Penguins notebook: Orpik, Martin not thinking of Sochi
November 24, 2013 11:21 PM
Defenseman Brooks Orpik admitted he has an eye on the U.S. Olympic team, but he's focused on the Penguins' road ahead.
By Dave Molinari / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
BOSTON -- Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin, who form the Penguins' No. 1 defense pairing, will learn in about a month if they will be playing for Team USA in February at the Olympics.
For now, however, neither seems to have focused on that, perhaps because they have more pressing concerns.
The Penguins' game against Boston tonight.
And while Orpik acknowledged he has thought occasionally about how the selection process will play out, Martin said he rarely does.
"It's obviously in the back of your mind, but the focus is here and being here and playing well and trying to contribute here and do good things," Martin said. "Then, hopefully, that will take care of itself.
"You can only control so much, and that's coming here and giving it your best. Hopefully, when it comes time [to name the team], that's enough."
Both were named to Team USA for the 2010 Games in Vancouver, although Martin had to sit out the tournament because of a broken arm, and neither would be out of place in Sochi.
Orpik, though, pointed out that Team USA general manager David Poile and his staff have an ever-expanding collection of players from which to fill out the roster.
"Every year, it seems like the talent pool from which they can draw gets better and better and bigger and bigger," he said. "Which is only a good thing."
With so many qualified candidates, it's reasonable to think Orpik and Martin might get a bit antsy as the time to announce the team nears.
"I think there will be a little bit [of nerves]," Martin said. "I've been through the process a couple of times already. You have to have their confidence, knowing that if you do the right things, you deserve to be there, that you have what it takes."
Orpik contends he can accept however things play out.
"I don't think I'll be nervous at all," he said. "Either you're going there or you're going on vacation for two weeks, so it's kind of a win-win.
"I'm sure anyone who has a chance and doesn't make it will be disappointed, but it's not the end of the world."
The Penguins placed winger Beau Bennett on injured-reserve and called up forwards Zach Sill and Andrew Ebbett from their minor league team in Wilkes-Barre.
The moves come in the wake of unspecified injuries to Bennett and Tanner Glass in the past two games.
The team has not divulged details of either injury or a prognosis for either player.
Sill has two goals and three assists in 14 games with the Baby Penguins this season, and made his NHL debut Nov. 16 in a 4-1 loss in New Jersey.
Ebbett has six goals and nine assists in 18 games in Wilkes-Barre. He has 25 goals and 39 assists in 191 career NHL games.
The game tonight will be the Penguins' first at TD Garden since the Bruins swept them in the Eastern Conference final in June.
The Penguins were widely favored to win that series, and even the most devoted Bruins partisan probably didn't envision Boston advancing in just four games.
But as much as that defeat stung, the Penguins insist they have put it behind them.
"I think we've turned the page," center Sidney Crosby said. "We didn't play great the first few games, but the second two I think we feel like it was something where we could have deserved a little bit better.
"We didn't get a lot of breaks and ran into a hot goalie [Tuukka Rask] in the last two, but by that time we hadn't really given ourselves a chance to win. It was difficult over the summer, the first couple of weeks, but you've got to turn the page and learn from it."
Iginla quiet for Boston so far
Future Hall of Famer Jarome Iginla famously spurned the Bruins in favor of a trade to the Penguins last season as the trade deadline approached, then signed with Boston as a free agent this offseason.
His impact on the Bruins, at least statistically, hasn't been as great as many anticipated.
Iginla recorded only one point, an assist, in his first six games with Boston, then ran off three goals and five assists in the next five.
That segued into his current stretch of one goal and three assists in 12 games.
While the Bruins undoubtedly have benefited from Iginla's experience, leadership and other intangibles, they likely expect a bit more production from him.
And if history means anything, they should: Iginla has scored 30 or more goals in each of his past 11 full seasons.
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