Brooks Orpik spent his Wednesday afternoon celebrating the New Year with a nice dinner and a viewing of the Rose Bowl game. This happened a few hours after a badly kept secret became official. Orpik is again an Olympian, joining Penguins teammate Paul Martin as a member of Team USA for the upcoming Sochi Games.
This is not the spot for roster analysis. Instead, let the offer be this Q&A with Orpik regarding the Olympics:
Q: Will having gone through this all for the 2010 Olympics make life easier on you a second time around?
The time change in Russia is a lot different. I’m sure the food will be different. There will be some things to adjust to. But, yeah, experience is always helpful when you’re doing something like this. It’s always better if something isn’t brand new to you.
Q: You and Martin have played as a defense pairing for the Penguins the last two years. Do you think that factored into Team USA’s decision?
Well, I’d only be speculating. If you look at the roster – though we’re the only ones like this on defense – there are a lot of other guys that have played with one another and are or were teammates. That’s a huge advantage, I think.
We had one practice before our first game in Vancouver (2010 Games). There wasn’t a lot of familiarity. My familiarity with Paul and other guys’ familiarity with one another will be critical because this isn’t an 82-game season; you really can’t afford to lose one game in this tournament. You have to come together quick and there isn’t a lot of time.
So, yeah, I do think familiarity probably played a factor for Paul and me, but I’m only guessing on that.
Q: An Olympic gold medal is about the only thing you have not won. How important is that to you?
You know what it is? It is how we lost last time (3-2, in overtime of the gold-medal game to Canada). The silver medal seemed like a disappointment because we feel like we gave it to them, like we lost it more than anything else. So that is something you think about a lot.
>> Orpik, Martin and their Olympic opportunity: http://triblive.com/sports/nhl/5340438-74/martin-penguins-orpik#axzz2pAdwb7CA
>> A woman with local ties is going back to the Olympics: http://triblive.com/sports/olympics/moreolympics/5345095-74/games-mclaughlin-winter#axzz2pAdwb7CA
>> The Team USA men: http://olympics.usahockey.com/page/show/1067902-roster
>> A couple of thorough inside look at the selection process.
Kevin Allen of USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nhl/2014/01/01/how-olympic-hockey-team-was-picked/4279829/
Be EXCELLENT to each other,