Orlov still catch­ing up to game speed

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - Ex­cerpted from wash­ing­ton­post.com/cap­i­talsin­sider

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.”

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