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Brooks Orpik and Others Talk About Brooks Orpik

The people closest to the Capitals defenseman, including Brooks Orpik himself, discuss the impact the 38-year-old alternate captain has had on the league.

Washington Capitals v Arizona Coyotes Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Japers’ Rink reporter Jason Rogers spent much of the past two weeks talking to Washington Capitals players, coaches, and media personalities as part of a feature profiling defenseman Brooks Orpik for Washington City Paper.

You should check it out here.

But as happens with every good newspaper piece, some quotes and stories just don’t make it into the finished product, and end up on the cutting room floor.

Here are some of the best of those observations by Orpik and about him, from the people who know him best.

Brooks Orpik, on the difference between the pranks in the Capitals’ locker room and other places he’s been:

“I think the younger guys are obviously the guys who fall victim to pranks and whatnot the most. That’s just kind of the way it works. With the group we have, nothing’s ever done maliciously. I’ve seen other teams where guys are doing it because they really don’t like each other and are going at each other. That’s not the case here.”

Orpik, on some automotive hijinks he witnessed in Pittsburgh:

“When I played in Pittsburgh, guys would go after each other’s cars a lot. That’s kind of off limits here, I guess, for whatever reason. When I played with Ryan Whitney, he came out to the arena parking lot after a game and someone had taken his car down to the Marriott and valeted it.

It cost him 20 bucks to get his car back.”

Pittsburgh Penguins v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Sean Rudyk/Getty Images

Madison Bowey, on Orpik’s sense of humor:

“He’s older soul.”

Al Koken, on Orpik’s long shadow and big influence on the Penguins locker room:

“When Orpik first came in here [to Washington], I heard that guys like Olli Maatta and other rookies used to follow him around the weight room in Pittsburgh.

It was, ‘Whatever Brooks did, I have to do.’ If Brooks was going to work out on a piece of equipment, they were going to work out on that piece of equipment.

He’s the ultimate lead by example guy.”

Koken, on his frustrations with analytics proponents and their criticisms of Orpik:

“I’m not just saying this out of nowhere. I’m telling you what the actual players and coaches have told me: Brooks Orpik is a huge part of why they won the Stanley Cup.

I heard that in Pittsburgh. I heard that here from [former Capitals head coach] Barry Trotz.

This is something that was a factor in the success of one championship team. Then, he came here, and was noted as a factor in the success of another championship team.

That’s not a coincidence.”

NHL: New York Islanders at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Orpik, on judging NHL players by their on-ice playing style:

“It’s always the guys that you hate playing against the most, and that you probably don’t think are good guys, that you meet and they turn out to be some of the better guys in the league, some of the nicer guys you’ve met.”

Koken, on Orpik’s friendship with 23-year-old Bowey:

“I can’t tell you the number of times I saw Orpik and Bowey walk out of the weight room together. I don’t have the privilege to go into that room, but you’ll never convince me that they just happened to be there at the same time.”

Orpik was the Washington Capitals’ 2018 nominee for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, recognizing “the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community."