Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik is an alum of the U.S. world junior team.
He's proud of the program.
He supports it.
But he apparently doesn't always have unwavering faith in it.
That is why, a day before Team USA spanked Canada, 5-1, in the semifinals in Ufa, Russia today, Orpik declined an offer from Sidney Crosby -- who has represented his country on occasion, as well -- to wager a meal on the outcome.
"I wasn't all that confident after the first time those guys played," Orpik said, referring to Canada's 2-1 victory Sunday.
This time, however, the U.S. dominated much of the game and there was very little suspense about the outcome.
It was a particularly painful loss for the Canadians, in whose country the tournament is a national passion.
"You know how much pressure is on those guys and you feel bad," Crosby said. "There's never a question of how hard those guys work. When you put on that jersey, you go out there and do your best. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough. But the U.S. really played well."
That includes a four-man contingent from Western Pennsylvania: Goalie John Gibson and forwards J.T. Miller, Riley Barber and Vincent Trocheck.
"There were some local guys who did well, so it's good for the area, for sure," Crosby said.
Crosby said Orpik didn't taunt him about the game -- "He's been good" -- which might be a reflection of Orpik's admiration for the commitment Crosby showed to following what happened.
"I was pretty respectful," Orpik said. "Especially since I slept in until 7:30 and he got up (to watch the 4 a.m. start)."
No word on whether either plans to tune in when Team USA faces Sweden in the gold medal game Saturday at 8 a.m.
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