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Jonathan Toews wouldn’t have gotten healthier had his teammates stood up to Brooks Orpik last Sunday. Toews is out until the playoffs because of a bum left arm that Orpik just about caved in with a clean but line-straddling wallop.
Nor would Orpik be less inclined to throw such hits had the Blackhawks come knocking. If that logic were true, Orpik’s bone-wrecking approach — he just about took off Loui Eriksson’s head on Dec. 7 — would have withered on the vine right after Shawn Thornton’s attack.
Players are who they are. No challenge to fight will change their nature.
But the Blackhawks whiffed on their chance to send a message. Not to Orpik. Not to the Penguins. But to Toews and themselves.