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Brooks Orpik's knee injury helped decision on retirement

Brooks Orpik's knee injury helped decision on retirement

One big reason Brooks Orpik decided to hang up his skates, as he announced on Tuesday, was the severity of a knee injury, which impaired him for most of the 2018-19 season.

"I knew a long time ago, to be honest with you," Orpik told reporters Tuesday afternoon. "From the time I had surgery on it was pretty evident that I wasn't gonna play another year after this."

After playing 10 games in October to start the season, Orpik was was placed on long-term injured reserve, then underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in November. 

He returned to the lineup Dec. 31 and played a total of 53 games during the regular season last year.

But despite the medical staff's best efforts, Orpik remained in pain for the duration of the season.

"I'd use the elevator at [Capital One Arena] to go up and down cause I couldn't go up and down stairs," Orpik said. "When I couldn't do that it was time to stop playing hockey I figured.

"I could just get it to a point where I could play for two and a half hours and then pay for it afterward and then try to do it all over again."

Orpik's dealt with a multitude of injuries during his career in Washington. During the Stanley Cup Final against the Vegas Golden Knights, Orpik lost part of his pinkie finger after a brutal slash courtesy of Erik Haula. He also dealt with an infection in his leg during the Caps 2017 playoff run, which he acquired after blocking a shot.

During his tenure with the Penguins, Orpik suffered a broken finger in 2011 and was carted off the ice in 2013 after being pulled down and punched by then Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton.

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Caps beat Ducks in game dominated by fisticuffs and physical play

Caps beat Ducks in game dominated by fisticuffs and physical play

WASHINGTON -- A huge fight in the second that resulted in the ejection of Garnet Hathway stole all the attention from Monday's game between the Capitals and Anaheim. On the scoresheet and in the standings, however, it will still count as two points as the Caps defeated the Ducks with little trouble, 5-2.

Here's how the Caps won.

Panik's first goal

Coming into Monday's contest, Richard Panik had zero points in his first 12 games as a Cap. He finally got the monkey off his back on Monday 50 seconds into the game.

The third line had a dominant shift early in the game, keeping possession with strong forecheck work and cycling the puck. Travis Boyd, playing in his second game after getting recalled from Hershey, took a pass and found Panik from behind the net. Panik had room and fired a wrist shot to the opposite corner, beating John Gibson for his first of the year.

Panik has played well since returning from LTIR but has been robbed by goalies like Carter Hart, Cary Price, and Jaroslav Halak. That first one must feel like a huge relief. 

Kuznetsov fakes on the power play

The Caps had only one opportunity on the power play Monday, but took advantage thanks to an epic fake by Evgeny Kuznetsov. John Carlson fed Kuznetsov near the blue line and he inched his way towards the net. He got to the top of the faceoff circle, lifted his leg and looked like he was about to wrist one on net. That's what I thought, that's what Gibson thought, that's what the penalty killers thought. Instead, Kuznetsov fed Alex Ovechkin in the office, giving him an empty net to shoot on.

Give Ovechkin an open net from the office and he's going to finish that play.

Stephenson scores before all hell breaks loose

Just when things were getting crazy, Chandler Stephenson took a pass from Hathaway and fired a wrister from the high-slot to beat Gibson. Except no one noticed. Right before the pass, Brendan Leipisic crushed Derek Grant at the goal line and it was on. It was not even clear if the goal counted until the players were finally separated several minutes later. When it stood, the score was 3-0 and the game was over because, at that point, both teams were focused on all the extracurriculars.

A goal and a goal washed out

Jakub Vrana added an exclamation point in the third period to make the score 4-0. Anaheim also had a goal washed out as Rickard Rakell was called for incidental contact for clipping Holtby in the shoulder, spinning him before the shot was fired. Anaheim mustered a minor comeback bid in the third, but Vrana's goal and the Ducks' no-goal made the lead insurmountable.

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Capitals, Ducks brawl as Washington extends lead late in second period

Capitals, Ducks brawl as Washington extends lead late in second period

Drop your gloves and toss those helmets!

The first good fight of the Capitals season has graced Capital One Arena Monday night as Washington hosted the Anaheim Ducks. Brendan Leipsic was one of the main instigators after some aggression boiled over from the previous faceoff. 

Thankfully for Capitals fans, Chandler Stephenson calmly finished in front of the goal to extend the lead to 3-0 while the Ducks were too busy fighting in the corner. 

A few of the Ducks defenders teamed up on Leipsic following his vicious hip-check away from the action. While Stephenson cashed in, other Caps came to Leipsic's defense. 

Garnet Hathaway was assessed a match penalty for the fight's only ejection, most likely because he spit at an Anaheim player. There were 11 total penalties given to five different players. 

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