Brooks Orpik, the respected team leader and experienced veteran whose advice about avoiding late hits helped keep his rookie defense partner Christian Djoos safe on the ice, found himself “blindsided” by an unexpected hit: he had been traded before the draft to the Colorado Avalanche.
“I remember reading to my kids at 6 o’clock at night before the [draft] and got blindsided by the trade,” Orpik said in an interview with NHL.com’s Matt Kalman. “I think from the hockey standpoint I completely understood why [the Capitals] did it. From an emotional standpoint it would’ve … like I said, I probably wasn’t as prepared for it as I should’ve been because when you win, it’s kind of the last thing you’re thinking about.”
The Capitals needed to move pieces around in order to retain John Carlson, eventually signing the 28-year-old defenseman to an eight-year, $64 million contract. Orpik will be 38 when the season starts, and–despite his game-winning goal in the Stanley Cup Final–his on-ice performance has dimmed.
Capitals players will doubtless be glad to have Orpik back in the locker room. Even though he’s no longer the only player with a previous Stanley Cup championship under his belt, he is the only one who’s done it twice. Now he’s focused on a third.
“Obviously, when you’re the defending champion, it’s that much tougher,” Orpik said. “I think the one thing I learned is everyone kind of puts it in your head that you’re going to be so tired from the run, this and that. Everyone’s in such good shape now, I think you’re never as tired as you think you are. So that’s one of those things that you’ve got to kind of block out. You saw Pittsburgh won back to back (in 2016 and 2017). That’s obviously really hard to do, but you’ve got to know that the fatigue the next year isn’t any different.”
Headline photo: Bruce Bennett
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.