Dmitry Orlov: Hockey Hits, Hipchecks, and More Hits

Orlov and Max Pacioretty fight for the puck. (Photo credit: Richard Wolowicz)

Way back on November 23rd, Dmitry Orlov registered his first NHL point in his second NHL game against the Winnipeg Jets. That night he also made his presence felt physically with two monster hits. On one, he hit Evander Kane so hard into the boards that his stick flew into the crowd. On the other, he laid out an unsuspecting Blake Wheeler with an open-ice hip check.

“I really like the physical element of the game,” Orlov told RMNB’s Igor Kleyner a few days later. “Always have, since I was a kid. One of the reasons I came to play here – there is more hitting. I like that.”

Well, here’s a hit you may not have even known happened. On January 13th against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Orlov caught Steve Downie with a hip check after the pest rifled a shot on goal. The hit flipped Downie end-over-end to the ice in hilarious spectacular fashion. Video is below the jump.

The animated GIF is even better.

When Dima was called up, it was assumed that the six-foot, 200 pound Russian defenseman would be more of a contributor on the offensive end. Yet, Orlov has found his niche as a rugged, puck-moving defender. This year he has dished out 50 hits, which ranks him eight on the Capitals despite playing in 18 fewer games.

While many NHL defenseman have taken the hip check out of their repertoire due to the high risk:reward nature of the play, we’ve seen Orlov perfect the art in his time with the Capitals. In a league that’s watching high hits closely these days, a well delivered hipcheck can be the best way to send an opposing player – legally – head over heels, and if Orlov keeps this up, it looks like teams facing the Caps in the future are going to get a taste of what Lars Eller did tonight.

Video courtesy of VazorProduction

S/T to @broflacco who initially posted the Orlov hit on Downie and inspired this post.