Crosby on Thornton: ‘It was terrible; I’m sure he knows that …’

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Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he thought Shawn Thornton’s incident with Brooks Orpik was “terrible,” but his overall assessment of the situation was pretty level-headed.

For one thing, he gave a pretty reasonable explanation for why he believes Orpik had the right to reject a fight following his big hit on Loui Eriksson.

” … For [Orpik], he’s got to play 25 minutes a night against the other team’s players. For him to fight, probably isn’t going help us,” Crosby said. “I don’t think he has to punish our team because he’s made a big hit on some guy. I don’t think [it makes] sense for him to fight there. But that happens. Every team responds like that for the most part. Sometimes guys go, sometimes they don’t. There are other ways to respond.”

Ultimately, it sounds like Crosby’s issue isn’t with Thornton attempting to fight Orpik. Instead, it’s about how he went about doing it (which Thornton has profusely apologized about, by the way).

“I don’t see a problem with Thornton going over to [Orpik] and asking him to fight. That’s the response,” Crosby said. “But to do what he did was totally unnecessary. It’s terrible. I’m sure he knows that more than everybody. He’s made a living at protecting his teammate and sticking up for them. But to confront [Orpik] and ask him to fight, I think every team wants a player like that. There’s nothing wrong with that. But to do what he did to him is not acceptable.”

Word is that we’ll find out if the NHL agrees – and to what degree, as far as how long a potential suspension may be – on Wednesday.

In case you want to see how they fare without Orpik, Crosby’s Penguins face the Columbus Blue Jackets on NBCSN Monday.