Orpik’s New Accessory: Penguins gritty blueliner Brooks Orpik has made a slight modification to his on ice attire: a visor. After surveying recent injuries around the league—most notably, an eye injury that has afflicted Marc Staal—Orpik, 32, has opted for the added protection. Orpik wore the visor at Penguins morning practice in Toronto and during the 3-1 win over the host Maple Leafs.
For Orpik, the change of heart was almost a natural transition and a response to the changing opinions in the National Hockey League.
“When I came into the league 11 years ago, there was a big difference in how they were perceived,” Orpik told Toronto media. “Sometimes, you had the old traditionalists who thought visors signaled you were a less physical player, or not as tough as the next guy. You look around our league,” he said, “there’s some pretty tough guys who wear visors.”
Malkin’s New Hardware: Following a brisk skate with Penguins strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar, reigning league MVP and scoring champion Evgeni Malkin, was presented with the coveted Ted Lindsay award. The award is presented to the most outstanding player as voted by the NHLPA. Players Association representative Craig Adams presented Malkin with a replica of the award and a framed portrait of the Russian forward. True to form, Malkin’s acceptance speech was tongue-in-cheek. “Thank you guys, this is a nice surprise for me,” Malkin said to a full locker room. “Thank you everyone, not just Chris Kunitz and Lazy (James Neal) I had a tough injury and you all supported me. I love you guys.” Last season, Malkin notched 50 goals and 109 points.
Malkin continues to skate at the Consol Energy Center but remains sidelined due to a shoulder injury. He has been ruled out for this weekend’s contest against the New York Rangers. This season, the Russian has five goals and 24 points in 21 games played.
Homegrown Talent: Ohio native and Penguins enthusiast J.T. Miller will be lacing up his skates for the New York Rangers on Saturday afternoon. The twenty-year old center is a graduate of the Pittsburgh Hornets Midget program, playing in the Steel City for five seasons. Drafted by the Rangers in the first round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Miller has been a key feature of the club’s roster. Strong at the faceoff dot, along the boards, and often battling for loose pucks, Miller’s offensive capabilities are just what the doctor ordered for the struggling Rangers. Miller also represented USA at the 2012 World Junior Championships where he would register four points (2G, 2A) in six games. Miller’s offensive zeal improves in the 2013 World Junior Tournament, leading Team USA with nine points.