It’s been an offseason of arrivals and departures for the Washington Capitals. In a recent interview with MatchTV, Capitals’ defenseman Dmitry Orlov spoke for the first time about the arrival of new head coach Peter Laviolette and assistant coach Kevin McCarthy, the departure of Braden Holtby and the arrival of Henrik Lundqvist.
In the professional sports world, players are often the last to find out about organizational changes. Orlov said he found out about the hiring of Peter Laviolette from the news, but added that it was standard.
“The players are not notified in any way. I just saw it on the news. And then maybe you’ll get a text message from your new coach. Or he will call you, as I had (from Laviolette). Laviolette wrote to me that he could not get through. He wanted to talk to me to get to know me.”
Orlov has since spoken to Laviolette and has also spoke with the Capitals new defensive coach, Kevin McCarthy.
“I also spoke with the new defensive coach. He expressed his opinion about me. I told him how I see our defensive play. We agreed on the hope that we will soon find out when the season starts. And we’ll meet, get to know each other personally.”
Orlov has nothing but respect for longtime Capitals netminder Braden Holtby, but also understands that his departure was a business decision.
“Holtby played for the Capitals for a long time, with him the team was at a high level. We won the Stanley Cup with him, and this is largely thanks to Braden. Yes, he did not start the playoffs. But he played phenomenally and deserves every respect.
“But there is a problem with the salary cap, and that was the main reason why Holtby left the team. He signed with the Canucks, and that happens in hockey. Nothing can be done about it. Braden has a new page in his life now.”
Orlov also understands that it is a new era for the Capitals as well.
“Washington has a similar new page. We have signed the experienced and famous goalkeeper Henrik Lundqvist. I think he has not played enough yet, is hungry for victories, wants to win the Stanley Cup. And it will be a great experience for Ilya Samsonov. Everyone will benefit from this.
“I myself have not met Henrik yet. I have never played with him. But it is very interesting to talk to him. Lundqvist is a legend in our sport. Both an interesting person and an experienced player for our team.”
Switching gears, Orlov was asked about a particular journalist’s report that the Capitals may have lacked focus and partied too much when sequestered inside the bubble in Toronto during the 2020 NHL playoffs.
“If we talk about all the teams, then there were days off, and the guys could afford to rest. But I will not say that everything was as bad there as this journalist described.
“Everyone has their own opinion, and everyone sees the situation differently. I will say that we went to the games with the desire to fight. We tried and got together. Yes, it didn’t work out. But it wasn’t like we were in a summer resort and just hanging out on vacation.”
As the interview concluded, Orlov was asked about attending Alex Ovechkin’s 35th birthday party, held in his hometown of Moscow for the first time in many years due to the delayed start of the 2020-21 season. He noted that it’s difficult buying a gift for a person who has everything.
“When a person has everything, it’s hard to come up with a gift. But this is secondary. The main thing is to come to his birthday and be happy for Sasha, that he is doing well in life. That he has now celebrated his birthday in Moscow, and this has not been possible for many years before. It is important to come to his birthday, to appreciate friendship and such moments that will remain in your memory for a lifetime.”
By Jon Sorensen