Earlier today, I took over the CSN MidAtlantic Capitals Twitter account and answered your questions. But 140 characters per topic were not enough. So here’s an expanded version of the Penn Quarter Sports Tavern Q&A:
@CSNCapitals Concerned about Orlov's supposedly great role given his defensive liabilities. Should I be?— DMVSPORTSDUDE (@WshSportsDude) October 14, 2016
I hear you. Sometimes his play can be feast or famine. But at the WC, I saw the proverbial light go on. It's there. Needs more time to grow. https://t.co/kDtWZqyMDj— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) October 14, 2016
My gut feeling is that Orlov is primed to take the next step in his development. At the World Cup of Hockey, the 25-year-old was often Team Russia’s best defenseman while playing a lot of minutes. He’s going to get that same opportunity here in Washington, where he's opened the season in the top-four, skating alongside John Carlson.
On Thursday in Pittsburgh, Orlov lived up to his reputation for being a "high-event player." Because there were definitely events happening when he was on the ice. There was a lot of good. But there were a couple of head-scratching moments, too, where you could almost see him over thinking things. Overall, though, I thought it was a solid night for Orlov in a new role. He played 19:59—up nearly four minutes from his average a year ago.
Look, there are going to be some growing pains as Orlov's role expands. But it seems to me that the coaching staff is committed to letting him figure it out. Whether that happens or not is now up to Orlov.
The PP wasn't great vs. Pens, going 0-3 w/ just a couple of shots. But I don't think changing personnel (who bring diff. things) is answer. https://t.co/YczJdhiRJA— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) October 14, 2016
After a power play performance like Thursday's, it’s understandable to want to see a changes in personnel. That said, I think it’s too early to make any adjustments. Remember, the Penguins had the fourth-best penalty kill in the league last year (one spot behind the Caps.) If one off game becomes a stretch of bad games, then we can talk about moving some folks around.
@CSNCapitals Obviously the fans were very disappointed by the loss - how was the team's mood afer the game?— EmptyMaybe (@EmptyMaybe) October 14, 2016
The room was disappointed but not down. It was Game 1, on road vs. defending champs. Rallied in 3rd, got a point in a tough building. https://t.co/mPXFilR1Ve— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) October 14, 2016
As I said in my answer on Twitter, the room was definitely disappointed but it was far from crushed. Sure, the Penguins didn’t have captain Sidney Crosby. But it still was opening night in a hostile, jacked up building against Evgeni Malkin and the defending Stanley Cup champions. Andre Burakovsky actually had a pretty funny comment when I asked him how he digested the loss, saying, “We did a lot of good stuff out there. We still have a lot of stuff to work on. Everyone was kind of a little bit rusty in the first game. We’re not going to go home and cry now…the shootout is 50-50.” Coach Barry Trotz echoed those sentiments, adding, “It’s a process. We got a well-earned point on the road. We came back after being down after two. It’s hard to come back in this league.” Sounds like the right tone to me.
@CSNCapitals Why are you so high on the Islanders?— JJ Regan (@JJReganNBCS) October 14, 2016
Chimmer's on the 1st line, baby! Seriously, tho, I like Tavares. And Hamonic, Leddy and Boychuk on D. Halak in net. Cizikas' line is tough. https://t.co/qb4fcHF0HQ— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) October 14, 2016
I don’t usually entertain questions from co-workers. Especially those who could simply walk over to my desk and ask me directly. However…given the fact that the Caps host the Islanders in their home opener Saturday night, I decided to oblige J.J. And, once again, I’ll say it: I like the Islanders. They’ve made the playoffs three of the past four years and, it seems to me, are ready to break through. I like their coach (Jack Capuano), their captain (John Tavares) and, most important, a defense that features Travis Hamonic, Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk. Losing Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo hurts. Andrew Ladd, however, could have a big year playing alongside Tavares, who could have former Capital Jason Chimera on the right side of his line Saturday. But here’s the bottom line for me when it comes to the Isles: can Jaroslav Halak stay healthy? Because if he does, and he plays the way he did at the World Cup, watch out.
MORE CAPITALS: Caps fall to Pens in season opener