We hardly knew ye. (Photo credit: Chris Gordon)

Washington Capitals goaltending prospect Sergey Kostenko has left the organization and will return to Russia to compete for a spot with his home team, Metallurg Novokuznetsk, the team’s head coach Alexander Kitov told Novokuznetsk Sports Portal. Last year, off-season shoulder surgery, several injuries, and an organizational goalie logjam limited Kostenko to just six games with the ECHL’s Reading Royals. Later in the season, Kostenko was loaned to the Ontario Reign where he made three more starts.

Kitov also commented on the future of two other Novokuznetsk-natives: Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov and Winnipeg Jets forward Ivan Telegin.

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Dmitry Orlov On Life During The Lockout

Photo credit: Kyle Mace of Sweetest Hockey on Earth

Washington Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov has been in North America for parts of just three seasons, but he’s already had four head coaches, two broken noses (okay, the same nose broken twice), and has suffered through a benching that spanned the Caps’ entire 2011-12 playoff run.

Now, during a season Orlov should have started in Washington, he’s back with the AHL’s Hershey Bears, experiencing his first ever lockout.

On the first day of the lockout, Leonid Vaisfeld, general manager of Metallurg Novokuznetsk, expressed his interest in bringing Orlov home. “[Orlov] has a two-way deal,” Vaisfeld told Sports.ru. “So it’s up to Washington if they want to send him to the farm to learn English or let him come here, where I think it would be better for Dima’s development. As far as I understand he just wants to play at home.”

Way back in February of 2011, Orlov negotiated out of his contract with his KHL team to start his professional career early in Hershey. Now, while some of his friends are making big-time money playing in the KHL, Orlov– whose family is still in Russia– is staying the course in Hershey, doing everything the coaching staff has asked of him.

RMNB caught up with Orlov on Saturday before Hershey hosted the St. John’s Ice Caps (for whom Orlov’s best friend Alex Burmistrov plays). RMNB’s Igor Kleyner asked him about the possibility of going home, how his English is progressing, and what it’s like playing under a Hall of Fame coach.  We also talked about what it’ll be like to play against his former teammate and good friend Alex Semin.

Igor’s transcript of the interview is below.

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Photo credit: dynamo.ru

It appears as if Dynamo Moscow is unbeatable with Alex Ovechkin in their line-up. The defending champions won their seventh straight game Saturday, defeating Metallurg Novokuznetsk 3-2 in front of a hometown crowd of 6469, including Ovi’s mom Tatyana and his girlfriend Maria Kirilenko.

Ovechkin tallied his 10th point of the season, receiving a secondary assist on Yury Babenko’s powerplay goal.

Video is below.

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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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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 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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Dmitri Orlov taking in his first AHL game in Hershey

Orlov took in his first ever AHL game tonight at Giant Center. (Photo by SHOE’s Kyle M.)

Since being drafted in the second round of the 2009 draft by the Capitals Dmitri Orlov has emerged as one of the top defensive prospects in Washington’s system, spurred by his solid play across the pond. Last year after Kontinental Hockey League’s Metallurg Novokuznetsk failed to qualify for the playoffs, the club decided to send him down to the Novokuznetsk Bears of the MHL, the KHL’s developmental league. After totaling only four goals and three assists in 43 KHL games, Orlov quickly found his game in the junior circuit, leading the Bears to the MHL Finals.

Orlov’s nine goals and 10 assists in the playoffs ranked him third among all skaters. He was awarded several top honors including the Davydov trophy as the MHL Playoff MVP and was also named the best defenseman of the MHL Finals and Semifinals.

Dima — as some fans know him — followed up his successful 2009-10 with two goals and 10 assists for Metallurg in 2010-11. Orlov also won a gold medal at the 2011 World Junior Championships with the U20 Russian National Team, playing on the top defensive pairing. He was named first-team all WJC along with fellow Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov.

Since Metallurg once again failed to make the playoffs this year and finished with the KHL’s worst record, Orlov and the club reached an agreement allowing him to start his professional career in the Capitals organization earlier than expected. On Saturday, he flew to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania before taking in Sunday’s Hershey Bears game against the Charlotte Checkers at Giant Center. Orlov is expected to officially sign with the Bears of the American Hockey League on Monday.

This is not Orlov’s first stint in America. He attended the Capitals 2009 and 2010 Development Camps, winning over Caps fans with his love of cupcakes in the process.

RMNB’s resident translator Igor Kleyner translated the 19 year-old Novokuznetsk native’s final interview with Metallurg before departing for the United States. Check it out below the jump.

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After having to sit through a month of KHL regular season games, RMNB finally got the matchup they’ve been waiting for Tuesday, as two of their favorite Russian Caps Prospects faced off against one another. 2009 Second Round Draft Pick Dmitri Orlov and Metallurg Novokuznetsk played 2010 First Round Draft Pick Evgeny Kuznetsov and Traktor in Chelyabinsk.

Both prospects faired well early in the game. Kuznetsov had a beautiful, primary assist (his first of the year) on the game’s opening goal scored by Alexei Tertyshny. If you take a look at the game highlights above and fast forward to the 16 second mark, you’ll see Kuz, #92, take a pass behind the net, curl multiple times (a la Michael Nylander) before handing the puck off to a charging Tertyshny. Tertyshny then skated hard towards the slot, unleashed a wrist shot that was blocked, found his own rebound in his legs and then fired a backhander past a sprawled Alexander Vyukhin. 1-0 Traktor.

However, five and a half minutes later Metallurg responded on the powerplay. Again if you refer to the above highlights around the 53 second mark, you’ll see Dmitri Orlov, #9, help bring the puck into the offensive zone. After some dump and chase, Metallurg regained possession of the puck in the corners and set up their powerplay. After multiple passes around the perimeter, Orlov found Ruslan Khasanshin down low. Khasanshin, with no other play available, passed back to Dima who decided to wind up and fire a shot from the point. Orlov’s wicked, Gonchar-esque slapshot found its way past former NHL goaltender Sebastien Caron short-side. Orlov’s first goal of the season tied the game up 1-1 and also brought some momentum back for Metallurg, who was badly outplayed in the first period.

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Dmitri Orlov Holds the MHL Playoffs MVP

On September 16th, Dmitri Orlov was awarded the Vitaly Davydov Trophy for being the MVP of last year’s MHL Playoffs. As we detailed last spring, Dima had 19 points in 17 games (10G, 9A) and lead all MHL defenseman in scoring. He even won the award despite the Novokuznetsk Bears losing in the Kharlamov Cup Finals. In a special ceremony before the Bears Home opener against the Auto Ekaterinburg, Orlov was presented the trophy in front of the team’s fans.

We here at RMNB would get all analytical and compare Orlov to the previous award-winners to find the relevance in all of this, but last year was the MHL’s first year of existence. So there goes that. But how about the trophy? Well The Davydov is unique because unlike other cups, it’s made using a special style of ceramics called Gzhel. Gzhel is a traditional style of pottery and is very popular with tourists in Moscow.

Anyways, the MHL’s official web site posted an interview with the future Cap after the trophy presentation and RMNB has it translated for you below.

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One-On-One Interview with Dmitri Orlov

dmitri-orlov-rmnb-interview

This is a language Dmitri understands. (Photo by Chris Gordon of Caps Snaps)

NOM NOM NOM. (Photo by Chris Gordon of Caps Snaps)

We’ve been fascinated by Dmitri Orlov since Fedor told us that Metallurg fans call him the Russian Bobby Orr.  As ludicrous as that title is, we can’t help but be impressed by the offensive-minded d-man called Dima.  His partner at development camp, Joe Finley, compared Dmitri to John Carlson and Mike Green, but he did point out the difficulties in communication.  Unlike Stan Galiev, Dmitri is not comfortable with English, only the universal language of cupcakes.  That’s why our pal Oksana Zolotar chatted Orlov up in the tongue of the motherland.

Follow us past the jump where we’ll learn about Dmitri’s trouble buying out his contract and overcoming his 5’10” frame.  Please note that Oksana refrains from asking Dima about Ian’s weird fixation on him.  Also, don’t forget to check out our interviews with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Stanislav Galiev if you missed them.

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