Posted by: analeeharriman | October 31, 2011

The Ballad of Cardboard Orpik

Come and listen to a story ’bout a cardboard man
Tryin’ to help his hockey team out the best he can
Taking hits like a boss and stoppin’ them plays,
And gettin’ himself hurt in various ways
(Owwies that is, takin’ one for the Black & Gold, Penguins hockey)

I’m sure there are many ways that hockey teams motivate each other when they’re out on the ice, and being a Penguins fan myself, this is going to sound a wee bit biased, but I do believe the Pittsburgh Penguins have come up with the funniest way to help each other out during practice, and it’s all thanks to a piece of cardboard.

Brent Johnson practices with Cardboard Orpik.

See, in lieu of having Brooks Orpik himself on the ice, the Penguins have taken the unique approach of having a “cardboard” standee version of Brooksy out on the ice so the boys in Black & Gold can practice their defense.  Now, I put cardboard in quotations because technically, it’s not actual cardboard; it’s actually a thick metal, but since the NHL and the rest of the team is calling him “Cardboard Orpik,” why shouldn’t I?  So Cardboard Orpik he will remain.

Cardboard Orpik was something that Dan Bylsma and the rest of the team dreamed up this summer, so he’s a relatively new addition to the team.  But like the rest of his team before him, he’s already suffered a couple of injuries this year: a slapshot from Jordan Staal knocked him over in one of his first practices and an “instability” injury resulted from that hit.  After being sidelined to recover (and after he had the two metal rods with tennis ball bases replaced by a 2×4 plank of wood, as seen above), Cardboard Orpik returned to the ice, only to suffer another, more brutal hit at the stick of Steve MacIntyre that knocked him facefirst to the ice.

Well next thing you know Cardboard Orpik’s on the ice
With an couple injuries that didn’t look too nice
Ben Lovejoy fears the worst of ol’ Brooksy’s injuries
So they carted him off the ice with the zamboni
(Cleans the ice, makes it smooth, great for parades)

One of the things that I’ve always loved about the Penguins is the general sense of humor that the team shares, and Cardboard Orpik’s predicament is no exception to the “Let’s have a little fun with the fans” rule.  After the MacIntyre hit, defenseman Ben Lovejoy said “I actually think Cardboard Brooks Orpik is out 4 to 6 weeks.  Steve MacIntyre hit him with a really hard shot. He’s got a broken foot. The injuries just keep piling up for the Pens.”  Adding to the hilarity was Disco Dan himself, who said “I didn’t see him out there today.  I knew he was going to be joining the guys. You can tell me how he did” when jokingly asked for an update on Cardboard Orpik’s condition.

For everyone who thinks Cardboard Orpik is a hoot, there’s some good news.  The Penguins are planning to add to their cardboard family: Disco Dan has all but confirmed that Cardboard Orpik will be joined by Cardboard Kris Letang and Cardboard Paul Martin.  Mazel tov!

Well now Disco Dan’s going to add a few more
Cardboard Orpik’s gonna have some friends to help him block the scores
Joined by Cardboard Paul Martin and Cardboard Tangy
And they’re gonna make a very happy Cardboard family
(The Penguins Cardboard Defense, gonna be swell, Y’all come back now, ya hear?)


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