Photo credit: Jordan Tenenbaum
On December 6th, the Verizon Center hosted the AHL Showcase between the Hershey Bears and Norfolk Admirals. Due to the lockout, it was the first hockey game played in Washington since May 9th, when two current Bears were playing with the Capitals: Braden Holtby and Dmitry Orlov.
While Holtby dominated in the Bears 2-1 victory during the Showcase, Orlov made it through just the first period before leaving the game due to injury. Since then, Orlov has missed ten games– a month’s worth of action. Bears radio announcer and PR man Scott Stuccio told RMNB on Thursday night that the Novokuznetsk-native is not close to returning yet.
With the departure of veteran defenseman Dennis Wideman over the offseason, Orlov was expected to play big minutes on the Capitals third defensive pairing this season. Instead, he’s nursing what seems to be a long-term injury with a possible NHL season nearing. Few details have emerged on what Orlov’s injury is.
To try to figure out what’s going on, I reviewed tape of the AHL Showcase to see if I could pinpoint when and where the injury occurred. After re-watching the first period, I came to a few conclusions.
- Orlov did not leave a shift early.
- Orlov had no apparent limp and did not favor a leg.
- On Orlov’s second to last shift, he absorbed a body check from two players.
With 4:47 left in the first period, Orlov led the Bears into Norfolk’s offensive zone. As the 21-year-old defenseman cut to the middle of the ice, he passed to a teammate. Then, six-foot four-inch, 250-lbs. Emerson Etem saw the play developing and prepare to hit Orlov. As the two players’ bodies met near the slot, Etem put his shoulder under Orlov’s chin, sending him airborne. Chris Wagner, trailing on the play, then collided with the airborne Orlov, cross-checking him in the head. Orlov fell to the ice, but quickly got up as the referees blew the play dead.
Photo Sequence of the Hit
Orlov returned for one final shift, a penalty kill at the end of the first period. On that shift, he tried to block a Patrick Maroon shot from the perimeter. Maroon’s stick appears to get close to striking Orlov’s helmet, but after reviewing replays, I don’t think it hit him.
Orlov then skated off for a shift change, no worse for wear. After going into the Bears locker room, he did not emerge for the second period and has been scratched since.