Apr 2, 2012, 2:32 PM EST
Welcome to the spotlight, Joe Vitale.
A day after igniting a melee with his hit on Daniel Briere, the Pittsburgh forward became Public Enemy No. 1 in Philadelphia after it was learned Briere and another victim of a Vitale hit — Nicklas Grossmann — were knocked out of the Flyers lineup with injuries.
The 26-year-old checking forward discussed the Briere incident with Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“I saw a white jersey coming up the ice,” Vitale explained. “I took the body on him. I didn’t know if it was Briere or whoever.
“I was playing my last shift like I play every shift…I didn’t know [it was Briere], and I really didn’t care.”
The fury surrounding the hit spilled over to the benches as Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette got into a screaming match with Pittsburgh assistant Tony Granato and head coach Dan Bylsma.
Laviolette continued fuming in his postgame presser.
Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby had a different take on the incident.
“I’m sure [Laviolette] doesn’t like to see one of their top players getting hit,” he said. “Maybe he shouldn’t have put him out there.”
It’ll be interesting to see what transpires on Saturday as the Penguins and Flyers will meet again at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. Vitale might want to think about wearing some type of body armor.
- Trade: Rangers land Yandle, Coyotes receive Duclair, first-rounder 14
- Trade: Capitals land Glencross, Flames get two picks 19
- Flames place Giordano on IR 5
- Flyers keep faint playoff hopes alive with win over Rangers 28
- Trade: Blackhawks acquire Vermette from Arizona for Dahlbeck, first rounder 66
- Jagr earns high praise in his Panthers debut 1
- Bruins maintain four-point edge in playoff race, hand Coyotes ninth straight loss 5
- NHL on NBC: Rangers look for a fourth straight win against the Flyers 7
- Ducks score four third-period goals, come back to beat rival Kings 9
- Blackhawks aren’t done talking trades, will look to add another forward 13
- Wild beat Avs, dying seconds fight set stage for rematch (132)
- Petrovic: Chicago will ‘probably seek revenge’ for Kane injury tonight (82)
- Report: Alex Petrovic avoids discipline after injuring Patrick Kane (69)
- Trading baggage: Blue Jackets grab Clarkson, send Horton’s contract to Leafs (66)
- Trade: Blackhawks acquire Vermette from Arizona for Dahlbeck, first rounder (66)