Torts Rips Pens' 'Dirty Hit'

Article excerpt

PITTSBURGH -- The Rangers were furious and not because they lost what was, for them, a meaningless game, to the Penguins.

But Brooks Orpik's knee-to-knee hit on Derek Stepan at 15:21 of the third period in the Penguins' 5-2 win sent Rangers coach John Tortorella into a postgame tirade that also took shots at Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

"Absolutely, it's a cheap, dirty hit," Tortorella said, his voice rising. "I wonder what would happen if we did it to their two whining stars over there, I wonder what would happen? So I'm anxious to see what happens with the league with this. Just no respect among players. None. It's sickening."

The Rangers (51-23-7) already had clinched first place in the Eastern Conference with Tuesday's 5-3 win at Philadelphia and the Penguins (50-25-6) clinched the fourth seed with Thursday's victory.

But the Rangers now have to worry about Stepan's availability.

Orpik appeared to stick out his leg to hit Stepan's right knee as he crossed the Penguins' blue line. Orpik, who also crushed Stepan into the backboards in the first period, received a five-minute major for kneeing and a game misconduct. Stepan skated off the ice under his own power and remained on the bench for the remainder of the game.

The Rangers did not have an immediate update on Stepan, who received treatment after the game and was not available to the media. Orpik did not speak to the media, either.

"Ask the guy who did it, ask him," Tortorella said when pressed on the lack of respect among players. "It's one of the most arrogant organizations in the league. They whine about this stuff all the time and look what happens. It's ridiculous, but they'll whine about something else over there, won't they? Starting with their two [freakin'] stars."

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma defended Orpik by saying his defenseman was trying to hit Stepan on an angle. …