BOSTON (CBS) — For the first time since getting knocked out by a series of Shawn Thornton punches on Boston ice, Brooks Orpik spoke to the media on Friday, nearly two full weeks after the incident.
Orpik suffered a concussion as a result of Thornton’s gloved punches. He said that he spoke with Thornton the night of the incident and that the Bruins enforcer apologized.
“He texted me, he was really apologetic,” Orpik said. “My record’s far from perfect in this league or far from being completely clean, so it’s one of those things where I think he knew he made a mistake and he regretted it right away. I’ve had the same feeling with certain incidents that I’ve been a part of, and I think you just try to learn from it and move on and try to be smarter in similar situations going forward.
“I know him pretty well, and he’s always been a pretty good friend of mine.”
Orpik, who played high school and collegiate hockey in Massachusetts, skated with Thornton as part of a larger group in the offseason and during the lockout.
“He was really apologetic,” Orpik said. “I got to know him pretty well the last four or five years. Last year, I think we skated probably — I don’t know, it was a long lockout — so probably 40 or 50 times together, worked out together, went to lunch together, stuff like that.
He described the days that followed the concussion as “miserable” but that he has not suffered any memory loss, aside from the incident itself. Orpik said he hasn’t even watched it on video.
“I haven’t watched it and I don’t have any memory of it, so I don’t have a thought on it,” Orpik said. “I’ve kind of avoided it, I don’t really have any desire to watch it, to be honest.”
As for the suggestion that the whole incident wouldn’t have happened if he had just agreed to fight Thornton to “answer” for his own hit that concussed Loui Eriksson, Orpik disagreed with the notion.
“My opinion’s probably different from the next guy and different from the next guy,” Orpik said. “There’s a lot of hits during the season, so there would be a lot of fighting if that was the case.”
Orpik returned to practice on Friday, and he said he has started absorbing some light contact.
Thornton was issued a 15-game suspension for his actions. On Friday, he met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman for an appeal hearing to have it reduced.