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Team USA gets built-in chemistry with Penguins’ Orpik, Martin

Jan 2, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

Pittsburgh Penguins' Brooks Orpik (44) plays in the NHL preseason hockey game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings on Monday, Sept. 16, 2013 , in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic) AP

One of the biggest road blocks when it comes to the Winter Olympics is finding ways to develop team chemistry. The top countries are putting together a group of guys used to carrying teams and asking them to work together, some in unfamiliar roles, without giving them much time to prepare.

So whenever you have guys that are coming into the Games that are already used to playing with each other, it’s a big plus.

That’s the case for Pittsburgh Penguins defensemen Paul Martin and Brooks Orpik. Before Martin sustained a fractured tibia, they were serving as defensive partners and given that their coach, Dan Bylsma, will also be the United States’ bench boss, there’s a good chance they’ll stick together in Russia.

“That will be huge. It definitely can’t hurt,” Orpik told the Penguins’ website.

“Any familiarity guys have with each other from NHL teams or international teams playing together will only help you, especially in short tournaments like that. You can’t afford to lose a couple games and say you’re still adjusting. It’s not an 82-game schedule. If you lose a couple games you can really dig yourself a hole.”

Orpik felt good about his chances of making the 2010 squad, but he wasn’t sure he would be asked to return this time around. He’s already gotten an Olympic silver medal, but at the age of 33, he knows that this might be his last shot to go for the gold.

  1. lowenni - Jan 2, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    I think it would be a serious mistake to play Orpik. He’s a great defenceman and does a great job on North-American sized rinks, but he was never a fast skater to begin with and recently his skating has deteriorated. They don’t need his shutdown ability and can use Carlson, Suter, or McDonagh for that, in addition to getting some offense from them as well. Suter and McDonagh are two of the best two-way and positionally sound defenseman in the league and Carlson leads the NHL in PK minutes per game. The d-pairs should read:

    Suter-Carlson (shutdown pair)
    McDonagh-Shattenkirk (McDonagh’s defensive ability will allow Shattenkirk to freewheel offensively, plus McD can chip in some points too)
    Martin-Faulk (solid two-way depth pair)

    I believe that left-right handed combinations will be important and Poile has said they will be, so that effected my choices.

  2. broadstreetbeatdown - Jan 2, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    I see Canadian, Russian, and Czech forwards skating figure eights around these two Pittsburgh Pylons on the big olympic ice. Who would of thought an elite defenseman like Keith Yandle would be snubbed for these two humps.

    • toiletclown - Jan 2, 2014 at 2:02 PM

      too bad your team sucks and no olympic team wants any of those hack slunkers.

      • broadstreetbeatdown - Jan 2, 2014 at 2:31 PM

        Except for Giroux, Grossman, Streit, Raffl, Voracek, Timonen. You should change your handle to a$$clown.

    • hazlydose - Jan 2, 2014 at 2:09 PM

      Paul Martin is going to be on the top D-Pair and was considered a lock from the get go by every member of the team USA staff. Pylon? No.

      • toiletclown - Jan 3, 2014 at 6:34 AM

        yea all of those flyers you mentioned really deserve to be on an olympic team. Especially that tampon giroux. What a mistake

  3. garyreasons55 - Jan 2, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    Yeah. Okposo and Ryan aren’t built for international rinks but Brooks Statue of Orpick is? Hey Brooks, you can’t cheapshot someone if you can’t keep up with them.

    • garyreasons55 - Jan 2, 2014 at 1:27 PM

      Yes, and Yandle too.

    • toiletclown - Jan 2, 2014 at 2:01 PM

      brooks orpik doesnt cheap shot, hes the best hitter in the game son. turn your tv on once in a while

    • hazlydose - Jan 2, 2014 at 2:13 PM

      The question for Ryan wasn’t whether he could play on the big ice but whether he could provide something to the team if he wasn’t playing in the top 6 or on the powerplay.

      Kyle Okposo was never given any serious consideration.

      There is a very well written article by a reporter who was inside the personnel meetings. You can find the decisions made and the reasons why they were made in it. Or you could just make wild accusations as to why certain players weren’t chosen and others were.

    • runhigh24 - Jan 2, 2014 at 2:34 PM

      Orpik kept up with Loui Erickson just fine. Seriously tho, hope he gets better soon, maybe then Bruins fans will drop their vendetta against Orpik.

      • greenmtnboy31 - Jan 2, 2014 at 3:17 PM

        Probably not, it’s ok for them when Boychuk makes the same hit, but they’ve been crying ever since Orpik laid our Loui.

  4. hazlydose - Jan 2, 2014 at 1:59 PM

    Too bad the plan is to put Paul Martin on the right side in a pairing with Suter. Orpik probably won’t be dressed for the majority of the games barring injury.

  5. muckleflugga - Jan 2, 2014 at 3:04 PM

    and now for today’s headlines…

    a woman has been arrested near krugersdorp after killing her boyfriend with an umbrella…a tokyo housewife battered her septuagenarian husband to death with a coffee cup after discovering he was cheating…a prominent twenty three year old pittsburgh socialite….sorry…who…tammy…of course?

    over to you tammy…tammy whynot everyone

    thanks rex…what about that tie tehe hehe he…your aunt…? stop it rex and no, i don’t have iron bedposts…you’re sooo bad…where were we…oh yes

    russian olympic health officials are seeking permission to speak with one brooks orpik…? it would seem orpik’s spectacular recovery from a recent near death experience in boston, coming in time to play hockey at its highest competitive level at the winter olympics in sochi, has the medical research community abuzz…

    valeri kadaverov, head of russia’s renowned синдром lazurus: факт или вымысел clinic in saint petersburg, is intrigued but frustrated while grumbling: a usually forthright harvard medical school is not sharing information…we would like to study those instruments and devices used to resurrect mr orpik from a seemingly lifeless worm-like state at the gaaahden [ such philistines ] to a fully animated stiff able to fly home with his team hours later…in the present…an olympic competitor displacing more deserving komrades…oy vey the head spins…

    kadaverov’s briefs errr brief closed by indicating russia would happily arrange for orpik’s travel and accommodation on a tramp steamer due to embark quantanamo on the next tide…it would appear valeri’s motherland has a few corpses of their own they’d like to resurrect…for questioning…for trial…for proper public disposal…

    kadaverov goes on to say details of orpik’s recovery could electrify research in an area of medical practice left moribund since the passing of east german sports legend, mary shelley

    back to you rex

    thanks tammy…kadaverov’s briefs ha ha ha, well done…brooks orpik…didn’t she star in blue lagoon…oh right never mind

    in pittsburgh, a prominent twenty three year old socialite stabbed her ninety two year old husband eighty four times with his own sledge hockey rail while claiming self defense…a woman arrested in…wait…more from tammy

    thanks again rex…i do have a flip flop with velcro straps and a mirror on the…whoops we’re live…my bad…tehehe hehe he

    it would appear the aforementioned orpik has said nyet nyet nyet to russia’s kind offer of a fun in the sun water boarding vacation on the black sea…a late-breaking story out of greenwich indicates a candy company is seeking his services in its olympic promotion of a premier candy confection…

    turtles, the popular holiday treat, indicates orpik’s agents have said ya ya ya to a lucrative four figure deal…why…to be the face of its chocolate dipping enterprise through closing ceremonies in sochi…

    nono marbles, speaking on behalf of turtles, indicates his company is producing a healthier product while removing all nuts in the manufacturing process…following that reasoning, we felt brooks was favourably positioned and we’ve pursued him with thorntonesque vigour since early december…he was elusive but several girl guides were finally able to wrestle him into submission…

    marbles elaborated in stating packaging considerations were left to be finalized…we’re not sure if we should stay with the pink striping, apropos, or step-out with a bolder yellow stripe…?

    more out of less less it would seem with chuckles…back to you rex

    thanks jane…what about a ceiling hook…ha ha hehe…yes…?

    a woman arrested in boston for attempting to boil her crabby husband claims it’s the first time he ever made par…a grandmother in toronto wielding an iron…

    • greenmtnboy31 - Jan 2, 2014 at 3:19 PM

      Imagine that, still whining all these days later.

      Keep you head up Loui, or Orpik, Kronwall, Subban or another real defenseman will take it off.

    • handsofsweed - Jan 2, 2014 at 6:28 PM


      It’s a hell of a drug, children.

    • tk1966 - Jan 2, 2014 at 6:29 PM


  6. multiplemiggs - Jan 2, 2014 at 3:14 PM

    hahahahaahahahahaha Team USA = joke

  7. 7mantel - Jan 2, 2014 at 6:56 PM

    Green of the Devils would have been the intelligent choice instead of home team choice by Shero

    • hazlydose - Jan 2, 2014 at 7:37 PM

      Greene was so far off of US hockey’s radar in the beginning of the season that he likely wasn’t even on the long list. A player can’t play in the Olympics if they are not on the long list because they must undergo the extensive drug testing policies.

  8. benrob99 - Jan 3, 2014 at 1:49 AM

    I’m a Pens fan… and if all of our D is healthy, I’m not sure Orpik is in OUR top 6. Let alone Team USA.

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