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Orpik unlikely to play for Penguins in Game 6

Apr 28, 2014, 1:21 PM EST

Brooks Orpik

Sounds as though veteran Pittsburgh d-man Brooks Orpik will be held out for a second straight game tonight as the Pens get their first crack at eliminating the Blue Jackets.

From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

[Orpik] did not participate in a morning practice at Nationwide Arena. Instead, he spent time riding a stationary bike outside the visitors’ dressing room.

Orpik was not wearing any braces on either his knees or ankles, and did not have any part of his mid- to lower-body areas wrapped in ice or heat.

Orpik did not play in the Penguins’ home Game 5 victory on Saturday night. Team policy is not to provide specifics regarding injury during the playoffs, but Orpik walked gingerly after the contest.

The rugged blueliner had been a constant presence through the first four games of the series, playing at least 21 minutes a night while logging 28:02 in a Game 2 OT loss.

With Orpik out, Robert Bortuzzo is likely to draw in again for the second straight game. Bortuzzo played just over 13 minutes in Saturday’s 3-1 win, registering three shots on goal, two blocked shots and two hits.

  1. hockey412 - Apr 28, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    I loved what Bortuzzo brought last game, he has a hunger that a lot of the veterans seemed to have settled out of. I’m shocked that Dan went with him above Engelland though – I like Bortuzzo better, just didn’t think Dan did.

    • steelpenbucs87 - Apr 28, 2014 at 1:54 PM

      Agreed – I think it may have to do with the intent of keeping whoever is on the ice with Scuderi in a true bottom 2 (so to speak). With that regard, Borts makes a little bit more sense because he skates better than Engo (although neither are going to be confused with Matt Duchene out there haha).

  2. steelpenbucs87 - Apr 28, 2014 at 1:53 PM

    This could be a blessing in disguise for the Pens. Orpik has been a solid player for a long time, but the fact of the matter is that he hasn’t been the same. Game 3 not withstanding, his possession stats have been abysmal and he’s been turned around a few times this series already.

    You never want a guy to be hurt, but at this point, there isn’t much of a drop off between a guy like Bortuzzo annd Orpik (ditto Scuderi).

    • awad2251 - Apr 28, 2014 at 2:52 PM

      I’m with you. Bylsma needed to do something to shake up the D and get them to play better. Sorry it had to come at Orpik’s expense, but something had to be done. Could be a blessing in disguise.

    • toiletclown - Apr 28, 2014 at 3:09 PM

      When Orpik is healthy, Scuderi should sit and Bortuzzo should take his place.

    • c9castine - Apr 28, 2014 at 3:37 PM

      do me a favor and post his possession numbers could you?

      • steelpenbucs87 - Apr 28, 2014 at 4:32 PM

        From Extraskater

        5 on 5
        His Corsi For % for the series is 53.6% (up from 46.2% in the regular season)
        His Fenwick For % for the series is 56.8% (up from 46.9% in the regular season)
        His relative numbers were also both in the negatives during the year.

        Those numbers are solid on the surface, but that’s a massive jump from the regular season, and I don’t think you can just chalk it up to “turning it on”, given the sample size. I would argue the reason for the jump is pretty simple – his Quality of Competition is down at 28.8 (only Maatta and Niskanen are worse on the D-Line), but he’s leading the D-Line in Quality of Teammate (at 30.1%). Long story short, his numbers are improving because he’s getting pulled up by playing average competition with the a great group around him.

        If you don’t agree with my interpretation of the numbers, that’s fine – I know you’re a big fan of Orpik and you and I have disagreed on that before. There’s also this:

      • c9castine - Apr 28, 2014 at 4:51 PM

        i do disagree i was still curious what they were.

        every defenseman in the league will get burned like that. especially ones that play like him…its why hes always paired with a non-hitting defender like martin.

        his numbers were down from last year in posession..and closer to his past numbers in the playoffs. i acknowledge…but i think its not enough and much to soon to say hes losing a step, so to speak.

        thanks for doing that though.

      • c9castine - Apr 28, 2014 at 4:56 PM

        actually, looking at that gif again martin is the one who screwed up there.

        calvert was in orpiks coverage zone and its common for him to step up there when its a 1 on 2 with 2 supporting forwards. in fact, you have to step up there. the right play for martin is to slide behind orpik and either provide a second layer of defense, or be available to pick up the puck.

        and thats whats wrong with judging people on plays like that. you have to know what your looking at…..

  3. c9castine - Apr 28, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    guys are crazy if you think this is a good thing. not a bad thing

    but you always want brooks orpik in the lineup if hes healthy.

    crazy.

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