Forget all the saves, goals and perfect passing plays, because Dmitry Orlov has the greatest highlight of the early season after delivering a perfect hip check on Matt Duchene.
Washington Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov is known more for his offensive acumen than his ability to throw his weight around on the back end, but it’s going to be hard to forget Orlov’s physical play after he threw what will likely stand up as the greatest hit of the season.
Mere minutes into Washington’s meeting with the Colorado Avalanche Tuesday, Duchene broke into the Capitals zone while on the penalty kill. Having no room to break to the outside, the Avalanche winger decided his best play would be to try and work back to the inside on Orlov, but Duchene’s attempt at a using his speed to move around Orlov ended with the best clip of the early season.
As Duchene cut to the middle, Orlov dropped his shoulder, lowered his body and launched Duchene into the air, end-over-end. Duchene’s rotation was such that he literally came close to landing back on his skates. This is as must-see as hits get:
The timing from Orlov on the hit couldn’t have been more perfect, especially as he actually has to put on the breaks and swing his body around in order to send Duchene flying. It’s rare to see a player get that much air on any hit, let alone a near-perfect hip check.
Beyond the fact that Duchene did a full flip, the best thing about the check is that Duchene didn’t end up hurt on the play. Because for as great as Orlov’s timing was, a 200-pound man flipping through the air and crashing to the ice isn’t exactly a natural motion.
As one might expect, though, Duchene wasn’t exactly the hit’s biggest fan post-game. He said that he didn’t want to comment on the hit because he’d “say something that might get (him) in trouble,” according to NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti.
Capitals coach Barry Trotz said what we were all thinking, though.
“Good to see that [Duchene] didn’t get hurt or anything like that,” Trotz said, according to CSN’s Tarik El-Bashir. “But that’s a classic one.”
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