The NHL announced Sunday evening that Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik has been suspended for three games as a result of his hit on Olli Määttä in Game 2 against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday in D.C.
The play occurred at 4:13 of the first period after the Penguins had entered the Washington zone. A full second after a centering attempt from Määttä, Orpik followed through with an elbow to the head of the Pittsburgh blueliner. Määttä immediately went to the locker room and did not return to the game. His status for Monday’s Game 3 still remains in question.
possible reasonable explanations: has a bet going to see what it takes to get suspended in the playoffs pic.twitter.com/ZfEi9Ts4OP
— Stephanie (@myregularface) May 1, 2016
The League’s Department of Player Safety said in their video announcing the decision that the lateness of the hit, Orpik’s knowledge that Määttä was not eligible to be checked, and the contact with the head were all factors in the verdict. Orpik has been suspended twice in his NHL career.
Orpik has long been paired with John Carlson on the team’s top defensive pairing. It’s fair to expect Karl Alzner and Matt Niskanen to now comprise the top pairing, with Carlson and Nate Schmidt on the second pair.