The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced that Dmitry Orlov has been suspended two games for kneeing Winnipeg Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers.
Orlov was not penalized for the hit during the game, but Ehlers ended up injured on the play and needed help getting off the ice. After the Capitals’ 4-3 overtime victory, Jets’ head coach Dave Lowry revealed Ehlers would miss time due to the lower-body injury.
Orlov learned Wednesday morning that he’d have a hearing with Player Safety.
The Department of Player Safety explained in the video that Orlov’s hit was deemed suspendable due to the main and sole force of the “blow” being to Ehlers’ knee and due to the fact that they do not deem Ehlers to have made an “exceptionally sharp or sudden movement” before the contact was made.
Via the narrator in the Player Safety video:
As the video shows, the puck rims around the boards behind the Capitals net where it is eventually picked up by Ehlers. He moves down the wall as Orlov approaches in a good defensive position. Ehlers moves the puck to a teammate and attempts to head to the net as a scoring threat. As he does so, Orlov turns his leg and extends his knee outward, driving his knee into Ehlers’ knee and causing an injury. This is kneeing.
It is important to note that while Ehlers is attempting to move around Orlov on this play, this is not a case where an exceptionally sharp or sudden movement by a player receiving a hit turns a potential full body check into leg on leg contact.
The two players are moving slowly enough that Orlov has time to recognize that Ehlers is changing position and he responds to this by thrusting his arms and knee out wider to attempt to get a piece of Ehlers. While this is a common response from defensemen, on this play the only contact Orlov is able to make is direct and forceful knee to knee contact. If Orlov wants to initiate contact on this play he must ensure he is able to make more substantial upper body contact rather than having the force of the blow concentrated on his opponent’s knee.
The suspension will force Orlov to miss games against the Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators. He will first be eligible to return to the Capitals on January 24 against the Vegas Golden Knights. He will also forfeit $51,000 salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
In May 2021, Orlov received a double minor but avoided any supplemental discipline after leaving his feet to deliver a check to the Bruins’ Kevan Miller in open ice. The hit sent Miller to the hospital.
The Capitals will already be without top-pairing defenseman John Carlson for Thursday’s game against the Boston Bruins due to COVID protocol.
From the NHL:
Capitals’ Orlov Suspended Two Games for Kneeing
NEW YORK (Jan. 19, 2022) – Washington Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov has been suspended for two games, without pay, for kneeing Winnipeg Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers during NHL Game No. 695 in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Jan. 18, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.
The incident occurred at 13:17 of the third period.
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Orlov will forfeit $51,000.00. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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