Since being traded by the Capitals, Dmitry Orlov has gone to another level with his play as a member of the Boston Bruins. Though he appeared in nearly twice as many games with Washington this season, the Russian blueliner had one more goal (4 to 3) and tallied just two fewer points with the Bruins (17 to 19). Orlov also earned NHL First Star of the Week honors during his first full week with his new team, earning the nickname Bobby Orr-lov from Bruins fans and media.
In a Russian language interview with TASS’s Rustam Sharafutdinov, Orlov admitted that being traded by the organization that drafted him and spent his first 11 seasons with was difficult, but playing with the Bruins, the greatest team in modern-day regular-season history, made the transition as smooth as possible.
“After the trade, I had very good statistics, and it was nice,” Orlov said to TASS and translated by Google Translate. “The most important thing was to join the team so that it would win. This was influenced by many different aspects. Of course, at first, it was hard to realize that after 11 years I was in a new team with other partners, I didn’t know anyone. There was a lot of stress with moving, flying. And it’s all good that it happened that I ended up in a good team. This helped me quickly gain confidence and finish the regular season well.”
The Capitals ended up dealing Orlov after the two sides reportedly could not come to terms on a contract extension. Orlov, 31, wanted a longer term than the Capitals were willing to give, prompting Capitals general manager to send Orlov to Boston.
“When it happened, I was in shock, as was my family and all relatives,” Orlov said. “Everyone was worried, and of course, the packing up was difficult. Then the guys came after the game, we sat with them, talked, it was still hard. The next day, when I went to pick up the [my gear], I gathered the whole team, the staff, said a speech, thanked everyone, and Garnet Hathaway also said a few words. I think that we did everything right – we said goodbye to the guys in a good way, and not just wrote to each other.”
From a distance, Orlov watched as the Capitals crumbled down the stretch as the team saw an exodus of veterans at the deadline, including Garnet Hathaway (BOS), Lars Eller (COL), Marcus Johansson (MIN), and Erik Gustafsson (TOR). The Capitals went 7-11-4 in the 22 games after sending Orlov to Boston, cratering to the eighth-worst team in the NHL. The Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins both missed the playoffs for the first time since 2005-06.
“I was very surprised by this,” Orlov said. “In fact, here you realize what a whole era it is when two teams that have always been favorites in the fight for the Stanley Cup and are the stars of the league did not make the playoffs. It will be interesting to see what will happen to these organizations next season, how it will all happen, so that they return to the previous level where they have always been.”
Orlov said that he remains in contact with his former Capitals teammates. The Caps’ Russian wives and girlfriends, including Nastya Ovechkina, flew up to Boston to watch Orlov play in a postseason game and celebrate his wife Varvara’s 30th birthday. Orlov admitted, however, that it was difficult playing his former teammates toward the end of the regular season.
“We are still in touch with the guys,” Orlov said. “Of course, some time has passed, I have adapted. It was hard to play against the ‘Washington’ emotionally, and in my head, the attitude to this was more like a training session. Since I used to constantly see these guys and train, therefore, I repeat, it was hard and exciting. It’s also good that they played in Boston, and not in Washington. Otherwise, I think it would be harder, because their fans are there, and it’s hard to be at the stadium, where I spent so many years.”
Orlov assimilated quickly with the Boston Bruins, though absorbing and learning their system took time so late in the regular season.
“There were not so many training sessions, because the game schedule is quite tight – we practically played every other day for three week,” Orlov said. “Yes, I watched the video that the coaches showed me when I got acquainted with the gaming system. I was satisfied, and I still like how the coaching staff promotes hockey, what they tell the team how to play. I was very pleasantly surprised and now I understand why they played very well all season.”
The Capitals’ losing season and not winning a playoff series since 2018 did take its toll on Orlov, though.
“I am happy that now I get great pleasure from hockey,” Orlov said.
“Emotionally, I am grateful for my years in Washington, and most importantly, we won the Stanley Cup there. Yes, the guys changed, but still the backbone was (the same). It was my second home, and it’s always hard to realize when you leave. But now I have a new chapter in my life, and I try to focus on this and not think about what will be in the future and what was in the past. I have a goal and I try to live like that.”
He added, “It’s nice to be in a team like Boston, and it’s good that I was traded to such a strong club. I appreciate it and try to go out and give my best in every game, as if it were my last game.”
RMNB is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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