Former NHL player and coach and current Chicago Blackhawks television analyst Eddie Olczyk said Monday he was disappointed the Blackhawks didn’t retaliate immediately when their captain Jonathan Toews suffered an injury from a hit by the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Brooks Orpik on Sunday.
Toews was knocked into the boards by Orpik and fell to the ice in the second period on Sunday. Toews got up slowly and was seen holding his left arm as he went off the ice. He did not return to the game. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Sunday he did not believe Toews’ injury was serious and he would be reevaluated on Monday. Orpik was not penalized on the play.
“The game is much different now than when I played,” Olczyk said on WGWG-LP 87.7 FM on Monday. “The game is much different than when I coached. Once the response didn’t happen, I knew it wasn’t going to happen. Was I disappointed? Absolutely.
“I don’t care what team this is. It’s Opening Day today, right? Somebody puts a ball in the mid section or the ribs of one of your players, I would expect that at some point in the very near future, like immediately, someone is going to get one in the same spot. You’re going to go, 'OK, if you’re going to play that way, then we’re going to amp it up as well.' I was disappointed nothing happened, and especially when it didn’t happen right away, it wasn’t going to happen.”
Olczyk believed the Blackhawks’ 2010 Stanley Cup championship team had players who would have reacted differently if something similar had happened.
“The Blackhawks, that’s not their MO, that’s not their mentality,” Olczyk said. “Let’s make it perfectly clear. I’ve run into hundreds of people this morning, believe it or not, and obviously people are fired up in town. People talking about the two Cups the Blackhawks have won have been on the other side of this type of play. That’s not correct.
“Back in 2010, the Blackhawks had a team that really could answer any call, and they had guys who wanted to and chose to do that -- Ben Eager, Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Troy Brouwer. Guys that answered the call right away. There was no hesitation. I know the game has changed. I know they’ve won the Cup two different ways. To me, I was disappointed and surprised nothing had happened right away.”
Olczyk said he coached Orpik with the Penguins and knows what type of player he is, but he thought the play that unfolded wasn’t completely dictated by Orpik.
“He’s a big guy,” Olczyk said. “He’s a heavy guy. He battles. He’s a physical player. He takes runs at players. He doesn’t drop his gloves, which I certainly think is an issue I have, but that’s a whole other story.
“Unfortunately for Jonny and the Blackhawks, it was one of those plays that just came and kind of a perfect storm. Jonny was kind of looking down and changed his level and Orpik was on his way to make the hit. Again, it wasn’t like two ships passing in the night. It was one of those everybody knew where the puck was and Orpik had one thing on his mind. Could he have pulled up? Could he have laid up on him? Absolutely. But we saw what happened and hopefully Jonny is going to be okay for sure.”
The Blackhawks did not have an update on Toews’ injury as of Monday afternoon.