BFFs (Photo credit: Ian iPad)
A few summers ago, Winnipeg Jets forward Alex Burmistrov posted pictures of his vacation in Turkey on his Facebook page. Lo and behold, the photos (now private) featured himself as well as Caps defenseman Dmitry Orlov having fun at the beach, doing basically the opposite of this. Unknown to us at the time, the two are close friends.
The friendship was more apparent last season, Orlov’s first in the NHL. As members of the Jets and Capitals, the friends played each other four times and said nice things about each other in the press.
In an interview with Andrey Osadchenko of AllHockey.ru, Burmistrov was not surprised by Orlov’s strong play early on. “He is a smart guy,” said Burmistrov. “He knows when to join the attack. He sees the ice very well, has a good pass, a good shot. Last year, Fowler at Anaheim. This year, Gudbranson in Florida. [Orlov] is just as good. He is getting more and more confident with every game. I am very happy for him.”
In March, Orlov told RMNB’s Igor Kleyner that playing against Burmistrov was a treat. “It felt great to [go] against him. It had been awhile since I played either with him or against him, and I was quite glad to see him. He is an excellent player, and he has grown a lot as a player in the last two years. But I was glad we won those [first] two games.”
Fast forward to this season, with most veteran Russian NHL players back in their homeland to play in the KHL during the lockout, Orlov and Burmistrov, both signed to two-way deals, were forced to stay in North America and report to each team’s respective AHL club, the Hershey Bears and St. John’s IceCaps. On November 10th, the teams played each other in Hershey. The friends caught up, having lunch the day before and spending time with each other after the game.
Igor and I found Burmistrov in St. John’s lockerroom post-game, and we asked him about when the budding friendship began. Burmistrov’s full comments are below.
We have been best friends since when we were about 15 years old. We met at the Under-18 National Team camp. That was my second time participating in that camp, and they put the three of us – Dima, me, and Max Kitsin — in the same room. Afterwards, whenever we were both with the junior national team, we would always room together if it’s two guys per room, and if it’s three then it was me, him and [goaltender] Igor Bobkov.
He is actually a lot of fun to be with. We always spend time together during the offseason, last summer and the year before. I didn’t get to play against him today [Editor's note: Orlov was out with an upper body injury], but when it does happen – it’s kind of interesting. I worry about how well he is going to do on the ice. Even though he is playing against me – I want him to do something good, to succeed when he is on the ice. I don’t think either one of us ever hit another when we played against each other. Thank god he is yet to catch me with a hipcheck!
As for Burmistrov’s teammates, they haven’t been so lucky.
Photos of Orlov and Burmistrov
Group Russians shot: Burmistrov, Orlov, Galiev, and Telegin after the Bears/IceCaps game on 11/10.