We haven't heard too much about Brooks Orpik this week, as the Penguins defenseman rested. He was said, understandably to have a sore neck and headaches as a result of his concussion suffered when Shawn Thornton attacked him Saturday night, resulting in unconsciousness and short-term memory loss.
So it was quite the surprise when Orpik was on the ice this morning before the Pens game-day skate, with fellow injured players Tanner Glass and Rob Scuderi.
As the twitter universe (well, mainly Boston folks) started wondering aloud if Orpik's progress might mean a lighter sentence for Thornton, who's discipline hearing is at 1 PM today, they can think again.
Brooks Orpik had a light exercise on the ice. Part of the protocol. Still has concussion symptoms, per #Pens coach Bylsma— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) December 13, 2013
Bylsma points out that Orpik skating isn't progress, just keeping him active #Pens— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) December 13, 2013
Orpik hasn't taken an imPACT concussion test and is no where close to returning. Remember that Sidney Crosby also returned to skate on March 20th, 2011 and didn't end up returning for eight more months, on November 21st 2011.
So don't read too much into Orpik's twirl on the ice today. While it's certainly good news that he's even able to put his gear on and do some light exercise and presumably be in lit rooms and is capable enough to drive himself to and from the arena, he still does have concussion symptoms and is not close to returning to the lineup.
We'll see today what suspension is handed down for Thornton, but the bottom line is his defenders should not point to Orpik's activity today as a sign of progress or a lucky break for a shorter suspension, because skating doesn't equal progress.