Photo by Sweetest Hockey On Earth‘s Kyle Mace.
With Development Camp just over three weeks away, Dmitry Orlov is gearing up for a chance to impress the Capitals brass. After finishing his KHL season in February, the soon to be 20 year-old defenseman signed a contract to play for the Hershey Bears, AHL affiliate of the Caps. In 25 games with Chocolate-town, Orlov tallied 10 points, including two goals. Now, Dima is back in his hometown of Novokuznetsk, training for the upcoming season.
Below, RMNB’s Fedor Fedin translates two interviews with Orlov by Novokuznetsk Sports Portal, where the young Russian discusses his chances of making the Capitals this season, what he will do if he doesn’t and why the regional government drew his ire.
Novokuznetsk Sports Portal – Dmitry, how has your summer vacation been after such an eventful season?
Dmitry Orlov – It’s been okay. Especially because it’s a long-awaited rest. I recently returned from my vacation, and I’m satisfied. I had good company. I already started training on June 19. As soon as I flew back I started to skate again. I’m also going to the gym now. I leave on June 28. I have one more week of training in Novokuznetsk then I’ll have practices there [in Arlington]. Washington’s rookie camp starts on July 10, so I’ll have two weeks of personal training with the Caps Physical Trainer [Mark Nemish]. There will be another Russian guy training with me — Galiev. He was there last year too so it’s going to be more fun for us together. We will go through some serious training to get ready for camp.
Novokuznetsk Sports Portal — Who accompanied you on your vacation? Were there any hockey players with you?
Dmitry Orlov – Yeah, my friend, Sasha Burmistrov [of Winnipeg/Atlanta]. And there were some others that I got to know. Ovechkin, Semin, Varlamov stayed in the same hotel as me. I met with them, and we all talked a bit.
Novokuznetsk Sports Portal — Did you talk about Washington?
Dmitry Orlov – Yeah, but only just a little bit, because they left before us. They were only there for a week. We weren’t able to talk a lot but I think we’ll have some time to communicate later on.
Novokuznetsk Sports Portal – Did Semyon Varlamov talk about his plans? They say it’s possible he may leave the Caps.
Dmitry Orlov – No, he didn’t say anything about it. And I think Semyon wasn’t focusing on hockey then. He was relaxing. We have some time to take a break. We will focus on hockey in season, in September and October. Now is the time to relax.
Novokuznetsk Sports Portal – Do you skate alone in Novokuznetsk?
Dmitry Orlov – No. I skate with the senior team, but I’ve done so only a little bit so far. I was skating once every two days before the vacation as well. I flew back and on the 19th night I went to skate right away. I need to give myself some time for skating. I wasn’t skating last year and it was difficult for me to enter [the training process].
Novokuznetsk Sports Portal – Did you get an individual training plan from the Caps?
Dmitry Orlov – Yes. The Caps’ strength and conditioning coach emailed it to me. These were exercises that we’ve done there before. It’s a special system and I’m doing what is written there. Nothing surprising for me. When I was at rookie camp we always did those exercises so it’s familiar to me. When I first came [to America], I didn’t understand it very well. It was a bit difficult. But now I’m used to it. I like it and it’s interesting for me to work under that program. People who play in the NHL use this program. I have something to strive for. In terms of this, I need to grow.
Novokuznetsk Sports Portal – Do you know what’s coming up in rookie camp?
Dmitry Orlov – Yeah. Every year the training is the same. I’m going for the third time. I don’t think something new will be introduced. But there will be some new guys.
Novokuznetsk Sports Portal – Do you think you will play in the exhibition games?
Dmitry Orlov – The exhibition games are in September. It’s still a long ways away. I’ll work hard to get there and maybe even start the season in the NHL. I want to make the NHL very badly and I need to train my hardest for it. There are a lot of defenseman on one-way contracts in Washington. It’s going to be difficult, but I’ll try. I’ve chosen my way. We will see what happens.
Novokuznetsk Sports Portal –Can you think of any defenseman you could push off the Capitals roster?
Dmitry Orlov – No. I’ll just play my game. They know what I can do. I hope they consider me. They were waiting for me for so long.
Novokuznetsk Sports Portal – If you start the season in the AHL, will it be a tragedy for you?
Dmitry Orlov – No. Life won’t be over. I’ll work even more. I’ll do my best to make them notice me and call me up.
Novokuznetsk Sports Portal — Are you ready to spend a season in the AHL or will you consider options of coming back to Russia?
Dmitry Orlov – I’ve signed a three-year deal with the Caps and I’ll try to make it in those three years. But, of course, I hope it will happen sooner. In principle, it’s up to me.
Novokuznetsk Sports Portal – You were promised an apartment in Novokuznetsk. How is that going?
Dmitry Orlov – To be honest, there’s been nothing new. They showed us the apartment and that was it. They disappeared. They didn’t contact us after that. I have a certificate at home though. But where the apartment is located, when will it be ready, what and how — I do not know. It’s a little bit of an uncomfortable feeling, because everybody else already got theirs. While we, guys from Novokuznetsk, were one of the first who were announced to receive it, but — I think we’ll get it at some point. They won’t forget about it.
Novokuznetsk Sports Portal – Did you try to get anywhere with the certificate?
Dmitry Orlov – No, but I think everybody is fair. But a half of the year has gone by and nothing has happened yet.
Novokuznetsk Sports Portal — On the Internet there was news that Gazprom [the massive state-owned gas company and KHL sponsor] wanted to give an incentive to the WJC champs. Did you get something?
Dmitry Orlov – Yeah, I saw that news, read it. We asked the general manager of the national team about it and he said that we won’t get anything. We only have Hockey Russia’s and the president’s bonuses. Gazprom didn’t promise anything to us. But it wasn’t a pity for me. But unlike with the apartment — there was only rumor with Gazprom, nothing more. But here I went to Kemerovo [the regional capital], was at [governor] Aman Tuleyev’s reception. We will see what’s next.
Novokuznetsk Sports Portal – Is [Kings' draftee] Maxim Kitsyn in the same situation?
Dmitry Orlov – Yes. We both are in the same situation. They showed us apartments in the same building and that’s it. We haven’t received even a phone call.
Additional reporting by Chris Gordon and Ian Oland.