Brooks Orpik: Pittsburgh Penguins Defenseman Set To Return Against Panthers

J FCorrespondent IMarch 26, 2011

DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 16:  Brooks Orpik #44 of the Pittsburgh Penguins warms up prior to facing the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on February 16, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Penguins defeated the Avalanche 3-2 in overtime.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

All eyes may be on Sidney Crosby's path to recovery as he continues to move forward in conquering concussion symptoms, but according to coach Dan Bylsma another injured Penguin will make it back on the ice this weekend.

Defenseman Brooks Orpik has missed a month of games after breaking a finger on his right hand while blocking a shot back in February and will be in the lineup against the Florida Panthers on Sunday.

Orpik is in his eighth season with the Pens after being selected 18th overall by the team in 2000. He'll be paired with Pittsburgh's top defenseman Kris Letang, meaning Engelland or Lovejoy will have to step down to make room for him.

Orpik will bring his physicality and toughness to the Penguins already powerful penalty kill and will be a force for containing opponents' top skaters. He's confident that he's ready to return and that the injury won't be reaggravated or hinder his play.

After sitting for 13 games and watching his team continue to play well, there is no doubt that Brooks Orpik is excited to be back in action.

I will be at Consol Energy Center for the game on Sunday so I'm glad he's returning so soon, but more importantly he isn't being rushed back. 

All fans should be just as excited as the Pens continue to impress without their stars and the wounded are beginning to return.

Now, the question of the year remains:

When will Crosby lace up his skates again for Pittsburgh?