Brooks Orpik's hit on Jonathan Toews will keep the Blackhawks captain out for the final six games of the regular season.
The Blackhawks have been criticized by fans, former players and hockey analysts for not retaliating immediately against Orpik or another Penguins player after Orpik hit Toews into the boards in the second period Sunday. Toews suffered an upper-body injury and will be kept out of the team's remaining six regular-season games.
"I think it's a matter of opinion," said Blackhawks forward Brandon Bollig, who is considered one of the team's enforcers and has been in five fights this season. "I think Jonny's definitely going to be fine. He's day to day. It was a clean hit. Obviously, it's unfortunate for us. He's one of the best players in the world. It's tough to have him out of the lineup for one game, let alone a couple if that's what it may be.
"Like I said, it's not ideal [not to retaliate,] but that was a game we really need to have. Our focus was two points. If you kind of stray away from that, bad things tend to happen. Like I said, down the road is a different story. I don't think it was the right time to address it any other way than we did."
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville called it a "tricky" situation with Orpik.
"I didn't like the hit," Quenneville said after practice Wednesday. "At that time, what could you have done differently? You can look at all the different options. There's probably no great option right at that time in a 2-1 hockey game later in the second period. Getting even was something that, how it's addressed is something you talk about. The options weren't great. Tricky. It was a tricky one. Not an easy one to say exactly what should have happened."
Quenneville said similar scenarios are often difficult for coaches and players to deal with appropriately.
"It's just one of those things -- handling yourself," Quenneville said. "There's been some cases where nobody handles it properly or they handled it where it's probably ... now there's a price to pay, whether there's suspensions involved, or in a game where you're all of a sudden killing five minutes when you're looking to win the game.
"All of a sudden, you've got some other issues that can happen on getting even. So it's always something that's a fine line, and even talking about it with an individual where the whole team finding the right balance on exactly what is the right thing to do at that moment, and it's an instinct. And I think that's why I say it's tricky, what is exactly the right way of dealing with it."
Blackhawks forward Kris Versteeg said the hit on Toews was addressed with Orpik on the ice during the game.
"You always want to stick up for your teammates, especially a guy like [Toews]," Versteeg said. "Guys did go out and they did say stuff to Brooks. Obviously, nothing ended up escalating from it. It's not like guys didn't want to do something for him. It was a close game, too, and we are fighting for a playoff position, so there's a lot more that goes into than the retaliation."
Versteeg said he wasn't aware of much of the criticism, but he understands why it's there.
"You're going to find criticism on everything," Versteeg said. "I actually don't hear much because I don't read or listen too much. There's going to be criticism obviously over that play. If somebody did go in and take a bad penalty and they scored, there would have been criticism there, too.
"It is something where guys did go out there and did say something. They obviously offered some retaliation. But you've got to do it within the lines and within the rules, and also you got to find a way to win the game without putting yourself in too big of a hole."