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Former Pens Niskanen and Orpik react to Bylsma’s firing

Dan Bylsma

Pittsburgh Penguins’ Dan Bylsma, center, gives instructions to Matt Niskanen (2), and Sidney Crosby (87) during a time out in the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Chicago Blackhawks in Pittsburgh, Sunday, March 30, 2014. The Penguins won 4-1. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)


Former Penguins’ defensemen Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik, now with the Washington Capitals, recently spoke to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review about the summer firing of Dan Bylsma and his staff.

“The organization can say whatever it wants, that it wasn’t sure what it wanted to do, all that stuff,” said Niskanen. “But it was (bull).

“It’s not like Dan was a chump or something, but that’s how he was treated. He won you guys a Cup, you know?”

The Penguins fired general manager Ray Shero in May, but waited until current GM Jim Rutherford was hired in June before firing Bylsma and his staff.

Niskanen spent parts of four seasons with the Penguins registering 85 points in 214 games.

The 28-year-old joined the Capitals via free agency in the summer signing a seven-year, $40.25 million contract.

Niskanen and Orpik, who signed a five-year, $27.5 million contract with Washington, return to Pittsburgh on Dec. 27.

“I definitely have an opinion on it,” Orpik said. “But I don’t think it does any good to share that right now. At the end of the day, it’s people running a business. That’s what you always hear. It’s a cut-throat business. I don’t think anything surprises me anymore.”

Orpik broke into the league with the Penguins and spent parts of 11 seasons with Pittsburgh registering 132 points in 703 games.

Both players told reporter Josh Yohe, they were treated well, but had issues with the way the coaching staff was handled.

“I was always treated really well when I was there,” Niskanen said. “But, you know, I have a real problem with how those guys were treated. A lot of guys on the team were very upset by how everything happened.”

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