Tortorella fumes over Orpik hit: “Imagine if it happened to one of their (bleeping) superstars”


The Pittsburgh Penguins can reasonably be called media darlings, but they’re far from angels. A questionable Brooks Orpik knee-to-knee hit on Derek Stepan during Pittsburgh’s 5-2 win has the New York Rangers fuming, with outspoken head coach John Tortorella leading the way.

Here’s a greatest hits collection of quotes via Steve Zipay:

“It’s one of the most arrogant organizations in the league. They whine about this stuff all the time and look what happens,” Tortorella said. “Imagine if it happened to one of their (bleepin) superstars.”

Jeez, Torts just never cuts to the core of a situation, does he? Always beating around the bush. A diplomat from birth.

Before we move on to the more specific “criticisms” of Orpik’s hit, you might want to judge it on your own. Check out video of that knee-to-knee below:

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Torts didn’t just snipe at the Penguins’ “whining” superstars, referring to Orpik’s check as a “cheap, dirty hit” while going back to the widely held point that there’s “no respect among players.” Zipay reports that Martin Biron was far from effusive about Orpik, as well.

So the natural question is: should Orpik be suspended? If so, for how long?

As Jason and Mike discussed on TV yesterday, the Penguins are already going into the highly probable Philadelphia Flyers series with some targets on their stars’ backs. (Tonight’s win assures that the Penguins will have the fourth seed.) If Pittsburgh meets the Rangers later on, they might as well just keep the bulls-eyes attached.

Here are highlights from the game:

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Check out this East update, including Pittsburgh clinching the fourth seed:

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Andrew Ference wrecks Ryan McDonagh with wicked hit from behind


This afternoon’s Bruins-Rangers tilt was the best game to have kick off a day full of hockey. Physical, tough hockey between the top two teams in the Eastern Conference makes for a hell of a matinee. Boston’s Andrew Ference helped turn a great game into one with an ugly finish thanks to his hit from behind on Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh in overtime.

Ference received a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct while McDonagh left the game injured. The Rangers capitalized with just under four seconds left in overtime on the power play to earn the 3-2 win over Boston. What was mostly a classic regular season game was marred by Ference’s hit.

After the game, Rangers coach John Tortorella was a bit blunt saying, “It’s one of the most dangerous hits I’ve seen in a while. Nothing has to be said as far as what should be done.”

Ference told’s Joe Haggerty that he was coming in too fast and the play ended with a bad result. Bruins coach Claude Julien said, “Andrew Ference is not a dirty player. He supports what league is trying to do with removing dangerous plays from the game.”

If that’s the case, he won’t mind seeing Ference have a seat for a game or two should Brendan Shanahan decide to suspend him.

Zac Rinaldo was cool with Milan Lucic hitting him questionably


While fans might be outraged, Zac Rinaldo is totally cool with how he was hit by Milan Lucic.

Rinaldo is a tough character the same way Lucic is, but he tells Tim Panaccio of that he’s all right and that Lucic’s hit is just how the game is played.

“It’s hockey, you hit and go into the boards, I don’t think it was dirty at all,” Rinaldo said. “Shoulder-to-shoulder and just momentum. He’s big guy, maybe double my weight. His momentum carried him into the boards awkwardly. I don’t think it was dirty at all.”

That’s all well and good for Rinaldo to be cool with it, but now it’s up to Brendan Shanahan to decide if he’s OK with the hit. Lucic had his meeting with Shanahan earlier this morning over the hit and we should know soon what his fate is. Boston has a game tonight against Montreal and if there’s anything that’s true in life, the Canadiens are rooting for the league to come down hard on Lucic just for the evening.

Launching pad: Fistric to meet with Shanahan for Niederreiter hit


Mark Fistric is going to make sure Brendan Shanahan stays extra busy while in Pebble Beach for the Board of Governors meeting.

Fistric has a phone hearing with Shanahan on Tuesday to discuss his hit on Islanders forward Nino Niederreiter that put him out of action with a concussion. As TSN’s Bob McKenzie clarifies, Fistric’s hearing will be to talk about him leaving his feet to make a hit not because he connected with Niederreiter’s head.

A phone hearing means that Fistric would, at most, see a five-game suspension if Shanahan sees fit to do so.

Whether you think Fistric left his feet or if you believe he came off his feet as a result of delivering a brutal check depends on whether you’re a Stars fan or not. To this untrained eye it appears that Fistric leaves his feet just before delivering the hit. That’s why we’re not referees though and breaking down a hit in slow motion can make figuring things out a lot more difficult rather than making it easier.

John Carlson avoids Shanahammer for head shot on Matt Cooke


Washington’s John Carlson isn’t going to be suspended for trying to take Matt Cooke’s head off  in last night’s 2-1 loss to Pittsburgh.

Well, this should be good and divisive.

Carlson appeared to take a run at Cooke’s head with a move Cooke knows all too well, sticking his elbow out to hit Cooke as the two collided. The amount of irony in seeing Cooke knocked down to the ice by way of a highly dubious hit is not lost on us. We’re also sure there’s no one outside of Pittsburgh feeling sorry for Cooke, either.

Of course, Pittsburgh fans are less than pleased with the situation — and they might have a beef here.

So did the league make a mistake in letting Carlson go without even so much as a hearing? Take a look at the video and see for yourself.