All photos by Kyle Mace. Click to enlarge.

We heard from reader Matthew W. that Braden Holtby got a new mask this week. Until today, all we had were blurry, long-distance cell phone pictures, but now we’ve got pics from Kyle Mace (of our sister blog Sweetest Hockey On Earth) taken during warm-ups of the Bears/Senators game.

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.

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Dmitry Orlov

Photo credit: Kyle M.

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.

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Mark French

Photo credit: Hershey Bears Facebook Page

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.

He flew to America, and made his AHL debut with the Bears on February 27th. That night, Dima registered an assist, spent time on the power play, and had a first period so solid that Tim Leone called it “the best first 20 minutes from a 19-year-old D I’ve ever seen in this league.”

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.

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Dmitry Orlov

Photo credit: Chris Gordon

A few weeks ago, Dmitry Orlov completed his third Capitals Development Camp, flying back to his hometown of Novokuznetsk immediately after its completion. The 20-year-old Orlov will continue to train in Russia until heading back to Washington in September for his first ever NHL training camp.

Three weeks ago, Sports.ru’s Andrey Osadchenko had a fascinating Q & A with Dima, with the Caps prospect going in-depth on his time in Hershey, who impressed him most at the AHL level, and his goals for the upcoming season. Orlov — who’s been involved in a few altercations during his time in the KHL — also revealed if anyone tried to fight him during his time with the Bears.

Below, RMNB’s Igor Kleyner translates the interview.

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Braden Holtby

Photo credit: Chris Gordon

When George McPhee swooped in and signed free agent goalie Tomas Vokoun for a couple bucks and Alex Ovechkin’s now useless stockpile of CCM sticks, there was no doubt it was a great move for the Washington Capitals. But that doesn’t mean everyone was happy with it. 21-year-old netminder Braden Holtby, who looked assured of a roster spot just a day before when the team traded away Semyon Varlamov, was once again relegated to a job with the AHL’s Hershey Bears.

We know what Michal Neuvirth, the remaining ‘keeper in the Caps’ trio, thinks about the deal and losing his starting spot. Holtby, however, has been somewhat of a mystery, with head coach Bruce Boudreau admitting during Development Camp even he hasn’t spoken to the Saskatchewan native about the move.

Unbeknownst to us (but not Hockey Ramblings), someone has been able get Holtby’s side of the story. Several weeks ago, The Pipeline Show on Team 1260 Edmonton caught up the young goalie, with Holtby spilling the beans on the crease situation, Nicklas Backstrom’s injuries, why he didn’t think the team’s defensive system was much of a change, and more.

Below, we offer a transcription.

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Dmitry Orlov Caps Development Camp

Dima speaks with Igor after Saturday’s scrimmage (Photo credit: Chris Gordon)

At his third Capitals Development Camp last week, Russian defenseman Dmitry Orlov not only showed off a little bit of his well-known offensive side, but a hard-hitting, physical game as well, laying out a couple massive checks during the week. And though the soon-to-be 20 year-old has begun to adjust his game to the North American style of play, Orlov said getting used to the change in language and cultural will still take some time.

For now, Dima is heading back to his hometown of Novokuznetsk, where his training for next season will resume, before heading back to Washington in September. After the final scrimmage of camp on Saturday, RMNB’s Igor Kleyner was able to talk to Orlov, who dished on his new English teacher, his hopes for next season, and more.

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Olie Kolzig

Kolzig smiles during his first press conference in D.C. as a coach (Photo credit: Chris Gordon)

Last Thursday, the Capitals’ new associate goaltending coach Olie Kolzig joined Elliot Segal on DC101’s Elliot In The Morning. The former fan-favorite goalie spoke favorably about his new gig and dished out plenty of interesting information in the interview, including Phillipp Grubauer’s potential landing spot next season, Braden Holtby’s tough situation, his thoughts on free-agent signee Tomas Vokoun, and much, much more. Check it out below the jump!

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Dima participates in a drill during the first day of Development Camp.

Photos by Chris Gordon

When Metallurg Novokuznetsk’s season ended in early February without a playoff berth, Dmitry Orlov had two options. He could finish the year in Russia again with Metallurg’s MHL affiliate, the Novokuznetsk Bears, or begin his professional career in North America. After dominating the KHL’s junior circuit and winning the Davydov trophy as the MHL Playoff MVP in 2009-10, Dima needed a new challenge. So he negotiated an agreement with his KHL club and flew over to America to sign a contract with the Washington Capitals.

On February 27th, Orlov impressed fans and media alike in his AHL debut against the Albany Devils. Not only did he register a point in his first game as a Hershey Bear, he inspired The Patriot-News’s Tim Leone to exclaim,”That’s the best first 20 minutes from a 19-year-old D I’ve ever seen in this league.” Orlov went on to score his first AHL goal — ten days later — on March 9th against the Worchester Sharks and finished the year with nine points in 19 games.

After taking a brief vacation in Turkey, the defensive prospect is back in America, and participating in his third Development Camp. So far, the reports are positive.

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Dmitry Orlov

Photo by Sweetest Hockey On Earth‘s Kyle Mace.

With Development Camp just over three weeks away, Dmitry Orlov is gearing up for a chance to impress the Capitals brass. After finishing his KHL season in February, the soon to be 20 year-old defenseman signed a contract to play for the Hershey Bears, AHL affiliate of the Caps. In 25 games with Chocolate-town, Orlov tallied 10 points, including two goals. Now, Dima is back in his hometown of Novokuznetsk, training for the upcoming season.

Below, RMNB’s Fedor Fedin translates two interviews with Orlov by Novokuznetsk Sports Portal, where the young Russian discusses his chances of making the Capitals this season, what he will do if he doesn’t and why the regional government drew his ire.

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Dmitry Orlov during warm-ups with the Hershey Bears

Orlov in action with the Hershey Bears (Photo credit: Ian Oland).

The 2010-11 season was a whirlwind for young defenseman Dmitry Orlov. The Novokuznetsk, Russia native started the season at Capitals Development Camp in July before going on to play for the Kontinental Hockey League’s Metallurg Novokuznetsk, tallying two goals and 10 assists in the regular season. In December, Orlov joined Team Russia at the World Junior Championships. The Caps’ 2009 second-round pick was a standout, playing on Russia’s top defensive pairing and being named first-team all WJC as the Ruskies went on to win the gold medal.

Metallurg, however, had an awful season, finishing with the worst record in the KHL. Instead of joining Metallurg’s minor league club, the Novokuznetsk Bears, at the end of the season, Orlov reached an agreement to play for the Capitals’ AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears. Orlov played in 25 games for the Bears, including six in the postseason, tallying two goals and eight assists.

Below, Igor translates Orlov’s interview with Metallurg’s official site, where the 19 year-old discusses his first season in North America and what next year holds.

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