Some sporadic thoughts this morning on a game I didn't see that much of, but certainly heard a lot about.
- Obviously the Thornton battery of Orpik was terrible and worthy of a huge suspension. The slamming of the head into the ice was the most dangerous part, but the slew foot by Thornton that took Orpik down to the ice was the most revealing thing about his intent. Any ridiculous attempt to justify Thornton's actions by saying that Orpik should have "answered for" his clean hit on Loui Eriksson are just that -- ridiculous -- but are made even more ridiculous when Thornton himself has to make a bush league move to exact his "vengeance."
- Speaking of Orpik on Eriksson ... it's very unfortunate that Eriksson has a concussion, especially given that he missed time earlier in the season with a concussion. We hope he's ok, even if he has all the makings of a Penguins killer. But the Orpik hit was clean (I haven't seen any angles where there was contact with the head, but let me know if one exists). It's a hit that can be avoided by the player if the player keeps his head up, which is exactly the reason why Orpik (and guys like Niklas Kronwall) make that hit ... so the next time a winger gets a breakout pass in his own zone, he's trying not to get hit instead of taking the pass.
- The Neal knee to Marchand's head was not so clean and it was, actually, the least surprising thing that happened in the game given that it was James Neal taking a penalty in the offensive zone. He should be suspended for a few games. The bottom line for Neal is that as fantastic as he is, he really needs to reign in the fire a little but more, or at least figure out how to not take penalties in the offensive zone. Nothing he did justifies Thornton's battery, but too often, the little things the Pens do end up taking the game from a hockey game to a sideshow.
- And that's why how the Pens respond the next time these two teams play will be critical. Do the Pens try to get some of their own revenge, or do they try to play a hockey game? Fortunately -- or maybe unfortunately -- these teams won't meet until the playoffs. In most circumstances, we'd think that means the Pens would let this go ... but we know that even the playoffs don't always change things.
- The loss itself is meaningless. Pens are 1-1-1 against Boston this year. If they meet in the playoffs, it's basically a coin flip. Assuming everyone's healthy, that is.