Brooks Orpik

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The best Capitals player to wear each jersey number: 41-60

The best Capitals player to wear each jersey number: 41-60

Say No. 8 to a Capitals fan and every one of them will know exactly who you are talking about. Some players with their play can essentially claim a number within a franchise. There have been several players who have worn the numbers 5, 8, 12 and 19 for the Caps and yet, there is only one player that comes to mind for the fans for each of those numbers. Other numbers, however, are not as obvious.

With that, let's go through the history of the Capitals and determine which player is the best to ever wear that number for the team.

Today's list will go through the numbers 41 through 60.

Check out previous lists here:

1-20
21-40

41: Jason Allison

Injuries shortened his career, but, when healthy, Allison was a very good offensive player who was only scratching the surface of his talent when he was playing in Washington before getting traded to the Boston Bruins. In 552 games he recorded 485 points.

42: Joel Ward

An undrafted free agent, Ward still managed to play 726 NHL games including four seasons with the Caps. He scored one of the most iconic goals in franchise history with his Game 7 overtime winner over the Boston Bruins in 2012.

43: Tom Wilson

After being mismanaged in the early part of his career, we are finally starting to see the offensive potential of Wilson who has scored over 20 goals and 40 points in each of the past two seasons. Plus, he is a complete wrecking ball on the ice. A player with that much physicality and that much offensive skill is a unicorn in the current NHL.

44: Brooks Orpik

Here's some trivia for you. Who scored the first game-winning goal in a Stanley Cup Final game in franchise history? Scoring may not be what Orpik is known for, but that was a big goal. Orpik was a great defensive player for a Caps' team that needed an upgrade on the blue line. Though he was clearly on the decline in the last few years he was in Washington, he was still hugely valuable for his leadership, his vision and his experience.

45: Alex Henry

Henry only played 38 games for the Caps and recorded zero points, but wracked up 80 PIMs.

46: Brian Sutherby

A first-round draft pick, Sutherby did not quite live up to that potential, but he was a decent role player for Washington for four seasons. He finished his career with 460 games and 90 points.

47: Bryan Muir

Muir scored 11 goals and 22 assists in 98 games for the Caps. In the 181 games he played for other teams in his career, he only managed five goals and 15 assists.

48: Benoit Gratton

Gratton's career lasted only 58 games over six seasons. He did manage eight points for the Caps in 22 games though which is pretty decent for a player who averaged 13:28 of ice time.

49: Stanislav Galiev

Galiev was a bit of a late-bloomer and I believe he may have had a shot in the NHL if not for the waiver wire. He played only 29 total games between the Caps and Hershey Bears in 2015-16 because Washington felt compelled to hold him on the NHL roster for fear of losing him to waivers despite the fact that he could not crack the lineup. Another full year in Hershey I think would have done wonders. By the time he went back to the AHL the following season, his heart was not in it and yet he still managed 40 points in 56 games. In 26 NHL games, Galiev scored one goal and three assists.

50: Cody Eakin

Eakin has made a career out of being a good depth player and has 586 games already at the age of 28. Unfortunately for him, he is most famous for getting kicked out of Game 7 in a playoff series with the Vegas Golden Knights against the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks would score four times on the resulting major penalty to turn a 3-0 deficit into a 4-3 lead and go on to win the game in overtime.

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51: Stephen Peat

There may be no tougher player to ever play for the Caps than Peat. Unfortunately, he has been dealing with mental health issues ever since.

52: Mike Green

Green is the only player to wear No. 52 for Washington, but even if he wasn't he still probably would be the pick here considering what he accomplished during his time with the Caps. In the "Young Guns" era, there was no more dangerous offensive defenseman in the NHL than Green who scored 31 goals and 73 points in the 2008-09 season.

53: Quintin Laing

Laing only played 76 games for the Caps and 79 games in the NHL, but mention his name to any of his teammates or any fan who watched him play and it seems like you are talking about a legend. Laing was absolutely fearless when it came to blocking shots. He even tore his spleen during a game after taking a puck to the abdomen.

54: Jason Doig

Doig did not become a regular NHL defenseman until he came to Washington where he played 120 games. In those 120 games, he scored 19 points...and 213 PIMs.

55: Sergei Gonchar

One of the best defensemen to ever play for Washington, Gonchar began his career with the Caps playing his first 10 seasons with the team. Ovechkin is the only Russian player with more points in franchise history. Gonchar was one of the best puck-moving defensemen in the NHL at a time when that type of player was not valued as highly as they should have been. He scored 144 goals and 416 total points during his time with the Caps before moving on to...other teams.

56: Chris Bourque

Son of the Hall of Famer Ray Bourque, Chris played 13 of his 51 NHL games with Washington. While his NHL career never took off, he has been a dominant AHL player with 746 points in 794 games.

57: Kyle Wilson

Wilson played 39 NHL games, two with the Caps, and scored four goals and nine assists. In those two games, he recorded two assists. He gets the nod here though because his only competition, Dean Melanson, played in nine NHL games with zero points.

58: Connor Carrick

Carrick has carved a role for himself as a depth NHL defenseman. I did not think much of his NHL prospects and yet he has lasted six seasons and 230 games.

59: Julien Brouillette

Brouillette is the only player to wear this number for the Caps and he only did so for 11 total games between 2013 and 2015, scoring two points.

60: Jose Theodore

Theodore manned the crease in Washington for two years and was dominant in the regular season, though that did not translate into the postseason. Still, Theodore put together an impressive career overall. He was so dominant in Montreal that he won both the Vezina and the Hart Trophy in 2001-02.

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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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As Brooks Orpik was scoring his game-winner, Adam Eaton homered to help the Nationals beat the Pirates

As Brooks Orpik was scoring his game-winner, Adam Eaton homered to help the Nationals beat the Pirates

Call it coincidence if you want, but what happened Saturday afternoon was truly some D.C. sports magic.

In the overtime session of the Capitals' first round playoff game against the Carolina Hurricanes, defenseman Brooks Orpik scored a rocket of a goal to give Washington a 4-3 win and put them up two games to none in the series. 

Less than three miles away at Nationals Park and moments after Orpik's goal, Adam Eaton launched a solo home run into the right-center field seats to tie the Nationals' game against the Pirates at two in the bottom of the eighth inning.

And on the very next pitch, Howie Kendrick hit a homer of his own to give the Nats the lead. 

Sean Doolittle came in for the top of the ninth and earned the save, the Nats triumphing 3-2. 

Eaton said he heard the cheers from the Nats Park crowd as the news of Orpik's game-winner trickled  into the stadium. 

“I heard that," Eaton told reporters. "That’s pretty cool. First off, congratulations to them. They’re playing some really important games. We’re still in April … which every game’s important. But hat’s off to them."

In a matter of moments, the anxieties of an entire city turned into screams of jubilation. As our very own Todd Dybas put it, the simultaneous D.C. victories were like a "sports lightning bolt from the center of town down South Capitol Street."

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