Dmitri Orlov: “I have to work on my confidence” (Photo © Russianprospects.com)
Dmitri Orlov is a 18 years old defenseman who has been drafted by the Washington Capitals in the latest NHL Entry Draft, with the 55th overall pick. In this translated interview with Metallurg’s press attache Sergei Druzhinin, he talked about his feelings about being a first team player, about his ability to play both forward and defense and about the Russian Junior National Team.
Dmitri, do you feel a full fledged member of the first team now?
Yes. Now I play with the first team, I get a lot of ice time and I try to be helpful for the team. The coaches trust me and I thank them for that. And off the ice I’ve got good ties with all my team mates, we have a very good group.
Do you remember your first match with the first team? Did you have special feelings?
Of course I remember it. In my very first match I wasn’t iced, but even then I was nervous. Especially when they said me “gear up!” (smiles). But when later I was actually iced I adjusted pretty quickly and the nervousness went away.
Now in Metallurg plays your usually line mate in Metallurg-91 Anton Kapotov. What do you think, would it be good for you to play again on the same pair or would it better to play with more experienced players?
In any case it’s up to the coaches. By the way, we already played one game together with the main team. During a penalty killing.
Who is the defenseman, with whom it was more comfortable to you to play with?
Probably the same Anton Kapotov. We played in the same pair since the childhood and we always easily understood each other. If I was running forward, I knew that he was covering back in the zone. And he too. When they split us in different lines, I wasn’t understanding what happened on the ice (smiles).
Do you have an “ideal” defenseman, a player that you would like to look the same?
I can’t name one… I like offensive defensemen, but nowadays there aren’t many of them in Russia. It’s possible to name, for example, Kirill Koltsov. In the tapes that they gave me to watch I liked a lot Bobby Orr’s game.
In some games of this season the coaches iced you as center. And in such role you played matches both for the first and second team. What do you prefer, playing as defenseman or as center?
As defenseman. In the child school they iced me as center and I played two years as a forward. But then I was played as defenseman and I think that’s the position in which I play best.
I ask you as a defenseman, which forwards group is the hardest one to face in the KHL?
It was very tough facing Salavat Yulaev’s forwards. They have such a great group of forwards, there is a lot of individual quality within it. Dealing with them isn’t easy.
In the match against Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod you scored a goal after a coast-to-coast. Did you ever scored such a goal earlier in your career?
I’ve scored something similar in children hockey. But of course, it was very pleasant scoring such an important goal against Torpedo an in front of my spectators.
What do you think, which part of the game you need to work on?
First of all on my confidence. Good players hit the ice with lots of confidence. And if you go to a game without it, you’re going to do errors.
Soon the junior national team will play in the WJC. How would you compare it to the U18 team, in which you played last year? And how would you judge their chances?
First of all I’ll say that I really hope to be called into the WJC roster and in that case I’ll try really hard to help my team winning the gold medal. This national team is better because there are players one year older, 1990-born. And furthermore the players who now are in North America will join. They are already used to play in the smaller ice surface. Regarding the chances, well, there are always chances. Yes, usually the favorites are the Canadians, Sweden also has a good team, but we have to fight for the gold medal anyway.
Is it hard to constantly depart to join the national team midway through the season?
Of course it’s hard to move from one plane to another. In the club you have a regime and a schedule, with the national team you have another one. And also the trips. But now I’m used to it and thus it’s easier.
The last question is a traditional one. What do you want to wish to Novokuznetsk fans?
I hope that our fans will support out team. More happiness and less angry shouts form the stands. But I want to thank our fans for coming to the game and for the support.