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Brooks Orpik says Penguins should have won

(By Molly Riley - Reuters)

Brooks Orpik again schooled me on the subjective nature of sports viewing Wednesday night. From the Washington perspective, the Caps suffered yet another letdown almost immediately after scoring in the second period, allowing the Penguins to tie things up. And then, nursing a lead late in the third period, the Caps failed to close things out, forcing overtime and then the shootout.

Sure, Jose Theodore bailed the team out several times. The Caps were out-shot significantly, and had just one power-play chances to Pittsburgh's five. But I didn't walk into the post-game dressing rooms with the sense that one team had let things slip away more than the other, or that one team had made more mistakes than the other. Orpik, though, did.

"I think the frustrating part is you make the same mistakes over and over and you don't learn from them," the Pittsburgh defenseman said. "That's the frustrating part. It's not like we're getting behind. We're blowing leads. Here in the third period we're up by a goal....The Semin goal, we're just sloppy there, so it looks like we lost our focus there for whatever reason. I don't know, it's a little frustrating right now."

So I asked him whether he thought this was a game the Penguins should have won.

"Do I think so? Yeah," he said. "We're up by a goal in the third period. We get a power play and have a chance to make it 3-1, and instead we give them a short-handed goal. So all due respect to them, a team that's as experienced and as good as we are, we shouldn't be losing games that way."

In truth, part of his frustration came from the overall direction of his team. While Washington has won four of five and has just one regulation loss since the Olympic break, Pittsburgh has lost six of eight and has relinquished its division lead. (Or had before Wednesday's game, anyhow, when the Pens pulled back ahead with that point.)

"Maybe I'm in the minority here, I'm getting tired of hearing that we played hard and we should have deserved better," Orpik said. "We're not winning hockey games, and that's what it comes down to. I don't know. I don't feel very good leaving the rink when you lose, no matter how you played....

"I'm getting very concerned. Everyone wants to talk about the playoffs. We've still got eight games to go here, and we're not exactly playing too well. The way we're playing now, we'll be out in the first round. It's getting pretty frustrating, yeah."

Still, Orpik didn't put any stock in the fact that the Penguins remain winless against their rivals this season.

"Look at last year; I think they beat us 3-1 last year, too," he said. "That didn't add up [in the postseason]. So I don't think it matters, but I think obviously, no matter who you're playing, you've got to take care of what you're doing a little better right now. We're not. We're finding ways to lose."

I didn't hear Sidney Crosby answer any questions about his team's record against the Caps this year, but he was definitely asked whether the ball's in Ovechkin's court, in terms of winning a team title.

"I don't feel like that," Crosby said. "I play every year to win, just like he does. Whether I win, or somebody else wins, or he wins, it doesn't really matter. We're all battling for the same thing. It's not just him and i. Everyone's gonna make the comparisons, that's up to everyone else to do, but that's now how I measure myself, against anybody. I play to win, just like anybody else, and we all work hard for that reason."

By Dan Steinberg  |  March 25, 2010; 12:11 AM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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Posted by: leogeorge25 | March 25, 2010 1:04 AM | Report abuse

Caps fans, you want a Penguin to despise? Ignore Sid - he's a little whiny but he plays his butt off. But Brooks Orpik? Now, THERE'S someone I can get behind booing. What a d-bag

Posted by: jburksva | March 25, 2010 4:47 AM | Report abuse

Does anybody actually like Orpick! He is such a Pr**ck! I mean theguy tries to decapitae other teams players and then cries like a baby when he loses...go borrow one of crosby's pacifiers and shut up!

Posted by: capscoach | March 25, 2010 6:22 AM | Report abuse


I'm with you. He is already my most despised Penguin. Rooting for him is like rooting for the bully who bothered my kids.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 25, 2010 6:29 AM | Report abuse

While reading Orpik's comments, Nelson's "Ha Ha" from the Simpsons kept running through my mind.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | March 25, 2010 6:36 AM | Report abuse

Or, as displayed in the starting lineup on the Jumbotron, Brooks Orpic.

Posted by: JillC | March 25, 2010 7:17 AM | Report abuse

In hockey especially, you can't compare 2 players based on how their teams did! Let's stop this nonsense! When the players are on the ice for less than half of the game, how can you compare them based on team performance?

Let's compare Crosby and Ovechkin based on how they play personally and compare the Penguins and Capitals on how the teams play, but let's not combine both comparisons anymore.

Posted by: Dougmacintyre | March 25, 2010 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Orpik is probably the most classless player in hockey. hes not your average agitator because he rarely gets caught. He hits from behind, he cross checks, he goes for the face, he spears, you name it. They call him a shutdown defenseman but really he's just a dirty, dirty player who doesn't know how to shut up. the few times he has been caught in the act he's so surprised he gets misconduct penalties for complaining so hard to the refs.

His classlessness was sealed up for me when Jordan Staal scored a goal vs the caps and Orpik decides to shove Pothier into the goal celebration causing a major fracas sending four players to the box, none of them Brooks Orpik.

Posted by: remain | March 25, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Hey, I hate Brooks O'Prick just as much as anyone, but he's right. The Caps regular record against the PENISguins doesn't mean squat. To paraphrase Dean Wormer's admonition to Flounder in Animal House, "Giving up such quick goals after you score is no way to go through life, son."

I think this team is doing something special, but as one of Stein's other bogs points out, only 7 of the last 27 President's Trophy winners have gone on to win the other trophy, you know the only one that matters.

If they keep up the hard work and never say die attitude, there's no reason they can't win this year. I just hope the Theo that bailed them out last night is the Theo that shows up in the playoffs.

Posted by: VeloStrummer | March 25, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Orpik's quote..."Should we have won? Absolutely! We're the Pens, the league's favorite team. Our captain is Bettman's golden boy, and the refs let us get away with just about anything! What, you think they didn't SEE the stick between Ovi's legs in OT? All the other trips? The extra guys on the ice? Yea, we shoulda won."

Posted by: mcfarkus | March 25, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

"I think this team is doing something special, but as one of Stein's other bogs points out, only 7 of the last 27 President's Trophy winners have gone on to win the other trophy, you know the only one that matters."


7 of the last 27, but 4 of the last 10.

Literally, 40% of the last 10 cups have been won by PT winners, another 20% were won by teams finishing first in their conference. Of the remaining 40%, 20% were won by teams finishing second in their conference, and 20% were won by teams finishing 4th in their conference.

Given the choice, I would choose to be in the position that correlates to winning the Cup 60% of the time versus any of the alternatives.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 25, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Shoulda, woulda, coulda.
The game is 60 minutes not 40 miniutes.

Posted by: MNMNT | March 25, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Why is it that Caps fans think that Caps players are all clean cut, hard working, by the rules type of guys that deserve every win they get and were robbed every time they lose? Every team they play is full of cheaters and dirty players but the Caps skate the rink with halos over their heads. It's just a leaguewide conspiracy against the Caps. No no wait...its because of the Canadiens. Thats it!
Orpiks dirty....but Ovie just plays hard. If it wasn't for the refs, the Caps would be undefeated this season.
What will you say when it comes out that Ovie is on steroids??? Oh yeah...just a smear campaign by Bettman. Geeeeeeeeez

Posted by: puckhead1 | March 25, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

want some cheese with that whine?

Posted by: MNMNT | March 25, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Truth hurts huh MNMNT? Ouch

Posted by: puckhead1 | March 25, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

I don't like the Penguins, but I think Brooks Orpik is actually right here. No Malkin and yet the Penguins were demonstrably the better team in the first period, were slightly better in period 2 and bar the 2 minutes where the Caps scored twice were much the better team in period 3. And they don't have everybody. Theodore had to make 39 saves to keep the Caps in it and the Caps grit in a game like this is admirable. But what is going to happen if the Caps and Pens meet in May? That's what has me worried. Great win for the Caps though!

Posted by: templetontherat1978 | March 25, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Cindy is the most boring interview available. You would think his giant lips would flap incessantly about nonsense, but he says nothing interesting, nothing amusing...really he says a bunch of nothing every time he opens his mouth. It's either whining or it's a verbal sleeping pill.

Posted by: soloman5000 | March 25, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

"Do I think so? Yeah," he said. "We're up by a goal in the third period"
...then maybe you guys on defense should've taken into account that your 3rd period goal differential in recent matchups with Washington is like minus-fifteen or something. All that tripping/interference tire you out after 40 minutes?


Posted by: JohnnyBlades | March 25, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: corphotel | March 25, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Check your facts Steinberg. Pens are still in 1st in the Atlantic.

Posted by: Terpintino | March 25, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

nope. not at all.

keep whining. it's keeping me entertained.

Posted by: MNMNT | March 25, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Orpik may be a prick, but he's right--about the Pens finding ways to lose (something the Caps did for years!) & about the regular season not having much bearing on the playoffs. Remember how much agitta the Rangers gave us last year? Short series, hot goalies, and pressure can kill even a very good team. Until the Caps beat the Pens in the playoffs, Pens are still top dogs, much as it pains me to say it. If the Caps are as good as I think they are this year, they'll find a way to win when it counts the most-in the post-season. GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: nyskinsdiehard | March 25, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I don't think the Pens played better than us...I thought it was pretty comprable. They had 5 PP opportunities to score to our 1, and though they had a lot more shots, many came from the outside and I thought Caps did a good job letting Theo see them. We had a lot of great opportunites after the 1st period and MAF made some very good saves. It's not like the Pens were AMAZING and we just got lucky.

Posted by: capscoach | March 25, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Pens will always have the Trump over us untill we win the Cup.

This team is now built for play-off success, we got guys that get the "dirty goals". Knubble has been a penguin killer,always has been always will be.

Big difference from this year to last. With the Caps, we are playing good going into the play-offs, not coasting and just going thru the motions.

With the Pens, the changed their coach last year and got on a good run. They had to string some games together to get into the play-offs and were probably one of the hotter teams going into the post season. Not feeling that this season.

Let the games begin!

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | March 25, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

"Check your facts Steinberg. Pens are still in 1st in the Atlantic."


No their not, they are techncially tied for first, but NJ has 1) a game in hand, and 2)the tiebreaker due to a 6-0 season sweep of the Pens.

Actually, in literally no way are they in first in the Atlantic.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 25, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I don't think Orpik is whining here. He's voicing concern about his own team, not the Caps. Or the refs, for that matter. He's right - the Semin SH goal was a result of sloppy play by Pittsburgh (and a great indvidual effort by Sasha). An honest player should be concerned about that letdown.

At the end of the day, though, the Caps have only beaten Pittsburgh once in regulation. The Super Bowl Sunday OT win and yesterday's SO win are nice, but they don't simulate the playoff environment, where there's no shootout and OT is five on five.

The Penguins are absolutely capable of beating this team four times out of seven.

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 25, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

If the Queen had balls, she'd be the king, Orpik.

Posted by: DocHolliday1906 | March 25, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Crosby has the all the personality of an after dinner mint. Even when he says things that are not objectionable, his whiny, condescending manner comes through.

Posted by: poguesmahone | March 25, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

VTDuffman: actually with the loser point last night, the Pens took a one point lead over the Devils. The total points earned trump all tie breakers.

Posted by: remain | March 25, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

poguesmahone: WTF does Crosby have to do with anything?

Regarding Orpik's comments and Pens apologists, the better team won. How do you judge a better team? By the score, of course. Neither team was outworked both teams had injuries, replacing a Brooks Laich with a Quintin Laing is a huge drop off in talent and net presence. Malkin is a shadow of his Conne-Smythe self, he probably wouldn't have even made a difference in this game. Gonchar, on the other hand...

Face it, when it came down to it, MAF was off his game and got lit up in the Gimmick...a gimmick the Pens have been feasting on this season.

Posted by: remain | March 25, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

The penalty calls last night were a joke, but saying that doesn't change the fact that the Caps penalty kill sucks. I love the Caps but this is their achilles heel. They need to swarm the puck more. Last couple of games I've notice how the lack of a decent penalty kill could come back and kill us. I know it's late in the season and everthing is locked up , but doesn't it bother anyone else. Go Caps !!!

Posted by: Berndaddy | March 25, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

The PK has looked a lot better the past few games...BB was right...our PK lloked good against the Pens except for 1 or 2 mistakes and they capitalized on one of them.

Posted by: capscoach | March 25, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

"VTDuffman: actually with the loser point last night, the Pens took a one point lead over the Devils. The total points earned trump all tie breakers."


Gotcha. ESPN needs to update their standings.

Still, up 1 pt when NJ has two games in hand now and wins all tiebreakers isn't saying much. I have to believe that NJ will get at least 1 pt in those 2 games.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 25, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I hope Orpik is right and the pens continue to find new, exciting, and ever more frustrating ways to lose.

Posted by: ds_kelly | March 25, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

i was kind enough to put my hate for that dbag orpik aside for the olympics since he's american but he's still a dbag

btw i liked how Shaone Morrison and John Carlson got a little physical against Crybaby last night

Posted by: gr8t | March 25, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Whoever paid off the refs thinks the Penguins should have won too.

Posted by: RockRed | March 25, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I go back and forth on what this game and the larger regular season means.

It is clear the Pens were short-handed last night without Malkin and Gonchar. That would be like taking Backstrom and Green off the Caps. Would Washington have won last night without these players?

At the same time, the Caps have quietly retooled their roster from last year's playoffs to provide for a more battle ready unit come the 'second' season.

Mike Knuble was the best offseason acquisition with 26 goals and a net presence that resonates in the playoffs.

Jason Chimera is another big forward with speed whose play should magnify in the tight confines of playoff hockey.

Belanger definitely helps the PK and is a quality faceoff man.

Corvo allows Green to play less minutes, including on the power play. Corvo may not be the hulking defenseman fans were looking for, but he is a top 4 defenseman who can handle the puck, clear the zone and acquit himself offensively. And he was in the conference finals last year.

You balance all of this against a Pittsburgh team which is essentially the same roster as the one that finished the postseason last year.

They acquired Jordan Leopold at the trade deadline for the D, but lost Hal Gill and Rob Scuderi from the backline in free agency and are not as physical in defending their own net.

I think Washington by making these moves may have passed Pittsburgh, just as the Penguins passed Washington last year by picking up Guerin and Kunitz at the deadline to give them more balance on the wings.

Time will tell.

Posted by: leopard09 | March 25, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

The NHL has an established procedure for determining who should win hockey games. The team with the most goals after 60 minutes, 65 minutes (if necc.), or 65 mins + a shootout (if necc.), should and does, indeed, win. If the Pens SHOULD have won, then they SHOULD have scored more goals in the allocated time.

Suck it, Orpik!

Posted by: seth_malaguerra | March 25, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

obviously game means nothing till playoffs but all i hear is we should have won it we where up 3rd peroid. But Pens fail again to put a team away . Caps are best 3rd peroi team in the nhl surprise surprise they came back by won Orpik

Posted by: cjdwolfpack | March 25, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Hey since when did "should have won" ever mattered? LOL. All that matters is the SCOREBOARD.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 25, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Orpik raises some excellent points for Pen supporters. Pittsburgh simply hasn't been playing as well down the stretch like they did last year, when they went into the postseason on a 15-2-2 tear.

But his "teams like us" shouldn't lose comment is a bit silly. They were playing a team that has the best home record in hockey, has lost in regulation 4 times since Ovie became Captain, and incredibly has gotten standings points in something like 25 of 28 games.

Orpik and the rest of the league are learning it's going to be a real challenge to knock this Caps teams out. The Pens needed 7 games to do it last season despite a rookie goalie in net for the Caps and the Penguins having a huge edge in PPs...(just like last night)

Posted by: southside721 | March 25, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

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