NEW YORK (WFAN) – The Rangers didn’t just lose a practically meaningless game. They may have also lost their fourth-leading scorer after a vicious hit against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday.
Blueshirts center Derek Stepan was not on the ice for practice Friday morning, the team tweeted, a day after a knee-to-knee hit from Brooks Orpik late in the third period knocked him out of the game.
“Rode here with Step. He’s sore, but don’t think it’s serious,” Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh told Newsday’s Steve Zipay. “I was scared especially the speed he was going. Could’ve been bad.”
Zipay reported via Twitter that there’s “no hearing scheduled” for Orpik, “and (it) appears there won’t be.” Meanwhile, Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweeted “early indications” are the enforcer wouldn’t be fined or suspended.
Rangers coach John Tortorella blasted Orpik after the loss for what he called a “cheap, dirty hit.” He also took aim at the Penguins, an organization he described as “one of the most arrogant” in the NHL.
“I wonder what would happen if we did it to their two whining stars over there,” Tortorella said. “I wonder what would happen. So I’m anxious to see what happens with the league with this. Just not respect amongst players. None. It’s sickening.”
“They whine about this stuff all of the time, and look what happens?” he added. “It’s ridiculous. But they’ll whine about something else over there, won’t they?”
Tortorella wasn’t the only Ranger to call Orpik out for the play.
“It was pretty gutless and dirty, and that guy’s known for sticking his knee out and his elbow out,” said goalie Martin Biron. “I don’t really care what he says in defense of what he did, it was dirty. … He’s going to continue to do that unless somebody just gets him either with a suspension or whatever.”
Losing Stepan for a period of time could be devastating for the playoff-bound Rangers, who secured the top seed in the Eastern Conference for the first time in 18 years.
Do you think the league should punish Orpik? Sound off in the comments below…