Dripping with sweat after a thirty-minute session on a stationary bike, I asked Dmitry Orlov how he was feeling Saturday night after the biggest game of his professional career.
“Not good. We lost.”
Orlov, a 20-year-old offensive defenseman from Novokuznetsk, Russia, could have cared less about his first ever three-point performance, the fact that he rifled three shots on net, or that he was on the ice for three minutes of the game’s five-minute overtime– big-time minutes for a young player.
On November 16, 2011, In News, Photos, By Ian Oland
A few weeks ago, word leaked out on Twitter that Braden Holtby was sporting a new goalie mask during practice up in Hershey. We sent photographer Kyle Mace — of our sister blog Sweetest Hockey on Earth — to the Bears’ next home game and had him capture every angle imaginable of Braden’s new roller-coaster themed mask.
Well now, David Gunnarsson — the Swedish artist who custom-painted Holtby’s new headgear — explains the backstory to the project.
Friend of the blog Holly F. and King mug for the camera at a Movember event last year.
Vice President and General Manager George McPhee announced today that the Washington Capitals have sent forward D.J. King to the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League. The 6’3”, 231-pound horse-lover played in a total of 18 games in Washington over the past two seasons, watching another 85 from the press box. King collected $660,823 during those 85 games he did not play, which should totally bum you out.
Last week King was made available on waivers, signaling his desire to see actual playing time. The move to Hershey may be a continuation of that.
Andrew Gordon won two Calder Cups with the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears in four seasons. He played nine games with Washington last season, scoring his first career NHL goal on future hall of famer Martin Brodeur, a feat he celebrated by kissing assister Marcus Johansson on the bench. But Andrew left the organization over the summer to hazard the free market. After a promising performance at Anaheim’s training camp, Gordon was added to the team’s roster (and then cheated on us in Finland with another blog).
Today is Halloween, which for me means less than one month until my birthday! Yay! Oh wait — I mean, dressing up, eating candy, and looking like a tool. To celebrate the holiday right, we figured we’d do a Halloween-themed post.
I’ll be honest: when I heard Chris Gordon‘s demand to solicit Caps-themed jack-o-lanterns, I thought we’d get maybe four images and this post would be a total disaster. Three days and 50 emails later, holy lord did you guys come through in a BIG way. (I guess that’s why he contributes to the New York Times, and I don’t.)
We’ve got Caps logos, we’ve got Ovi heads, and we’ve got 10 million Weagle-carved pumpkins. Follow me past the jump to check out the gallery.
Oh yeah. Homeowners, please remember: the more Mr. Big bars you give out to the kids tonight, the more goals Ovechkin will score on Tuesday. So don’t be stingy. And kids, show no restraint in eating your candy when you get home. Sugar is good for you, no matter what your parents say. Eat it all in one night. Dive into those Kit-Kats and Milky Ways like Alex Ovechkin dives into the boards after scoaring. Type II diabetes be damned.
The front of the mask features a bear on a roller coaster (either a reference to Hersheypark or his turbulent offseason) and the Capitals Weagle logo. The back features the flags of Saskatchewan and Alberta (Holtby’s home); the Japanese symbol meaning “Constant Improvement,” the words “Carpe Diem”, and the Hershey Bears logo.
Below the jump, check out Kyle’s hi-res images of Braden’s sweet new headgear. And thanks to Holtby for unknowingly being such a great model.
It was over 30 minutes past the scheduled end of his practice session, but Dmitry Orlov simply did not want to leave the ice. With almost all of his teammates from Group C already in the locker room, the 20-year-old defenseman had the secondary rink at Kettler Capitals Iceplex all to himself, effortlessly gliding around invisible opponents with the puck seemingly glued to his stick. Dima was clearly enjoying the moment.
Group C included such standout blueliners as Roman Hamrlik, an NHL veteran of almost two decades, and John Carlson, not much older than Dmitry, but already recognized as one of the top young rearguards in the league. The young Russian appeared to be unfazed by such company. Every time the players gathered around a member of the coaching staff to receive instruction, Dima took his spot, usually in the front row of the huddle, and listened and watched very intently. He no longer relies on anyone’s help in order to understand — a very timely improvement in his command of the English language — as all of his Russian-speaking teammates were assigned to Group A.
Having finally completed his puck-dangling routine, Dima finally went off into the locker room, but not before he patiently signed autographs for a small group of his fans waiting for him rink side. A few minutes later he made his way into the media area — by then completely empty, aside from a couple of reporters finishing up their stories — and spoke candidly with RMNB about his improving English, participating in shootouts, and his first and only fight.
In early February, when Metallurg Novokuznetsk failed to reach the KHL playoffs, Dmitry Orlov worked out a deal with the team’s management. Instead of being sent down to the MHL to play for Metallurg’s affiliate during their playoff run, Orlov started his professional career in the Capitals’ organization to work towards his goal of becoming an NHL player.
Orlov went on to total nine points in the remaining 19 games of the AHL regular season, and he experienced his first ever AHL playoff series, a 4-2 series loss to the Charlotte Checkers.
The six-foot Novokuznetsk native is now back in DC, participating in his first ever NHL Training Camp. I caught up with Hershey Bears Head Coach Mark French — the same man who guided the Bears to an AHL record 60 wins and the team’s eleventh Calder Cup in 2010 — and asked him about Orlov’s rookie season, what he needs to improve to make the NHL, and if Dima has the potential to be a 20-goal scorer in the NHL.