PITTSBURGH – Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik, a member of Team USA’s Olympic squad, said athletes aren’t that concerned about their own safety for the upcoming Sochi Games.
“It’s more they’re concerned over their family members going because they’re not in the village,” Orpik said this morning at the Consol Energy Center. “We’ve been pretty assured they’re going to be safe where they are. It’s one of those unfortunate things. That’s just the way it is, not just because it’s Russia. I think that’s just the world we live in now. No matter where you are there’s always some amount of risk.”
Orpik said he follows the news closely, so it’s been hard to ignore all the warnings about terrorist attacks. The United States is moving two war ships to the Black Sea and the State Department issued an updated travel alert for the region last week.
Still, the 33-year-old Amherst native said he couldn’t to tell his father to stay home for the Olympics.
“I never brought it up because he would’ve just ignored it,” Orpik said. “There was no way he was missing it. He was going for sure.”
Orpik’s wife will also be going overseas. Players have been told to limit their traveling party. He said he had more family at the 2010 Vancouver Games
Four years ago, Orpik said he learned to appreciate Ryan Miller’s skill level “a lot more” as the Buffalo Sabres goalie backstopped the U.S. to a silver medal.
“Of any goalie I’ve ever played with, he’s by far the most prepared in terms of how he prepares himself before games mentally and physically,” Orpik said. “He’s definitely a pretty intense guy. On the flip side of this, he’s also really, really nice person, a pretty soft-spoken guy. But when it comes to hockey, not just goalies, he’s one of the most prepared athletes I’ve seen.”