The Washington Post

Dmitry Orlov to make NHL debut with Capitals against Phoenix

Washington recalled Dmitry Orlov with the hope that he would be able to bring a spark to the defense, and the highly-touted prospect will make his NHL debut tonight at Verizon Center against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Based on comments by Coach Bruce Boudreau, Orlov will likely be paired with Karl Alzner in an effort to make his first game as simple as possible.

“You look at different pairings, who’s it gonna be? Who’s best suited for him? Who’s maybe your best defensive player?” Boudreau said. “He can sometimes be a little too creative in the offensive zone — you need somebody that you know is not going to be that aggressive in the offensive zone. So I mean, [someone] very responsible. That’s what we were looking for today.”

Alzner also sounded as though he expected to line up with Orlov. He understands the excitement Orlov will feel in making his first appearance in an NHL regular season game and believes he should be able to help ease the transition. As for a potential communication barrier, Alzner isn’t worried.

“I’ve said a few things to him; I think he understands for the most part,” Alzner said. “Hockey language is pretty common no matter where you are. He understands the pass it or work hard and things like that. I think he’s going to be fine. All he needs to know is try to recognize my voice and I’ll try and direct him from there and I’ll recognize his, so we should be OK.”

When Orlov was initially recalled it was unclear how the Capitals fit him into their complicated salary-cap payroll, but on Monday CapGeek reported that there was space for Orlov because of unattainable bonuses on his and Cody Eakin’s contracts.

Both have unattainable games-played performance bonuses – Orlov in the amount of $110,000 and Eakin $55,000 – that allowed the Capitals to remain compliant with the NHL’s salary cap after recalling the 20-year-old Russian blueliner. According to CapGeek, Washington now has $329,133 in space under the salary cap to spend.

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