Brooks Orpik will join a rare fraternity tonight, becoming the 330th player to hit 1000 career NHL games.
This is a game that could have come much earlier in the season. However, Orpik missed 27 games, including the entire month of November, and only returned from long-term injured reserve for the last game of December after undergoing successful arthroscopic knee surgery. Orpik has been a staple on the third defensive unit since his return, after Christian Djoos was sidelined due to compartment syndrome and the Capitals rotated through a combination of Bowey, Jonas Siegenthaler, and Tyler Lewington.
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) January 14, 2019
Since joining the Capitals in 2014 on a five year, $25.5 million contract, Orpik has 56 points (4g, 52a) in 296 career games with Washington.
Here are some eye-popping stats from Orpik’s career, courtesy of the Capitals:
— College Hockey Inc. (@collegehockey) January 14, 2019
Orpik spoke with Mike Vogel after the Caps morning skate about some of the high points of his career, including the dominant BC Eagles teams he played for, being drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins 18th overall, and representing the United States at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 14, 2019
Around the Capitals beat, several reporters also took the time out to reflect on Orpik’s career over his 1000 games, ranging from insights from the man himself, to quotes from his teammates.
“Someone doesn’t drink beer, right? Someone doesn’t drink Coke. You try to be healthy. Maybe one day I will do the same, but everybody’s different,” Captain Alex Ovechkin said of Orpik’s ability to maintain a healthy diet and stick with it.
“[Orpik’s] meant a lot to me,” John Carlson said to the media, following Monday’s practice. “I approach the game a lot differently and learned a lot from him. I’m not the only one for sure either, but being a defenseman and knowing him just a little bit before he got here I think it was great for me and my career.”
While speaking with Chris Kuc of The Athletic, Orpik notes that he only needs to complete one more semester to receive his diploma from Boston College, but from there he’s unsure of what his future holds away from the ice.
“The last third of my career, I’ve definitely been making a lot of sacrifices in terms of health and nutrition and taking care of myself better,” Orpik told Ben Raby. “If I didn’t make those adjustments, I would have been out of the league a long time ago.”
The Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan notes that Orpik’s ability to keep all players accountable is what led to a culture change in Washington, and culminating with last season’s Stanley Cup win.
Reaching 1000 games is an incredible feat that few players ever reach, and it speaks to Orpik’s longevity as a player. Congrats, Batya!
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong
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