A day after their thrilling 3-2 victory over the Rangers to even the series, Washington took to the ice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex Sunday morning. As they prepared to head to New York for a pivotal Game 5 Monday, the team’s sprits were high and the beards long. Below, check out some of my photos from the skate.
Orlov and other Caps scratches look on from the press box. (Photo credit: Clydeorama)
It’s been a season of unexpected trials and disappointments for the Washington Capitals, but if there’s been one pleasant surprise, it’s been Dmitry Orlov. The young defenseman was not expected to make a permanent impact with the club this season, but after being called up on an emergency basis early in the year, Orlov simply earned his keep, becoming a mainstay even on a roster that frequently had defensemen to spare. Orlov has yet to play in the postseason, with the coaching staff so far relying on more experienced players to man the blueline, but if the Caps manage to make it past the first round, he may just get his chance.
I headed up to Arlington today to check out Caps practice. There wasn’t much news out of Kettler but that won’t keep us from trying way too hard to make some.
Twenty-year-old Dmitry Orlov does a lot of things well. He’s plays solid defense, can provide some huge blasts from the point, and is having an all-around fantastic rookie year. One thing, however, is not Dima’s forte: the playoff beard. Karl Alzner’s day job is safe, it appears.
“Man, there are three of you!” exclaimed Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov in the locker-room following his team’s shutout of the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs, as he found himself surrounded by all three Russian-speaking members of the press covering the game on Sunday evening at Verizon Center – Dmitry Chesnokov of Yahoo Sports, Dmitry Shumin of Sovetsky Sport, and me. “Why do you all want to interview me?” said Dima, “I didn’t really do anything special this game – no goals, no points. You should be interviewing other guys!”
Get your time machines. We’ve got to go tell the Caps from November to play exactly like this right here.
Alex Semin collected a rebound in front of the net and Alex Semin Sniped™ the first goal past Tim Thomas. Matt Hendricks got right into the crease and made it 2-0 within 25 seconds. Milan Lucic went five-hole on Vokoun to get the Bruins back in it. Marchand capitalized on an Orlov giveaway to tie the game. League MVP Jay Beagle finished off a sparkly pass from Semin. Brooks Laich scored on the PP–yes, you read that right, he scored on the PP. Boychuk scored with three minutes to go to make it a little uncomfortable. Caps beat Bruins, 4-3.
In the second period of the Caps home game against Tampa, Lightning forward Brett Connolly got hit with an ugly one-two play when he was tied up in the corner by Dmitry Orlov, and Mike Green came in hard and hit him high, making contact to Connolly’s head with his forearm. Video is below the jump.
By the time the Carolina Hurricanes made their way to DC, the Washington Capitals desperation for a win became strong enough to overpower any shyness the team may have developed when it comes to scoring.
Troy Brouwer ended 134 minutes without a goal by going backhand on Cam Ward. Jay Beagle turned a perimeter shot from Dmitry Orlov into the Caps second goal. But the Canes came back quick with goals by Tlusty and Larose in less than five minutes. A whiff by Dennis Wideman led to Brandon Sutter’s pretty breakaway goal. Brooks Laich tied it up by giving and going with Marcus Johansson late in the third period.
But as the players one by one trickled into the dressing room and began answering the reporter’s questions, Friday night’s performance was on everybody’s mind. How did the youngest member of the Washington Capitals deal with one of the team’s worst showings of the season?
Below the jump, Dmitry Orlov discusses the loss to New Jersey, changing defensive systems, wearing the full cage mask, and Evgeny Kuznetsov’s future.