By Ian Oland
Beyond making up for lost time with his family, Brooks Orpik wasn’t sure what he wanted to do next after retiring from the NHL.
Monday that question was answered. Orpik was named to the Capitals’ Player Development Department where he will work with defensive prospects primarily with the Hershey Bears. The role seems similar to the one that Olie Kolzig has in the organization.
“As a member of our team, Brooks was a tremendous leader and a great role model for our young players,” Capitals GM Brian MacLellan said in a release. “We are excited to be able to bring him back in this new role. We feel he will be a great resource for our hockey staff and our prospects.”
Orpik is currently working with prospects at the Capitals’ rookie tournament in Nashville.
Brooks Orpik will be assisting the young defenders. Huge asset for these kids. Orpik is here in Nashville and sounds like we will be seeing plenty of him in Hershey this year. https://t.co/nC59hJHNEF
— Zack Fisch (@zackfisch) September 9, 2019
The longtime veteran retired from the NHL in June after a midseason knee surgery left him unable to walk up stairs.
“I’d use the elevator at Verizon to go up and down because I couldn’t go up and down the stairs,” Orpik said then. “When I couldn’t do that, it was probably time to stop playing hockey. It was at a point where I could play for two and a half hours and pay for it afterward and try to do it all over again.”
Despite Orpik’s physical struggles, he played in virtually every game down the stretch.
“He’s a professional in every meaning of the word,” Capitals head coach Todd Reirden said. “That just is another part of the lore of who and what Brooks Orpik is and will continue to be in whatever he decides to do with his life.”
Originally, when asked if he wanted to be a coach during his retirement press conference, Orpik said no despite many, including Reirden, believing he’d be a natural.
“Not right now. With coaching it’s the exact same schedule plus more hours so that’s something that’s important to me right now,” Orpik said. “I’ve got two young girls that I think I’ve missed out on a lot of stuff over the years so moving forward, something that allows me to travel less and be around them more.”
The player development deal seems to be a happy medium of allowing Orpik to share his knowledge while still having a flexible schedule with his family.
Welcome back, Brooks!
Capitals Name Brooks Orpik to Player Development Department
Former Capitals Defenseman and Two-Time Stanley Cup Champion Will Work Closely with Defensive Prospects
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have named Brooks Orpik to the Player Development Department, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.
In his new role, Orpik will assist and work closely with defensive prospects in the organization, primarily with the Hershey Bears (AHL).
The former Capitals defenseman and two-time Stanley Cup champion announced his retirement from the National Hockey League on June 25 after 15 seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington.
Orpik was selected by Pittsburgh in the first round, 18th overall, in the 2000 NHL Draft. The San Francisco native registered 132 points (13g, 119a) in 703 career games with the Pittsburgh and 62 points (5g, 57a) in 332 career games with Washington.
On Jan. 14, 2019, and at 38 years and 110 days old, Orpik became the 14th oldest player to play in his 1,000th career game. Since his NHL debut on Dec. 10, 2002, Orpik ranks first among defensemen in hits (3,148) and third in blocked shots (1,914). Orpik’s hit total ranks third among players with 1,000 career games (Zdeno Chara: 3,724; Dustin Brown: 3,369) since 1997-98. In addition to his 1,035 NHL career regular-season games, Orpik appeared in 156 postseason games. Orpik recorded 26 career postseason points (4g, 22a), including an overtime game-winning goal in the 2013 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the New York Islanders, the game-winning goal in Game 2 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final against the Vegas Golden Knights and an overtime game-winning goal in Game 2 of the 2019 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal against the Carolina Hurricanes. He is one of 20 American-born defensemen to win multiple Stanley Cups. Additionally, Orpik holds the distinction of recording the most hits (611) in playoff history.
Orpik has represented the United States at the Winter Olympics twice (2010, 2014), the World Championships (2006) and the World Junior Championships (2000). Orpik earned a silver medal with Team USA at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. He played three seasons at Boston College from 1998-01 and helped the Eagles win the NCAA Division I National Championship in 2001.
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