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Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin named to Team USA

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Pittsburgh Penguins defensemen Paul Martin and Brooks Orpik were never in any doubt to the eyes of Team USA management (a group that included Pens GM Ray Shero and coach Dan Bylsma). They were named to the Olympic team that'll go to Sochi next month.

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The roster for Team USA's Sochi Olympic team was announced after the Winter Classic today, and two Pittsburgh Penguins, Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin, were on the list.

The team will be coached by Dan Bylsma and with forwards like David Backes, Dustin Brown, Zach Parise, Ryan Callahan, TJ Oshie and Ryan Kesler making the team, it'll have a lot of jam up front.

Defensively, Bylsma will have two familiar faces with Martin and Orpik. From reading this very comprehensive look that ESPN's Scott Burnside got (and it's a really excellent piece), it was never in doubt despite the injuries. Orpik and Martin were considered locks from the access that Burnside had, and although most assume the two may play together, this nugget stood out to me:

Instead, Martin looks to be a guy who will move to his off hand and play with Suter as the team's top pairing.

Martin with Ryan Suter would be a very smooth, calm and collected #1 unit that could play top and tough minutes. Based off the reading of that article, Ryan McDonaugh and Justin Faulk, at least for now, are considered the second pairing, with Orpik in the mix to play with John Carlson and Kevin Shattenkirk on the 3rd pair, and Cam Fowler being thought of as of now as the 8th option, and lone healthy scratch.

Orpik, by the way, was the older skater named to the team at just 33 years old- with goalie Ryan Miller (two months older than Orpik) being the oldest. It's a young team and a young defense, with the Penguins pair making up the two oldest of the American defenseman. And since they know Bylsma's system the best, they'll be vitally important players.

Martin has been out since November 25th when he broke his tibia (leg) blocking a shot, but according to recent reports, is expected to meet with doctors to review progress next week. He was said to be out 4-6 weeks at the time of injury, putting him in the early part of that window to return now. Team USA's first game isn't for six weeks from today, so he'll have plenty of time to heal and is expected to be able to play in Sochi.