Brooks Orpik draws the ire from fans across all 31 NHL cities. Yes, even Washington.
The defenseman is constantly under scrutiny for his jaw-dropping hits and sometimes questionable stick play. Washington’s fans even poke at him for his lack of speed in today’s game (while earning a hefty paycheck), but there is one thing that Capitals fans cannot deny: the man can throw hits unlike anyone else in the league. Although the 36-year-old defender is on the latter stages of his career, he can still dish out punishment.
Take the following video, for example. Orpik, then with the Pittsburgh Penguins, was a wrecking ball on the ice, making the Detroit Red Wings pay for something as little as entering the offensive zone. Orpik’s shoulders found their way to four hits in a short span of time, making Detroit think twice of entering the zone on his side of the ice.
In recent times, the Stanley Cup Final has seen less physical play as skaters are concerned with awarding power plays to their opponents at inopportune times. Orpik shows us here, though, that a physical presence is necessary on defense as long as the defenseman can keep his play clean. Orpik did just that in this sequence.
Orpik has just two years left remaining on a five-year, $27.5 million contract he signed in 2014. He scored 14 points and registered a plus-32 rating in 79 games for the Capitals last season. The hit parade has not ended for Orpik, though, as the San Francisco native calculated 181 hits, ranking 32nd in the entire league. That is an average of 2.29 hits per game — just a hair off his 3.05 hits per game from the season prior.
Video courtesy Hockey Vines on Facebook
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