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Brooks Orpik suspended 3 games for hit on Olli Maatta

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The NHL has suspended Brooks Orpik of the Washington Capitals for 3 games for his hit that injured Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL has suspended Brooks Orpik for 3 games due to his injurious hit on Olli Maatta .

The NHL noted that this was interference and Orpik was in full control of the play but still adjusted his course to make an excessively forceful hit high on Maatta. It's a bit surprising that the NHL actually had the courage and gumption to make a significant suspension, especially for the playoffs - but that's more due to their typical lack of action than it is regarding this hit. Orpik made an unacceptable hit and has to pay the price.

Ironically, Orpik himself was only cleared to play on Thursday just in time for Game 1 after suffering a head injury of his own in the Capitals last series.

Orpik will now miss Games 3-5 of this series, which will greatly affect the Washington defense. In the past without Orpik, they have shifted Nate Schmidt up to the 2nd pair with John Carlson (a unit that hasn't had as much success this season as Orpik-Carlson) and then have used two of Taylor Chorney, Dmitry Orlov and Mike Weber is a low-minute, heavily-sheltered 3rd pair. Orpik is also a key defender in Washington's playoff best penalty kill.

For the Pens, the future of their player involved remains murky. Coach Mike Sullivan said there was no update today as Maatta was getting treatment, but Sullivan wasn't optimistic that Maatta would play in Game 3. Realistically, he's probably out at least for that game, if not longer depending on the damage done.

In the 2 games of this series against the Penguins, the Capitals have already had 2 supplemental discipline incidents, with Tom Wilson receiving the maximum allowed fine for his kneeing of Conor Sheary in Game 1.