Penguins' Orpik opens up about Thornton incident

Brooks Orpik of the Pittsburgh Penguins is carted off of the ice on a stretcher by the medical...

Brooks Orpik of the Pittsburgh Penguins is carted off of the ice on a stretcher by the medical staff in the first period after an altercation with Shawn Thornton of the Boston Bruins during the game at TD Garden on December 7, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images/AFP)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:22 PM ET

The dark days appear to be behind Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman Brooks Orpik.

Orpik, who said he has passed baseline tests and taken some contact in practice, is still recovering from a concussion he received in the attack by Boston Bruins forward Shawn Thornton earlier this month.

Thornton was given a 15-game suspension for slew-footing Orpik then punching him while he was prone on the ice, a ban he is appealing.

But the worst seems to be over for the 33-year-old defenceman. There is still no timetable for his return to action but it’s unlikely he will play Saturday against the Calgary Flames.

“The first two, three days were really miserable, bad headaches, memory loss with the incident itself,” Orpik told reporters Friday, the first time he has talked about the incident. “After that I remember everything. Since the incident there was no memory loss.”

Orpik said Thornton, who he considers a friend, apologized for the attack the day after the game. Thornton also talked to Orpik immediately after the game.

“I think he knew he made a mistake and regretted it right away,” Orpik said. “I had the same feeling with incidents that I’ve been a part of. You try to learn from it, move on and be smarter in similar situations going forward. I know him pretty well. He’s always been a pretty good friend of mine.

“I don’t really care about the suspension. Everyone is going to have an opinion. No one will be completely satisfied or completely agree with it.”


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