How the Penguins are spending their Olympic Breaks

Justin K. Aller

The NHL schedule has taken the rare stop in the middle of the winter, so the Pittsburgh Penguins players are taking advantage of it by scattering far and wide around the world to enjoy their brief break.

In the midst of an 82 game NHL season, the players associated with the Pittsburgh Penguins don't often get a 3 week stretch between games in the dead of winter. Once every four years with the Olympics is an exception to the rule, and as you'd expect the players are taking advantage of their rare chance to spend quality time this time of year with their families. A brief run-down is as follows.

Matt Niskanen - A trip to Minnesota to visit family and ice fish, then a vacation to the Bahamas for a few days. (source for this and many: penguins.com)

Olli Maatta - In Sochi, where he practiced today looking like he'll be taking top 4 minutes for Team Finland. Go ahead young buck.

Rob Scuderi - taking the family to Disney World as a surprise to his kids. Possible Dad of the year, especially since they'll get to miss some school to do so.

Deryk Engelland - taking his wife and baby boy to Turks and Caicos (small islands north of the Dominican Republic).

Paul Martin - In Sochi, where he's expected to form a shutdown pair with teammate Brooks Orpik.

Pascal Dupuis - definitely the least fun of anyone, he's scheduled to have ACL surgery this Wednesday (2/12) and will soon after begin his rehab program.

Chuck Kobasew - keeping in line with his play this season, he plans to disappear off somewhere.

Chris Kunitz - with a money quote from a Dejan Kovacevic tweet:

Tanner Glass- is going to Europe, where he'll spend 5 days in Lisbon, Portugal and 5 days in London where he plans to take in some plays and watch two crappy EPL teams (Arsenal-Liverpool) play.

Brandon Sutter- heading home to Alberta like a good Canadian boy to do some ice fishing.

James Neal- gets a nice vacation in Mexico after not being picked to replace Steven Stamkos for Team Canada. And, at least doesn't have to worry about being suspended once the NHL season resumes, after the NHL announced that they won't punish him after his 3rd embellishment call of the season.

Beau Bennett- going back to Penticton, BC (where he played junior) and Denver (where he played in college) to start his break.

Chris Conner - the internet didn't report on his plans as he rehabs and looks to hopefully rejoin the lineup after his injury.

Craig Adams - also no report for him, but it should be a welcomed break for a vet who's played in every game since October 2010 and did a lot of work with the player's association during the lockout.

Marc-Andre Fleury - The NHL's win leader as a goalie, who's also played in 47 of the team's 58 games this season gets a well deserved trip to the Caribbean for a week.

Jussi Jokinen- In Sochi with Team Finland.

Jeff Zatkoff- going to Whistler, BC, a huge skiing resort near the Pacific Ocean. He promises to not take part in any skiing but just enjoying the area.

Harry Zolnierczyk- got waived by the Pens, wasn't claimed, so he's back in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton playing, where he scored a goal last night in an eventual OT loss to Hershey.

Robert Bortuzzo - unknown plans, sadly.

Brooks Orpik - in Sochi, where he'll provide a veteran presence for Team USA's inexperienced blueline.

Brian Gibbons- assigned back to Wilkes-Barre for the break, with guys like Conner, Bennett and Vitale potentially coming back soon, it'll be interesting to see if Gibbons stays in the AHL for very long.

Kris Letang - after suffering a stroke, Letang has been cleared to travel and will be heading to a warm, beach destination. Hopefully it does him well and gives him a chance to clear his mind and feel better.

Jayson Megna- also a part of the group sent to WB/S for the break. And, like mentioned above, the Pens have a host of depth forwards who may be about to return to the lineup shortly after the break. Has Megna done enough to earn a 3rd line job in the NHL this year? We'll soon see, but nice to see Megna (who's only played 35 combined AHL/NHL games this year due to injury) get a chance to get more playing time.

Evgeni Malkin - in Sochi, with all the pressure on him. Practiced with Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin on a line today. With Pavel Datsyuk being injured, Malkin may have to shoulder even more of a burden for a Russia team that's stronger on the wings than down the middle, especially if they're without their captain in Datsyuk.

Sidney Crosby - In Sochi, where he practiced today on a line with Jeff Carter and teammate Chris Kunitz and by all accounts is ready to pickup where he left off in international play when he scored the golden goal in Vancouver in 2010.

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