The Hurricanes announced that Eric Cole has a compression fracture in a vertebra in his neck and likely will miss at least the balance of the regular season, after Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik hit him from behind in Saturday's game.
"Obviously, it could have been worse," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette told the Raleigh News & Observer. "You don't even want to think of what the worst could have been."
"I've never been accused of playing dirty," Orpik said yesterday. "I've never had a hitting-from-behind penalty, or been accused of that. I don't know where that comes from."
The NHL will review the play of when Cole was injured and news that he might be out 6-8 weeks doesn't help Orpik, who was given a boarding major and game misconduct on Saturday. Neither does the fact that Cole is a big contributor on the Carolina team that's leading the overall points race.
"I've seen way worse than that that doesn't even come close to getting [the offending player] suspended," Orpik said. "But whenever a guy gets hurt, they always look at it a little more closely, and that's a team that's in first place and [Cole is] one of their best players.
"As much as they say that doesn't play a role in things ... I think they're going to hold you a little more accountable when it's one of their star guys."
"He's a big part of their team, and I understand the frustration from their side," Orpik said.
We do not yet know if Orpik be fined or suspended for the hit, but it will be announced before the Penguins play Tampa Bay at 7:30 tomorrow at Mellon Arena.
|comments: 1 comment or Leave a comment|