Photo credit: Robb Carr

By our math, today marks Dmitry Orlov‘s 30th day on the Washington Capitals’ active roster. For the first two months of the season, Orlov had been wearing out a groove between DC and Hershey, recalled and re-assigned six times without playing a single NHL game. The reason for all those two-and-a-half hour trips was a mystery until The Washington Post’s Katie Carrera reported that Orlov’s contract contained an escape clause: if he didn’t spend one month in the NHL by January 1st, Orlov could have walked.

On November 27th, Orlov’s agent, Mark Gandler, reported that his client would like to be traded rather than suffer the ignominy of US-15 any longer. Instead, on November 30th, Orlov played his first game in a Capitals uniform since March.

Neither the Capitals nor Orlov’s agent would comment on hitting the 30-day requirement, but it appears Orlov won’t be leaving town anytime soon.

The Capitals have won 3 of the 4 games since Orlov suited up, winning the possession contest in all four. Orlov’s time on ice has increased from under 14 minutes to over 18 during the span, and his individual underlying numbers have been strong.

We don’t know why Adam Oates had a change of heart regarding Dmitry Orlov, but we’re glad he did.

Additional reporting by literally everyone.

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  • Phil

    To me its almost as if somebody told a certain somebody to tell a certain coach to use the freakin players that we traded for and how unacceptable it is for TWO top players to be asking for a trade in the first quarter of the season.

  • Why do you people insist upon taking US 15?!

    It’s most likely quicker to take 83.

  • serpent

    Take 15 so you can travel through beautiful Frederick,silly.

  • serpent

    Is anyone paying attention to what’s happening to the Bears now we have so many of their players?

  • The last time I went through Frederick I saw three men, one holding a baby, examining the windshield of their minivan that had a bullet hole in it.

    I like to think they were re-enacting a scene from the Hangover.

  • best city

  • Are you sure you weren’t in Hagerstown?

  • Positive, we were headed to Baker Park for High School Tennis regionals.

  • Graham Dumas


  • Graham Dumas

    It’s the most reasonable explanation, but do we have actual info that Oates was the one deciding not to play Orly and who favored Laich/Brouwer over Erat/Fehr? Or is it just speculation?

  • Jack Conness

    I’m happy to finally get to see the man play this season. It would have been a shame if he went back to the KHL or had to be traded. At least he is playing, and playing pretty well right now.

  • Ben Reed

    I doubt it was a McPhee strong-arm, though I’m sure they discuss personnel. What seems most likely is that Laich injury and Urbom incompetence finally forced Oates’ hand.

  • Graham Dumas

    That’s what I mean: do we have any info that Oates was the one holding Orlov and Erat back, as opposed to pressure from the front office to play franchise guys like Laich (obviously Laich has nothing to to with Orlov, but you get my point).

  • Ben Reed

    We don’t have direct info, but we have evidence McPhee likes Erat (traded for him) and Orlov (recently stated publicly that it was time for Orlov to play full-time in the NHL). Whereas Oates has indicated that benching/burying Erat is 100% his call, and until recently has been less than complimentary of Orlov.

  • nailed it

  • Phil

    Purely speculation. I just cant see why Oates continued to play Laich when he was playing oh so bad.

  • Graham Dumas

    Evidence or not, it’s such a frustrating situation.

  • Graham Dumas

    Me neither. My only thought that makes any sense is that Oates was trying not to “Erat” Laich by benching him and screwing up his confidence.

  • I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and I addressed it at length in the snapshot on Sunday

    Lineup decisions are usually pretty opaque, and Oates’ are no exception. He’s kept in bad players (or, rather, good players playing badly, i.e. Laich) and left out good players like Erat. Same thing last year with Wojtek Wolski, a great player but one who was reportedly unliked/unlikable.

    Maybe Oates plays favorites. Maybe he is more concerned with faithful execution of his system than performance. Maybe he’s a bad at talent evaluation. Maybe some guys are jerks.

    Whatever precipitated the change, the team is better now than it’s been all season.

  • Buck

    any possibility kuznetzov can walk away from his contract to join the caps since his olympic dreams seem slim? Is that even allowed?

  • Phil

    Whatever reason he used, if the team continues to win and play well with possession, I cant imagine him going back to using the same lines of mediocrity. IF he does that should be grounds for termination. Hopefully he likes winning enough to put his reasons behind him.

  • I don’t think I agree. Fehr got scratched after putting up 3 points in 2 games. Erat was driving play, but not putting up points, so he got scratched as well. I don’t see any reason to think Oates won’t revert if he can. If we knew WHY he chose to build this particular line up (Fehr in top 6, Urbom out, Orlov in, etc), we could guess what he’d do next. For now, I dunno.

  • The NHL and KHL have an agreement that any contract must be upheld if players tried to assimilate to a different club. He presumably won’t be joining us until his contract is up over there.

  • Pat Magee

    They’re off and on…….. Haven’t been the same since Aucoin left

  • Myan

    with Wey being sent back to Hershey, does this mean we can have Dima and Oleksy playing regularly???

  • It won’t affect Orlov (a lefty), but maybe Oleksy, sure.

  • Speaking objectively, do you really see him coming over at the end of the KHL season?

    I’m in the “I’ll believe it when I see it” boat.

  • put me down for summer, not spring

  • Yes. Ignore Peter.

  • My reasons why he’ll wait: recovery time after an injury-adled season, salary cap concerns for WSH, not wanting to consume a contract year, KHL backing up a truck of cash to his house, the KHL schedule keeping him there a long time, deliberations in moving his family here

    Your reasons why he’ll come: because you want him to.

  • How do you think him potentially not making the Olympic Russian team would influence his decision, if at all?

  • I don’t see it as purely *his* decision. Kuznetsov sorta already made his decision, and if it turns out he misses the roster, it’ll have been a bad one.

    Either way, he’s got more hockey to play in the K after the Olympic tourney is over.

  • Because if he plays in 10 games, he satisfies a year of his entry-level contract. I feel like that trumps everything you said above.

  • CapsCast

    True. The Bears have had a rough time winning 2 games in a row all season ( they’ve done it once.) We long for the days of Bourque, Giroux, and Coiner.