Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik returned to the lineup for Game 4 of their second round series against the New York Rangers, but it’s not clear when he’ll play again.
In his first period since April 23, Orpik logged 5:15 minutes, was on the ice for teammate Evgeni Malkin’s goal, blocked two shots, and delivered two hits, including a particularly fierce one against Rangers forward Brad Richards.
That might be it though as Orpik wasn’t on the bench when the second period started. If he’s not able to return, the Penguins will be forced to use five defensemen for the remainder of the contest.
The 33-year-old defenseman might have suffered a setback, but that’s just speculation at this point. It’s worth noting though that he didn’t participate in a full practice before returning, per the Bergen Record’s Tom Gulitti.
Update: It looks like Orpik might have hurt his knee, which would be a new injury for him, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Rob Rossi.
Update 2: The Penguins have confirmed that Orpik’s current ailment is separate from his previous injury.
I've watched Orpik skate a lot the last few days. Hasn't looked 100 percent. Was surprised he dressed tonight.
“Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”
In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.
One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.
Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?
Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).
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