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Monday, March 6, 2006
Pens' Orpik suspended 3 games for hit on Cole


TORONTO -- Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik got off easy compared to Erik Cole.

Brooks Orpik

Orpik, who delivered a hit from behind that knocked out Cole for the rest of the regular season, was suspended for three games without pay by the NHL on Monday.

In Saturday's game against Carolina, Orpik was assessed a boarding major and game misconduct for hitting Cole from behind. On Sunday, Cole was diagnosed with a compression fracture in a vertebra in his neck.

"While it is apparent that there was no deliberate intent to injure on this play, Mr. Orpik's careless hit on his opponent resulted in a serious injury," NHL executive vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell said.

"Even if a player leaves himself vulnerable, the checking player does bear some responsibility in avoiding a hit on a defenseless player."

Orpik, who also will forfeit $9,948.99 in salary, has two goals and six points in 46 games this season. He will miss games against Tampa Bay, Washington and New Jersey.