Two-time Stanley Cup Champion Brooks Orpik played his 1,000th NHL game earlier this week. Hardly more than one of every hundred NHLers ever hit that milestone; the ones who do are widely known and universally admired. Orpik, who scored the winning goal in Game Two of the Stanley Cup Final, is no exception.
Just before Friday’s game against the New York Islanders, the Capitals played a congratulatory video packed with people who’ve known and admired Orpik over his 16-year-career. Also, Eddie Vedder.
The video is powerful. Orpik might have cried. You might also.
A fitting salute to an amazing player and even better person.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 19, 2019
The video begins with baby-faced Brooks and scenes from the 2000 entry draft and his first NHL game with the Pittsburgh Penguins. We’re then treated to a congratulation from Sidney Crosby, who “preferred the [games with Orpik] more than the ones against” him. Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury’s smiling face follows, calling Orpik’s accomplishment awesome, then Deryk Engelland, who says he models his own game after Orpik’s. Marc Bergevin and Jay Beagle wish Orpik well next, followed by, naturally, obviously, Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder.
Boston College coach and legend Jerry York and Barry Trotz each cut promos for Orpik as we’re treated to clips of him in college and then at the Winter Classic. The next segment is a series of crushing hits leveled by Orpik on various unfortunates across the league. I don’t know who the Avs fella Orpik hits in one clip is, but I’m sure he’s dead now.
Next up, Caps head coach Todd Reirden calls his time with Orpik a privilege, and Tom Wilson says he admires how hard “Orpy” plays. TJ Oshie lauds Orpik’s physicality every night, followed by a not-at-all robotic congratulation from NIcklas Backstrom. Goalie Braden Holtby says it’s been an “absolute treasure” to be Orpik’s teammate and friend, followed by John Carlson crediting Orpik’s work ethic and dedication. Matt Niskanen, with whom Orpik has played for eight years, gives a “way to go”, and then we’re left with Alex Ovechkin’s infectious smile. “Let’s do it again, man,” is Ovi’s message to the veteran defenseman.
The video returns to young Orpik, who offers a prescient quote. “I think as you get older,” Orpik says, “you realize more and more what it takes and how hard it actually is. There’s very few guys who actually get the opportunity to do it.”
The video closes with Harlow and Brooklyn, Orpik’s daughters, congratulating their ba.
The whole proceedings might have had Orpik a bit choked up. You decide:
Caps president Dick Patrick and NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly presented Orpik, along with his wife Erin and two daughters, with a commemorative silver stick.
Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin then joined the group Brooks to present their gift. The Caps players all chipped in to gift the Orpik family a trip to Canyon Point, Utah.
Meanwhile, as of tonight, Orpik has played in twenty games this season, meaning he earns an extra $250,000 as a performance bonus. Not a bad night for a legend.
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