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Orpik said ‘we let the pressure get to us’ in Pittsburgh

Jul 3, 2014, 9:22 AM EDT

Brooks Orpik Getty Images

Brooks Orpik has never been a guy to bite his tongue and when it came to looking back on his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins he didn’t hold back.

Orpik spoke with Pittsburgh radio host Joe Starkey about growing up in the Penguins organization and playing for some really bad and really good teams. While winning the Stanley Cup in 2009 was the highlight, coming up short so many times stings and he said it wore on the team.

“I think it was more that we let the pressure get to us,” Orpik said. “There were just so many expectations, both internally and externally. I think we stopped having fun, to be honest with you. We let the external pressure seep into the room. That’s the one thing I could put my finger on. I’m sure Sid and Geno and the other guys will learn from it.”

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have been learning a lot of late. It’s been five years since the Penguins beat the Detroit Red Wings in seven games to win the Cup and their playoff exits since then have each had some variety of drama attached to them.

Whether it involved Crosby or Malkin being hurt (or both at the same time), blowing big leads in a series, or seeing Marc-Andre Fleury struggle – the pressure is there for these stars to win more while in their prime.

Now it’s up to Orpik to help get in their way after signing a monster deal with the Washington Capitals.

  1. hockey412 - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:27 AM

    Will miss ya Brooks. Hopefully some new blood will make it fun again. However, seeing that they just signed a guy that was originally traded for hitting a team captain at a practice, that seems like it’s asking a lot.

    • elmerbrownelmerbrown - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:31 AM

      Its good that these players and coaches are getting out before the third bankruptcy !

      • hockey412 - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:32 AM

        Dammit Elmer.

      • 6superbowls - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:47 AM

        Keep dreaming pinhead

    • avscup - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:44 AM

      Downey was let go for many reasons. Rumor has it he was bangin Varly’s girl. Me thinks it was all the boneheaded and selfish penalties. The Avs didn’t miss him.

      • 950003cups - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:47 AM


        It was both. He had no respect for his teammates at all. Can’t imagine what the pens see in him that they had to have him.

      • avscup - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:55 AM

        Obviously he was not a fit for Roy’s team. Landy never said a word about the hit in camp. He can handle himself fine.

        Downie has issues for sure. Always has. He will fit right in with Pit!

      • kaptaanamerica - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:49 AM

        is that why Varly was initially charged with assault?

      • avscup - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:52 AM

        Alleged assault. There was no evidence of that so the case was dropped.

      • kaptaanamerica - Jul 3, 2014 at 10:08 AM

        right. but he was charged at one point while the investigation continued if i’m not mistaken.

        i’m assuming the alleged victim changed her story… possibly with persuasion from some friendly ruskies…? hmmm?

      • avscup - Jul 3, 2014 at 10:10 AM

        She was after money.

      • avscup - Jul 3, 2014 at 10:12 AM

        BTW, it took the DA several weeks to even file the charges. All were dropped. Seems like it was made up.

      • hockey412 - Jul 3, 2014 at 10:13 AM

        That doesn’t make me feel any better at all…

      • avscup - Jul 3, 2014 at 10:15 AM

        Sorry! Hehe

    • m1k3g - Jul 3, 2014 at 12:55 PM

      Glad to see I’m not the only Pens fan who was dismayed when the Pens signed this clown. I have very little optimism about the Rutherford era at this point.

  2. patthehockeyfan - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:30 AM

    The same probably could be said for the San Jose Sharks. Plenty of talent; folded under pressure.

    • avscup - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:44 AM

      Er the Bruins!

    • valoisvipers - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:45 AM

      I have to disagree with you on this one Pat, San Jose lost to your very talented never say die, Zombie like, Cardic Kings in what everyone knew would be a long tough series. The only surprise was the order in which the games were won. I won’t add that series to the list of San Jose’s chokes. By the way the better team won.

    • 950003cups - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:49 AM

      SJ didn’t nearly have the fan demands of success of Pittsburgh. SJ fans were hopeful and we’re let down. Pens fans expected it. They have the highest offensive talent (on paper) in the nhl.

    • lordfletcher - Jul 3, 2014 at 2:56 PM

      pressure in San Jose?

      There is more pressure on the Leafs to win a pre-season game over the Sharks in the playoffs

  3. JoeAvg - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:31 AM

    Not going to enjoy seeing those eyes staring out from under a Caps helmet.

  4. raleighcaniac - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:33 AM

    O’prik is one of the biggest dirt balls in the league. Broke Eric Cole’s neck with a dirty check from behind back in ’06. I’m no Shawn Thoronton fan but it was alot of fun watching O’prik get dropped from behind and hitting the ice like a bag of old potatos.

    • 6superbowls - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:50 AM

      D-bag post

    • 950003cups - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:54 AM

      That’s a bit much. NJ fans hate that Brad Richards shot a puck in to Stevens head which was the result of his demise and eventual retirement. Would we take pleasure in watching him get beat up? No. It was a one time incident. The only one is enjoy getting a massive head crushing beating on live TV would be Matt Cooke. He goes out with specific intentions to injure.

      • patthehockeyfan - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:59 AM

        I enjoy reading your comments, cups. Some I agree with; others, not so much.

        Your comment here made me laugh, and that’s the only reason I’m writing. Actually, it’s the words you use. ” … was the result of his demise and eventual retirement.”

        What you’re saying is that he died, then retired.

        This isn’t a correction. I don’t do that. As I wrote, it just made me chuckle.

      • avscup - Jul 3, 2014 at 10:01 AM

        Bordeleau will have fun playing MN this year. I can see him silk-screening the little caksucker into the boards. Perhaps Stuart can get him with his head down. Love to see him concussed!

      • 950003cups - Jul 3, 2014 at 10:09 AM

        Isn’t it amazing how Stevens did that? Believe me, I was just as shocked as you were.

      • petersteelewannabe - Jul 3, 2014 at 11:05 AM

        For older fans like myself, I’d add Darius Kasparitus to the list of people I would not shed a single tear for if he had been injured on the ice in retaliation for repeated cowardly douchebaggery.

      • mcphillthy - Jul 3, 2014 at 12:00 PM

        I hate darius kasparitus. One of the biggest dirt bags from my younger hockey days

      • pitpenguinsrulez - Jul 3, 2014 at 1:02 PM

        Kasparaitis was one of my favorites growing up. You just hate him cause he ended Lindros career.

      • 950003cups - Jul 3, 2014 at 2:24 PM

        that was Scott Stevens who ended Lindros’ career

    • jennjenn0186 - Jul 7, 2014 at 3:36 PM

      Number one, learn how to spell Orpik, especially if you’re going to try to talk s**t about him. Number two, typical bitter Hurricanes fan post. I could see if the Erik Cole (also, if you’re such a fan, learn how to spell HIS name correctly) injury hurt the team or even his career, but, even though Cole didn’t play, the Canes won the Cup 3 months after his injury (so he’s still a Stanley Cup winner) and last I checked, Cole was still playing for the Dallas Stars. It was freak accident that happened 8 years ago, get over it already.

  5. withseidelinn - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:40 AM

    Really wanted my team to get this guy until I saw the 5.5m price tag WSH gave him. Solid player, but just not what he used to be. Absolutely insane to pay him like that when he’s on the brink of his decline. Many would say he’s already entered it full force.

  6. 950003cups - Jul 3, 2014 at 10:11 AM

    The biggest surprise of the last 24 hours was not about the story about Buttocks Giroux, but that Blomfeld was nowhere to be seen.

    • patthehockeyfan - Jul 3, 2014 at 10:23 AM


  7. rsl22 - Jul 3, 2014 at 10:35 AM

    I don’t think the Caps have that number one, shut-down defender, but they have basically six guys that would be a top 2-4 guy on most teams. I think the depth is going to make a big difference in terms of health and options, and if you take out the salary and just look at the potential on-ice product, you have:

    Two US Olympians in Carlson and Orpik;
    A top five draft pick, former CHL top defenseman and solid, positional defender in Alzner;
    A two-time Norris Trophy candidate in Green;
    2011 World Junior tourney first-team all star defender in Orlov; and
    To round it out, Niskanen.

    There is ALWAYS going to be hate for Ovechkin, but this will be the first time in his career that he’s gone into a season with six real, NHL defenders behind him. And although Orpik is a bit old, Orlov is 22, Carlson is 24, Alzner is 25, Niskanen is 27, and Green is 28. That’s a lot of guys just hitting their prime.

  8. petersteelewannabe - Jul 3, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    I always respected Orpik’s play but that is too much money and too many years…and I am a Flyers fan so I know a bad contract when I see one.

    • rsl22 - Jul 3, 2014 at 11:57 AM

      As a Caps fan, it’s definitely too much money and too many years. But the option would have been to play Erskine for 17 minutes a night. As far as making the team better now, I’d say the team is better now.

      And yes, the money could have been spent on a 2C, but Grabo signed with the Isles for 5 years at $5MM, which isn’t much more reasonable. If the options were an expensive 2C or an expensive 2D, I’d have gone with the expensive 2D.

    • zico25 - Jul 3, 2014 at 12:37 PM

      As a Pens fan, I can say Brooks was a solid D-man for years, but his best days are already behind him. It was certainly an overpay. Is he worth rostering? For sure, but not for more than what he previously made with the Pens (3-3.5mil/yr) I wish him the best of luck for sure.

  9. kastout11 - Jul 3, 2014 at 12:43 PM

    I can see why the pressure got to them. They were the media’s darling team. The problems are: They only have 2 lines that can score, average goaltending and an average aging defense. They have been overrated for the last 2 or 3 years. Yes, Crosby and Malkin are great players, but with a weak supporting cast, and average-below average goaltending, that is not enough to win a cup.

    • apkyletexas - Jul 3, 2014 at 12:49 PM

      From a Pens’ fan perspective, the pressure didn’t get to them. The fact that the Rangers were a much deeper overall team is what got to them. And don’t even talk about what the Bruins would have done to them.

      • jpelle82 - Jul 3, 2014 at 3:12 PM

        *this year* what explains the rest of the failure? philly wasn’t any better, they were the underdog, had no pressure to win that series, same thing with tampa the year before. the boston and new york series’ were supreme mismatches in heart and balls. pens lacked both in both of those series and if they want to say the pressure got to them then maybe this shakeup will relieve some of that supposed pressure. now they see executives and coaches will get fired and players will get traded.

    • theageofquarrel - Jul 3, 2014 at 12:55 PM

      Just like the Flyers

  10. 101starmymedic - Jul 3, 2014 at 1:56 PM

    Sweeeeeet! Now Orpik and Niskanen can both watch Ovechkin do the Ovie slide in the defensive zone.

    • 101starmymedic - Jul 3, 2014 at 1:57 PM

  11. watermelon1 - Jul 3, 2014 at 2:56 PM

    Someone just referred to Green and Carlson as “top 2-4 defenders on any team?!?”

    Goodness, put down the keyboard and go watch any capitals game since those guys have been in the league.

    They are horrible and sadly still both on the team. BUT… They definitely upgraded with the two recent additions.

    If they can find a taker for the severly overrated Green or Carlson… No matter what they get in return… I consider this offseason a huge win for DC.

  12. timmons94 - Jul 3, 2014 at 5:43 PM

    Maybe going to a bar and grabbing male buttocks will ease the pressure

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