somebody else on Orpik’s team, somebody on Pittsburgh has to do it for you because of what you did.
“If Orpik would have just stepped up – all he had to do was grab and hold on, hold on to him – then everything would have quieted down. You stuck up for yourself. You knocked [Bruins forward Loui Eriksson] out. You stuck up for yourself. All of sudden it’s over. You fought. Boom.”
Janssen, one of the NHL’s most active fighters over the last seven seasons, said Thornton had to “step up and do something” in the wake of Eriksson getting hit — but specified that the way Thornton went about it (slew footing Orpik, then punching him while on the ice) was wrong.
“Not saying what he did was correct,” Janssen explained. “[Thornton] should have spun him around, challenged him again, see what happened and go from there.
“He shouldn’t have done what he did. Stuff happens in the heat of the moment.”