Penguins Notebook -- Orpik unfazed by hit that led to concussion
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Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik is not carrying a grudge over the blow that gave him a mild concussion Saturday.
Fact is, he doesn't second-guess the referees' decision to not penalize Toronto forward Simon Gamache, who apparently was trying to dodge a check when he smacked Orpik in the jaw with his stick.
"I think he was just trying to protect himself, more than anything," Orpik said yesterday. "I watched a replay. It happened so quick. He looks up and just barely sees me [coming].
"If he had more time to react and he made a choice to do it, it would have been different. But it was more of a reaction. He's a smaller guy and, if you watch the tape, he got rammed pretty hard about three times before that. I think he was sick of getting hit so hard."
Orpik practiced yesterday and should play when New Jersey visits Mellon Arena at 7:38 tonight.
Talk about respect
New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur is off to one of his worst starts as a pro -- he is 1-3, with a 3.26 goals-against average and .879 save percentage -- but no one seems to be reading too much into those numbers.
No one familiar with Brodeur's body of work, anyway. Like Penguins winger Petr Sykora, a longtime teammate with the Devils.
"He's going to end up with 50 wins again," Sykora said. "He's going to end up with a 2.05 goals-against. I don't worry about Marty. I know how good he is. Hopefully, he's not going to turn it around [tonight].
"There were a thousand times when he was the difference between [the Devils] winning and losing. Playing there seven years, I can't really count how many games we didn't play well and he won the game for us. ... Without Marty, I never would have won a Stanley Cup."
The Penguins will be playing their third home game of the season tonight, but that puts them way ahead of the Devils.
New Jersey, which is moving from the Meadowlands to a new arena in downtown Newark, will not play its home opener until Oct. 27, and is the third team in NHL history to open a season with nine consecutive away games.
The others were Quebec in 1980 and Carolina in 1999, both of which also were preparing to move into new or renovated facilities.
Ominously for the Devils, who are 2-3, neither of those clubs got into the playoffs. The Nordiques did not recover from a 1-6-2 start and the Hurricanes, despite an impressive 4-2-3 season-opening performance on the road, finished just two games over .500.
Penguins winger Georges Laraque, who is nursing a sore groin, did not practice yesterday. ... While warming up before practice, defenseman Alain Nasreddine took a shot -- then watched the blade sail off his two-piece stick and get stuck in the protective netting behind the goal, where it stayed until teammate Maxime Talbot was able to knock it down. ... Devils enforcer Cam Janssen is sidelined after having surgery to repair his right shoulder Oct. 4. He is expected to miss about three months, but told the Newark Star-Ledger that "I'm losing my mind already." ... New Jersey coach Brent Sutter has started using left winger Patrik Elias on the point opposite Paul Martin on the Devils' No. 1 power-play unit.
First Published October 17, 2007 12:00 am