Former Washington Capitals defenseman Richard “Brooks” Orpik (middle named after the late Team USA head coach, Herb Brooks) is currently spending his retirement summers with his family in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. But during the hockey season, Orpik continues his role as a player development coach for the Capitals.
Orpik told the Cam And Strick Podcast this week that he was planning on taking a full year off following the announcement of his retirement in June of 2019, but Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan immediately asked him if he was interested in a player development role with the team. Orpik said, in hindsight, he was very fortunate for the offer.
The podcast crew noted that they felt MacLellan was a bit of an unknown to the rest of the hockey world, compared to other general managers in the league, and asked Orpik to describe him.
”He’s just a huge guy (6’-3”). He’s pretty quiet at first, and then once you get to know him, he’s actually an awesome guy, really funny. A lot of the younger players, I think are very intimidated by him. Because, like I said, if you don’t know him…A lot of the younger guys are like ‘he’s scary’, he’s a big guy, doesn’t talk a ton’. He talks. Just go talk to him. I think a lot of younger guys are nervous to talk to him.”
Orpik’s first year of retirement was overloaded because he was also finishing up his college degree and coaching at his alma mater, Boston College. As a result, following graduation he decided to reduce his commitments and focus just on his role with the Capitals as best he could and eventually discontinued his coaching role at Boston College.
Orpik had the honor of winning a Stanley Cup with both Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. He said it was a lot different feeling. Crosby won three and won his first pretty early, while Ovechkin’s came at the end of a very long buildup.“Maybe that’s why the partying was that hard in Washington.”
Orpik said he partied with everyone on the Capitals after winning the Stanley Cup in 2018.
”It was everybody. It was such an awesome group. But I will say, we got to about day nine or 10, and I think everybody was on the same page. Alright, I’ll pay you whatever I got to do to get out of this city, now. My body is literally going to shut down.”
Orpik is still on a Capitals group chat, where they discussed the five-year anniversary this past week. “We still got an awesome group chat.”
Orpik recalled the game 5 series-clincher in Vegas. “We were down going into the third period and that may have come up in between periods. Like ‘hey guys, let’s not screw this one up, because we are staying overnight here.’”
Orpik said “I think only two guys slept and they were the only two guys that were late for the plane.”
FULL INTERVIEW [begins at 1:45:00]