Orlov still catching up to game speed
Capitals Coach Barry Trotz has put Dmitry Orlov in five preseason games, giving the defenseman opportunities to get reacquainted with the speed and timing of hockey that he hadn’t experienced for 17 months, when he was first sidelined after a wrist surgery. So how has Orlov fared in exhibitions? It’s still a work in progress.
“I think with Dmitry, he’s still catching up in his game,” Trotz said. “I think he’s worked a lot with the coaching staff lately on just getting some reads. I think he’s trying to force some stuff a little bit too much, but it’s starting to come back. I think the more he plays, the better he’s going to get.”
Orlov said it’s “all good,” happy that he’s just playing again after a lengthy recovery. “It’s nice to feel part of the team again,” he said. He’s projected to skate alongside Nate Schmidt on the third defensive pair, and there has been some natural frustration from Orlov as the “little things” have taken time to come back.
Orlov said he watches video of his shifts, getting feedback from the coaching staff about what he could be doing better, which is usually “like everything,” he said. He and Schmidt have skated together before with the Capitals’ American Hockey League affiliate in Hershey. Both play similarly, appreciating an aggressive system that allows defensemen to be more involved in the offensive attack, though it could be problematic if both did that at the same time.
“We have a system in place that allows one guy to be in the rush, and if both guys are, we have some responsible forwards, I hope,” Schmidt said with a laugh. “That is something you’ve got to be a little conscientious about, but it’s something we’ve talked about, and when we’re on the bench, we’ve communicated a lot more with it.”
“It’s not trying to force the play and letting the game come to you,” Trotz said. “They both can get up the ice very well, and they both can defend fairly well because of their skating abilities. We want them to be part of the attack at the right time and not leaving the zone too early or lead the attack all of the time. They don’t need to do that. They need to be very consistent when they play, and they need to be a pair that you can trust.”