Where Is He Now?
Boston College alum and two-time Stanley Cup Champion Brooks Orpik announced his retirement almost a year ago today. While not the most offensive-minded defenseman in the league, players and staff all regard him as a leader and teacher. The Capitals’ front office believed in his coaching abilities enough to make him a player development coach immediately following his announcement.
Earlier this week, Washington’s assistant coach Reid Cashman accepted a position as Head Coach at Dartmouth College. This leaves the door wide open for someone the caliber of Orpik to step up within the organization. In the past, he has expressed how much he enjoyed DC – the city and the team.
An All-Around Asset
The thing about Orpik that made him a key player on the back end for his 18-year career was not his ability to produce points. His value couldn’t always be put on the scorecard. He was all grit. He could throw a hit, stand up for his team, and was never afraid of getting his hands dirty. His career penalty minutes will attest to that. He was also known to do well under pressure, making him an obvious choice for penalty kills.
During his time as a Capital, his teammates called him Batya, a Russian word meaning “father.” This is partially because he was the oldest on the team in 2018, but also speaks to his personality and how he conducted himself. He was the most respected player on the team, even above Alex Ovechkin. Head Coach Todd Reirden said he was, “Professional in every sense of the word.” (Source: RussianMachineNeverBreaks) Reirden also noted that he thought Orpik would be a natural at coaching.
Ultimately the decision lies within the Orpik house, as he originally said he wanted to spend more time with his wife and two daughters. His position as a development coach was a happy medium between that and hockey, as he spent most of this season in Hershey with the defensive prospects. All I can say is that the Capitals should at least extend an offer.
-Heidi Thomas (@DamselOnDrums)
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