Alternate captain and defenseman of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Brooks Orpik, will represent Team USA in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. This is the second time Orpik has represented Team USA in the Olympics. In 2010, Orpik was a member of the 2010 Silver Medal Squad and also helped the Pittsburgh Penguins win the 2009 Stanley Cup.
While Pittsburgh does rally around Orpik, Orpik is not the only Pittsburgher to represent the Western Pennsylvania region in this year’s Winter Olympics. Orpik’s fellow Pittsburgh Penguins teammate, Sidney Crosby, will also be in the Olympics, although representing Team Canada. Lauryn Williams from Rochester, PA will compete in her first Winter Olympics this year on the Bobsled team. Williams has previously won two gold medals as a sprinter during the Summer Olympics. Chris Keverling from Kintersville, PA will make his Olympic debut in Sochi as a member of the Short Track Speed Skating Team. Keverling has previously won four career World Cup Medals. These are not all the Winter Olympic athletes from the region either! There are 14 other athletes representing Pittsburgh, PA! Even though all the athletes aren’t listed here, rest assured, Pittsburgh will rally around all of the Olympic athletes with connections to the Western Pennsylvania region!
I predict the USA Hockey Team will be the Group A Runner-up, losing to Russia since Russia has a home-court advantage. Russia wants nothing more than to win a Gold Medal in Men’s Hockey on its own soil. Besides, Russia, without a doubt, wants to avenge their 6th place ranking from the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. However, the Olympics are not over for the USA Men’s Hockey Team. The team would just need to overcome a few weaknesses to beat Russia. First, the USA Men’s Hockey team is unfamiliar with playing on an international-sized rink that they will be using in Sochi. The USA Men’s Hockey team has struggled with this in the past and I predict this year will be no different.
Despite this handicap, the USA Men’s Hockey Team cold still prevail over Russia, especially if the Russian Men’s Hockey Team fails under the weight of their country’s expectations. I do not think the USA Men’s Hockey Team will receive a gold medal, but if they overcome their past handicap with regard to the rink, they can easily beat the Russian Men’s Hockey Team.