PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Nobody is more powerful in the open ice than Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik.
However, nobody is more foolish, than KDKA-TV’s Jory Rand who decided to lace up his skates and find out what it feels like to take a check from Orpik.
It’s no secret that Orpik is one of the NHL’s biggest hitters. Just ask Steven Stamkos, who was welcomed to playoff hockey by Orpik during their first-round playoff series in 2011.
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Sometimes, the big hits look bigger than they actually were.
“Danny Paille, I got him in Boston last year. Visually, it looked pretty good, but he was laughing two seconds after,” Orpik said.
Other times, the hits feel big.
Rand: How good does that one big hit feel?
Orpik: Yeah, it usually feels pretty good.
For years, Orpik was in the top ten in the NHL in hits. One of his most memorable moments was a series of hits he dished out during Game 3 of the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals against the Detroit Red Wings.
“I don’t think I’ll ever forget that one,” Orpik said.
However, things have changed this season. Orpik currently ranks 114th in the league in hits. But, he leads the league in blocked shots.
“When I first came into the league you’d always approach things looking for hits. Now, I think guys as you mature, as you get older, you approach the game open-minded and just let it come to you. Some games you don’t get any opportunities and you try not to allow yourself to get frustrated with that,” Orpik said.
Still, when you pick your spots, the effects can be far-reaching.
“If you can hit a guy and maybe he thinks twice about coming across the middle later on in the game, or later on in the series, or maybe if his shoulder doesn’t work exactly the right way for a couple of days, that helps your team,” Orpik said.
Once the formal interview was over, it was Jory’s turn to be on the business end of some hits from Orpik.
Knowing what was in store, the Penguins made Jory tape a waiver prior to stepping on the ice.
Orpik started out by showing some hitting techniques. Then, it was time to run the play at a little closer to full speed.
After a couple of hits, Jory turned to the camera and said, “I think we’re good.”