The Washington Capitals dealt Dmitry Orlov to the Boston Bruins at the trade deadline after the two parties couldn’t come to an agreement on a contract extension. National media reported that the two sides were far apart due to the term of a new deal.
But the marriage between the Capitals and Orlov may not be over after all, at least if it’s up to Orlov.
While speaking during Bruins’ Breakdown Day, Orlov said he’d like to sign with either Boston or Washington as an unrestricted free agent over the summer, but he wasn’t sure at the moment if either would be an option.
“I don’t know,” Orlov said when asked if he’d return to the Bruins. “I need to talk to (Bruins’) coaches or GM. I don’t know. Right now, (I’m) dark, what I’m going to do. I don’t know. I still don’t know what my plan is if I fly back to Washington or stay here. It’s just a lot of things. Obviously, I have to make a decision on where to be and I need to talk to my family and figure out from there.”
Orlov was asked directly on if he saw returning to the Capitals as possible.
“I don’t know. We’ll see.” He then flashed a big and perhaps exasperated (?) smile. “It’s tough, tough to… uhhh…”
He paused for a few seconds.
“Probably yeah,” Orlov said after reconsidering. “We’re going to talk to my agent. How I see, if they trade me, I don’t think it’ll work out, but we’ll see.”
Orlov’s comments about possibly returning to DC come after a highly-successful stint with the Bruins where he earned the nickname Bobby Orr-lov. The Russian rearguard was named NHL First Star of the Week during his first full week of the team. He was a point-per-game player in the postseason, tallying eight points (all assists) in seven games. He also posted two assists in Game Seven.
Despite Orlov’s gargantuan effort, Boston was upset in the first round by the Florida Panthers after posting the most wins and points in NHL regular-season history.
“I was happy how I was in Washington but then I was traded and then I came here and it was bright future,” Orlov said. “I was enjoying. I was thankful for teammates in Boston how they welcome us. It was nice, right? We all want to still play right now. It’s hard to understand we here right now. We upset. You look at the way after the game too, it’s hard to see when men cry. It’s hard to see, hard to understand what’s going on and how people give everything to win and you not get it done.”
During his time with the Bruins, Orlov conducted two Russian language interviews where it appeared he was critical of the Capitals and Peter Laviolette. Orlov said he thought Alex Alexeyev should have gotten opportunity way earlier in the year — “It took a long time to happen. I was against keeping him in reserve.” (Longtime Laviolette Guy, Matt Irwin, frequently played over Alexeyev.) Orlov also said that he was getting great pleasure from hockey again, hinting that the Capitals poor play and lack of a future was difficult to stomach.
“I [didn’t] say Washington was bad but just different,” Orlov said clarifying his remarks on Tuesday. “Enjoy hockey and it’s important. I’ve been 11 years in this league and I play in Russia as a grown up and as a kid, too. You know, you still be enjoy the hockey. It’s important. It doesn’t matter what age. You have to have that feeling in your life no matter if you’re 20 or 40 years old. It’s important.”
Since Orlov left the team, Laviolette and the Capitals parted ways. The Capitals are in the opening stages of a coaching search that could bring a younger voice inside the room.
As it stands, the Capitals could certainly use the 31-year-old Orlov back, but they already have six defensemen signed for next season, including former SHL rearguard Hardy Häman Aktell. Restricted free agent Martin Fehervary, who the Capitals are planning to bring back, would be the seventh. The Capitals don’t have much cap space unless they make a major trade or put a veteran player on LTIR.
Regardless of what happens, Orlov will have a lot to chew on when he returns to his native Russia over the summer after the Bruins’ surprise early out in the postseason.
“It shows every year how season so long, so many games, just so hard for the mental and the physical stuff,” Orlov said. “Thanks god I was able to do it and make me understand how tough it is every year when you in second round and you’re so hard on yourself. It’s tough summers. You always worry about that. You always think about what you did right, what you did wrong, what you could do better. It’s always tough to lose especially, first time, when you have a season like that when you’re traded. It was a lot of things going on.”
Screenshot: Boston Bruins
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