Dmitry Orlov goal celebration

Dima celebrates his fourth goal of the year (Photo credit: Kyle Mace of Sweetest Hockey on Earth)

Dripping with sweat after a thirty-minute session on a stationary bike, I asked Dmitry Orlov how he was feeling Saturday night after the biggest game of his professional career.

“Not good. We lost.”

Orlov, a 20-year-old offensive defenseman from Novokuznetsk, Russia, could have cared less about his first ever three-point performance, the fact that he rifled three shots on net, or that he was on the ice for three minutes of the game’s five-minute overtime– big-time minutes for a young player.

He also didn’t want to think about his highlight-reel goal in the first period where he took the puck from behind Hershey’s own net, went around two defenders in the neutral zone, and scored on a slapshot from just inside Albany’s blue line – a jaw-dropping individual play. The Bears endured their fourth straight loss, this time to the visiting Devils, and he was victimized on Albany’s second goal, in which he lost a one-one-one battle with Nathan Perkovich in front of the net.

Unlike Dima (Orlov’s nickname), Mark French, the Bears’ Calder Cup-winning head coach, kept perspective in his post-game press conference. “His talent was on display tonight. His first goal — the second goal of the game — was a nice shot, but I thought his skill and his NHL upside was clearly on display.”

Orlov — continuing to grow more comfortable by the day with English — was recalled to the Washington Capitals early Sunday and looks to play in his first NHL game Monday against the Phoenix Coyotes, trying the give the Capitals a much-needed jolt. Mike Green, whose latest groin injury was classified by Bruce Boudreau as “an actual day-to-day thing” nine days ago, has not recovered as fast as team officials would have liked and may not skate until later this week. Green has only played in 13 games since February 1st of last season, a harrowing statistic.

“We just thought we needed a little shake up, just somebody with a little more energy from the back end a little bit,” Boudreau, the Capitals embattled head coach, told the Washington Post’s Katie Carrera. “Supposedly last night in Hershey he was fabulous — he had a goal and two assists, and thought we could use that.”

For those of you who have been reading RMNB for the last two years, Orlov’s quick rise to the NHL should not be a surprise. For those of you who have gotten on the RMNB bandwagon a wee bit late, hey, that’s all good. Let’s catch you up on what you’ve missed.

Dmitry Orlov’s First KHL Goal (11-23-2008)

Dima’s first KHL goal came on November 23, 2008 when he was 17 years, 4 months, and 0 days old. Orlov became the second youngest player defenseman to ever record a goal in the KHL — a league mostly comprised of men and NHL retreads. Only Zakhar Arzamastsev has scored quicker at 17 years and 1 month. Orlov went on to record seven goals and 14 assists in 102 career games in the KHL and Russian Super League.

Dmitry Orlov is Drafted by the Washington Capitals (6-29-2009)

Orlov was selected by the Washington Capitals in the second round, 55th overall of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. He was the second Russian drafted – Dmitry Kulikov was selected 14th by the Panthers. With his debut Monday, Orlov will now be the third Capitals player in the 2009 draft to play in the NHL. Marcus Johansson and Cody Eakin are the others.

Dmitry Orlov Eats Cupcakes at 2010 Development Camp

This isn’t really an accomplishment. This is just a great photo by RMNB’s Chris Gordon. Here Orlov and 2010 first round pick Evgeny Kuznetsov scarf down cupcakes.

Dmitry Orlov Awarded Davydov Trophy (9/16/2010)

Dmitry Orlov Davydov Trophy

During the 2009-10 season, Metallurg Novokuznetsk failed to qualify for the KHL playoffs so they decided to send Orlov down to the Novokuznetsk Bears of the MHL, the KHL’s developmental league. After totaling only four goals and three assists in 43 KHL games, Orlov found his game in the junior circuit, leading the Bears to the MHL Finals. Orlov’s nine goals and 10 assists in the playoffs ranked him third among all players. He was awarded several top honors including the Davydov trophy as the MHL Playoff MVP and was also named the best defenseman of the MHL Finals and Semifinals.

Dmitry Orlov Wins Gold Medal at WJC (1/5/2011)

Orlov, along with fellow Capitals draft pick Evgeny Kuznetsov, led the Russians to a Gold Medal in the 2010 World Junior Championship held in Buffalo. Trailing Canada 3-0 in the Championship game, the Russians scored five unanswered goals in the third period, winning the tournament in dramatic fashion. One of Russia’s assistant captains, Orlov played a key role for the squad finishing with nine points in six games. He also was named to the post-tournament the all-star squad.

Dmitry Orlov Leaves the KHL for Hershey (2/27/2011)

After another losing season in the KHL, Orlov got out of his contract with Metallurg and signed an entry-level deal with the Washington Capitals. On February 27th, Orlov made AHL debut against the Albany Devils. Not only did he register a point in his first game as a Hershey Bear, he also inspired The Patriot-News’s Tim Leone to comment,”That’s the best first 20 minutes from a 19-year-old D I’ve ever seen in this league.” RMNB’s Igor Kleyner caught up with Dima after his first professional game. You can check out the interview here.

Dmitry Orlov Scores His First Career AHL Goal (3/9/2011)

Orlov went on to score his first AHL goal ten days later against the Worchester Sharks. In his first abbreviated season in the AHL, Orlov finished with nine points in 19 games.

Mark French Compares Orlov to John Carlson (9/22/2011)

During Caps training camp, I caught up with Hershey Bears Head Coach Mark French and he compared Dmitry to fellow Capital John Carlson. “I think Dmitry’s got a lot of upside. What I really like about him that he has similar to John is he has a real swagger [on the ice]. They both don’t get intimidated by a situation. They both seem to rise to the occasion more than be intimidated by it. I think that’ll make him a very good hockey player.” Read the whole interview here.

  • http://twitter.com/kat326 Rachel Cohen

    I really hope Orlov plays Tues. or Thurs. I want to see him play IRL!!! :)

  • Jesshughes

    Does this mean you can re-name the blog to name a 3rd Russian now?  Maybe that’s the kick in the karmic pants the Caps need.  Happy to see Orlov get a a shot.  Go CAPS!

  • BillyT

    Anything that results in Shultz in Hershey. 

  • sean

    We can’t play D and we call-up an offensive D-man that can’t win board battles?  Yeah he is a great asset, but do we need a rookie that is more than likely going to make mistakes?

  • http://www.facebook.com/bryantpthomas Bryant Thomas

    ^^^

  • DarkStranger

    I’m sure Orlov will be playing — tomorrow.  I doubt that they brought him up to be scratched.  So don’t you worry, Rachel.

  • DarkStranger

    A blog about Russian dudes on the Caps: Alex Ovechkin, Dmitry Orlov, and others.

  • http://twitter.com/ianoland Ian Oland

    He can’t win board battles, Sean? That’s news to me. I’d love to see evidence of such, because I haven’t seen it.  He’s a physical player and a good forechecker on top of his offensive talents.

     It is fair to point out that he may be more likely to mess up. Twenty-year old defensemen are not susceptible to bone-headed plays. But I think having a guy in the line-up who is actually fleet of foot (unlike Schultz and Hamrilk) and can help cleanly get the puck out of the defensive zone will help this team big time.  He’s a game-changing player and the sooner the Capitals can get him acclimated, the better.  The power play has also been struggling big time again. He can really help out there.  I really believe he’ll give them a spark tomorrow.

  • http://twitter.com/ianoland Ian Oland

    I see what you did there.

  • yuk

    Rachel, I can bet 100$ and guarantee that Orlov will not play Tues or Thurs for Caps. But I’m sure someone will invite him for turkey on Thurs!

  • Pattyo

    Ah yes, you fine people in DC finally have the privlage of watching Dima!

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  • http://twitter.com/ianoland Ian Oland

    They wouldn’t bring him up just to sit him. Counter productive!

  • http://twitter.com/kat326 Rachel Cohen

    ………Whoops. I meant Wednesday and Friday. hahahahaha Thank you. FIXED THAT.

    ((Spend enough time in an art studio in one sitting and you start to lose track of what day it is.  :’D ))