The Washington Capitals will be without another one of their top-4 defenseman for their next couple of games, as Dmitry Orlov received a two-game suspension for kneeing Nikolaj Ehlers in Tuesday’s win over the Winnipeg Jets.
Toward the end of the third period, Ehlers was moving the puck in the Capitals zone when Orlov went in for a hit. The Russian ended up colliding knee-on-knee with Ehlers, sending the Jets forward down to the ice. An athletic trainer helped Ehlers off the ice, and there was no call on the play.
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Postgame, head coach Dave Lowry said postgame that Ehlers would not play in Winnipeg’s next game.
This is just Orlov’s second suspension of his 605-game career. Here’s why it will cost him two games, per the NHL’s Department Of Player Safety. The DoPS had a hearing with the Russian blueliner on Wednesday.
“Dmitry Orlov delivered a knee-on-knee hit to Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers, causing an injury. The puck rims around the boards behind the Capitals net, where it is eventually picked up by Ehlers,” the video explained. “He moves down the wall as Orlov approaches in a good defensive position. Ehlers moves the puck to a teammate and attempts to head to the net as a scoring threat. As he does so, Orlov turns his leg and extends his knee outward, driving his knee into Ehlers’ knee and causing an injury. This is kneeing.
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“It is important to note that while Ehlers is attempting to move around Orlov on this play, this is not a case where an exceptionally sharp or sudden movement by a player receiving a hit turns a potential full body check into leg-on-leg contact. The two players are moving slowly enough that Orlov has time to recognize that Ehlers is changing position and responds to this by thrusting his arms and knee out wider to attempt to get a piece of Ehlers,” the video added. “While this is a common response from defensemen, on this play, the only contact Orlov is able to make is direct and forceful knee-to-knee contact. If Orlov wants to initiate contact on this play, he must ensure he is able to make more substantial upper body contact rather than having the force of the blow concentrated on his opponent’s knee.”
Orlov also got just two games due to the fact that he has no substantial history when it comes to dangerous or illegal plays. As a result, Orlov will miss Washington’s Thursday tilt with Boston and Saturday game against Ottawa. Under the CBA, Orlov will also forfeit $51,000, which goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Not only will the Capitals be missing No. 9, but they are also without John Carlson, who remains on COVID-19 protocol. This marks the first time since 2010 that Washington will be without both Carlson and Orlov in the lineup. Both also lead all Capitals blueliners in average ice time per game.
In 38 games this season, Orlov has dished five goals and 19 points. The 30-year-old has been a fixture this season, mainly skating on the second pairing alongside Nick Jensen.