Dmitry Orlov: Tilting the Ice Like a Boss

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Photo: Amanda Bowen

There didn’t seem to be a lot of anxiety surrounding Dmitry Orlov being penciled in on the Caps third defensive pair entering this season. After all, what could go wrong with a guy who only had 119 NHL games under his belt and had just missed an entire season due to injury? But so far, so good for the Caps Russian defender. Actually, so far, so great. Orlov has been great on the Caps third pair, tilting the ice at an elite level.

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Photo: @nastyashubskaya

For the first time this season, Alex Ovechkin didn’t score in Friday’s monster win over the Edmonton Oilers. Instead he had to settle for two assists — and apparently a puppy. In an Instagram photo shared Saturday evening, Ovechkin and fiancee Nastya Shubskaya posed with their new dog, a flopsy black puppy named Blaik. “Get to know the new member of the family,” Ovechkin writes.

And one more thing: Ovi is dressed like Batman. That’s because the Capitals are having their Halloween Party tonight. Oh yes.

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Photo: Anne-Marie Sorvin

The Washington Capitals’ top line can’t stop scoring. On Thursday they KO’d another hockey team, this time the Vancouver Canucks. It was the first time the Capitals have won in Vancouver’s home barn since Valentine’s Day 2001, and it was all thanks to the Russians. Workers of the world, unite!

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Halfway through Tuesday’s game, the Caps were deep in a two-goal hole plus one and they looked pitiful. To the rescue came Dmitry Orlov, aided by Jay Beagle, who screened San Jose Sharks netminder Martin Jones.

That should have been Orlov’s first goal since the spring of 2014, but San Jose coach Pete DeBoer is a cranky-ass party pooper. Issuing the first coach’s challenge we’ve seen so far, DeBoer forced referee Tim Peel and company to review the play, which they did by looking at what looked like a Wii U remote.

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Photos: Amanda Bowen

On Tuesday afternoon, the Capitals celebrated all twelve months of the year with Homeward Trails’ Animal Rescue dogs for the 2015-16 Caps Canine Calendar. Each month had its own silly theme based on a season or holiday, with the players and dogs dressed accordingly.

Here’s a quick preview: Caps roomies Tom Wilson and Michael Latta celebrated Valentine’s Day by putting roses in their mouth for February; Braden Holtby wore a sombrero and poncho for Cinco de Mayo; and Karl Alzner dressed in a skin-tight skeleton costume with his dogs for Halloween in October.

January models Andre Burakovsky and Marcus Johansson had problems. By the time the photographer was ready for them, the puppies they were carrying fell asleep in their arms. Adorable, but improvisation was needed. The New Years theme became “falling asleep before midnight.” After two rounds of throwing balloons, the crew tried popping confetti champagne bottles that startled the two pups awake in the middle of the take. The Swedes handled it well: with many puppy kisses.

After the main sets, the photographer did sessions with the player families that wanted their own set of photos. #SquadGoals.

Prepare yourself for enormous amounts of adorable. We can’t wait to buy this calendar.

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Questions for 2015-16: Can Dmitry Orlov Come Back?

Orlov in 2011 (Photo: Kyle Mace)

When the Caps finally and truly return on October 8, it will have been 543 days since Dmitry Orlov last suited up for real NHL play. A shootout loss in April of 2014 was the last time the Capitals saw Orlov healthy and in regular-season action.

Orlov suffered a wrist injury playing for Team Russia that summer, and due to a long and frustrating series of setbacks he missed the entirety of the 2014-15 season, though he did suit up for Hershey in the spring for a conditioning stint.

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Photo: Amanda Bowen

On Saturday, Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner spoke to the media and predicted big things from a player likely slated for the team’s third defensive pairing.

“It’s just fun to see him handle the puck out there and do some of the things he does,” Alzner said to NHL.com’s Katie Brown. “He’s a very highly skilled player and he can be a game-breaker for us. It’ll be a lot of fun to watch.”

The player Alzner is talking about: Dmitry Orlov.

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Photo: @orlov_09

We have some breaking Caps travel news to report. Caps Russians Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov boarded a flight at Dulles this afternoon and flew home. Orlov said in his caption, “Have a good summer everyone” in English while sporting some ridiculous slippers.

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A few years ago in Hershey, I told Dmitry Orlov that he should totally get a Twitter account. I explained that he could read our terribly-written bloggy blogs, post selfies with his friends, and be on top of everything – from world news to what Caps fans are saying about him.

Orly looked at me bashfully and said, “No, No, no. That stuff’s not for me.”

Whelp three years later, I’m happy to report a social media miracle has happened. This afternoon, Orlov got on Twitter. He confirmed the news to RMNB.

You can now follow him here at @orlov_09.

(And please do it, we may or may not have a bet going with him that we can get him a few thousand followers by the end of the night.)

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We don’t have many pictures of Dmitry Orlov from this year. This one almost makes up for it. (Photo credit: Eliot J. Schechter)

Dmitry Orlov‘s 2014-15 season stunk — if you can even call it a season. After breaking his wrist playing for the gold medal-winning Russian national team at the 2014 World Championships, Orlov was supposed to be playing by the end of September. Instead, he never played an NHL game this year.

Orlov had numerous complications, with his return constantly getting delayed. He was finally ready to suit up at the end of March, and the Capitals assigned him to Hershey Bears for a conditioning stint. The 23-year-old played three games and rejoined the Caps, but Orlov had fallen in the depth chart by then. Tim Gleason had supplanted him in the lineup, and Nate Schmidt served as Washington’s seventh defensemen. Head coach Barry Trotz showed little interest in dressing someone who had not played in the NHL for a year.

Next season, however, looks to be more promising for Orlov. With Mike Green likely to depart, Orlov could slot into the third pairing alongside fellow RMNB-favorite Schmidt.

“It’s been frustrating that he hasn’t played,” Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said Monday. “We missed a year of development with him. He’s a good young defenseman. We’re counting coming into our lineup next year and having our coaching staff work with him. I think we’ll see major strides.”

I spoke Orlov about his rough season on breakdown day. It turns out it wasn’t that fun for him. His English is good though!

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