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Rossi: Orpik talking like his old self.

OTTAWA, Ontario – Brooks Orpik sounded like himself Monday morning.

That is to suggest that he spoke thoughtfully and openly on several topics, and he cracked jokes in a way that has become familiar to anybody that has spent a bit of time around him during the Penguins’ tenure.

An example:

“We’re getting guys healthy, but ‘Scuds’ (Rob Scuderi) and ‘Paulie’ (Paul Martin) and I were saying the other day that these AHL guys are playing so well, it might be tough for us to crack the lineup.”

Scuderi jokingly offered Orpik a choice between a can of Coca-Cola or bottled water after their post-practice on-ice workout Monday morning at Canadian Tire Centre.

Orpik noticed the bottled war – of course he chose that – was slightly less than full.

Yeah, the guy coming off the concussion noticed that.

Scuderi appeared surprised when Orpik pointed this out.

Orpik is free of headaches and neck soreness that served as concussion symptoms in the days after Boston’s Shawn Thornton attacked him at TD Garden on Dec. 7.

He has passed a cognitive baseline test required by the NHL for return-to-play status.

His workouts – on and off the ice – have increased in intensity over the last several days, to that point that he has “felt really good.”

He believes he can play Friday, when the Penguins return from a three-day Christmas break against the Hurricanes at Carolina.

That would be something to see, at least for those of us who witnessed him carted from the ice on a stretcher that ugly night in Boston.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will hear Thornton’s appeal of a 15-game suspension, and then perhaps a neutral discipline arbitrator.

All of that is what it is.

Orpik being himself again – that is something worth focusing on, especially this time of year.

 

>> The latest on the Penguins’ injury front: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/5302878-74/monday-penguins-games#axzz2oGPEVDkP

 

>> Josh Yohe’s report on “Mighty” Matt Niskanen: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/5299264-74/niskanen-penguins-defenseman#axzz2oGPEVDkP

 

>> To whomever lifted that Johnston & Murphy bag from the X-ray machine at Toronto’s airport on Sunday – well, at least one of those gifts was for a lady that is trained to cut with surgical precision. Just saying, yo!

 

Be EXCELLENT to each other,

Rossi

 

 

Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi has covered the Penguins for parts of every season that Sidney Crosby has played in Pittsburgh. So, since 2005. He has led the Trib's NHL coverage since 2007, when he became the primary Penguins beat reporter. He joined the Tribune-Review in November 2002. Rossi, 35, is local chapter president of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. He also dabbles in radio, as ClearChannel's "Penguins Insider," and TV, as "NHL Insider" for Root Sports Pittsburgh, and as a semi-regular contributor to The Final Word, a Sunday sports show that airs on WPXI. In 2012, Rossi was recognized nationally by Penn State's John Curley Center for Sports Journalism for his coverage of youth sports for a Trib series that investigated concussion protocol. In 2013, he teamed with Carl Prine for an investigative piece about athletes' charities what was honored regionally. A graduate of West Virginia University and Keystone Oaks High School, Rossi was raised in Crafton and Green Tree and currently resides in Brookline. He is currently working on the authorized biography of Evgeni Malkin. Follow him on Twitter: @RobRossi_Trib

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