***SEE POLL BELOW*** Also, we have both the video of the Thornton hit AND the Neal hit
Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik left Saturday’s game against the Boston Bruins in the first period on a stretcher after being knocked to the ice and punched in the face repeatedly by Bruins forward Shawn Thornton, in what some are calling “another Todd Bertuzzi incident.”
The play occurred at 11:06 in the first period after Penguins forward James Neal was called for kneeing on Brad Marchand. Marchand was kneeling on the ice when Neal drove his knee into his head as he passed him. The Boston Bruins forward remained in the game.
As the referees were conversing with Penguins players explaining the reasoning behind the penalty, Thornton approached the group and deliberately slew-footed Orpik’s leg, throwing him to the ice.
Thornton then proceeded to repeatedly punch Orpik’s face while he was lying motionless on the ice, leaving him unconscious. A stretcher escorted Orpik off the ice and he was sent to a local hospital immediately.
Earlier in the period, Orpik knocked Bruins forward Loui Erikkson out of the game with a high hit. No penalty was called on the play despite Erikkson not having complete control of the puck at the point of contact. Thornton attempted to initiate Orpik into a fight seconds later, but was refused.
Thornton received a match penalty for his unsuspecting onslaught on Orpik. Brendan Shanahan will certainly have his fair share of criticism if he doesn’t handle this one properly!