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Training Camp Outlook: Captains, Please

by Jason Seidling / Pittsburgh Penguins
Sergei Gonchar and Bill Guerin were not just strong players on the ice for the Penguins, they were also instrumental in helping captain Sidney Crosby off the ice as alternate captains thanks to their veteran experience.

But Gonchar skated off to Ottawa as a free agent and Guerin is attending Philadelphia Flyers camp on a tryout basis, leaving at least one alternate captain spot open.

Forward Evgeni Malkin returns as one of the alternate captains alongside Crosby, but the team must determine if one player or two will be asked to fill the void left by Gonchar’s and Guerin’s departure.

Veteran defenseman Brooks Orpik – the longest-tenured Penguin – has to be considered an odds-on favorite to assume this role. The hard-hitting Orpik is one of the most respected voices in the Penguins locker room and has proven over the past couple of years to know when to say the perfect thing at the perfect time.

“I don’t look at this as a chance to really change anything,” Orpik said. “With the guys we have here it’s never easy losing those guys. We have a bunch of good leaders and we brought some guys in this summer who are pretty established within the league.”

Other strong candidates would be forwards Jordan Staal and Matt Cooke, with veterans Craig Adams and Mike Rupp, and possibly even newcomer Paul Martin, dark-horse options.

“I think the organization will look at me being the third-oldest guy on the team as someone to step up and take some of that leadership,” Cooke said. “I want to be a guy that if something needs to be said, I’m not afraid to stand up and say it.”

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