Brooks Orpik resumes skating as Shawn Thornton's hearing looms

Brooks Orpik is back on the ice after getting knocked out last weekend. (USATSI)
Brooks Orpik is back on the ice after getting knocked out last weekend. (USATSI)

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Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik resumed skating Friday morning. He took the ice with other injured teammates. Less than a week ago, Orpik was being wheeled off the ice at TD Garden after being knocked unconscious by Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton.

After such a scary scene, it must be a good thing for the Pens to see Orpik back on the ice. With the defense already depleted with injuries to Rob Scuderi and Paul Martin , the blue line was looking awfully thin in Pittsburgh.

The Penguins confirmed Orpik suffered a concussion after Thornton’s attack. So just because Orpik is skating doesn’t mean he’ll be back right away, but it is a good sign. It sounds like the Penguins will be taking things slow with him, however.

Thornton meanwhile awaits a 1 p.m. ET hearing with the NHL's department of player safety today out of which he is expected to receive a lengthy, message-sending suspension.

Orpik’s return to the ice may have some bearing on the hearing, however, as severity of injury and presumed length of time missed by the injured player always seems to be a factor. That could lead to a delay in a final decision on Thornton's suspension.

There is still plenty to be sorted out. As is so often the case, a concussion recovery timeline is ever changing. Either way, Orpik has taken a positive step after what was a rather troubling incident.

CBS Sports Writer

Chris Peters has been a hockey writer for CBS Sports since 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for numerous outlets and edited the United States of Hockey blog, covering the sport at all levels. Peters also... Full Bio

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