Love is blind, and Brooks Orpik is still a Washington Capital.
October 1, 2018 11:43 AM   Subscribe

"Boys and girls and babes, we all learned so much during the 2017–2018 NHL season. For example, I learned that chaos rules the universe, sports predictions are horoscopes but less accurate, and hockey games are won by pure, defiant, you-said-I-couldn’t-do-it spite and very little else. The meteoric rise of the Vegas Golden Knights and the triumph of the Washington Capitals reveal the true keys to hockey success. Depth at center and a hot goalie? No. You need a team that is obsessed with each other, and feels unfairly maligned by God. “Nobody believes in us but we believe in each other.” Romance, and grim vindictive gall: it’s how the ragtag Knights sailed past the West and how the cursed Caps clawed through the East. Throw in that center depth and the hot goalie, and you’ve got a Stanley Cup champion. Amid the rampant parity of the NHL, a team needs to nail it in three categories: spite, love, and I guess something to do with being good at hockey, each on a scale of 1–5. Here’s how all 31 teams stack up." Hockey podcaster Kelly Harris presents All You Need Is Spite: A Very Emotional NHL Season Preview
posted by everybody had matching towels (12 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Speaking of Brooks Orpik, the weirdest thing about him BY FAR is that every single member of the Caps roster (and several who have been reassigned to Hershey) speaks about him with trembling awe in their voices. Jakub Vrana is OBSESSED with him and 2/3 of his drunken Insta stories are about how Brooks Orpik is a “legend” or Jakub proudly wearing an Orpik jersey.

All the baby forwards talk in hushed voices about how Orpik pulled them aside before the SCF to tell them it might be their only chance and not to blow it or waste their chances. Everyone gushes about how many fruits and vegetables he crams into himself to fight the ravages of age. In one of those dumb “Q&A with Nicklas Backstrom” features, when asked which of his teammates he would want with him on a desert island, he said “Brooks” and then stammered while blushing furiously as he insisted that Brooks would be able to hunt and farm and save both their lives. Orpik is famous for trying to murder anyone who lays a finger on Kuznetsov's bird bones as a point of honor.

He’s part father figure, part role model, part Regina George from Mean Girls (the part where everyone on the team is super obsessed with him and all his life choices, not his conduct). Needless to say, I find it FASCINATING. Everyone else, including fans, seems mostly lukewarm about him. The players are all about thirty seconds away from shyly asking if he wants to grab some bone broth and talk strategy.

Brooks Orpik: Queen Bee???

(also this article is incredible, 10/10 especially when it comes to Carey Price being filled with implacable rage)
posted by a fiendish thingy at 12:11 PM on October 1, 2018 [5 favorites]

Brooks Orpik is a mystery to me also, but just because he grew up in Amherst NY and a couple years ago I went to a preseason game, sat behind the bench, hollered a bunch of targeted minutiae about the town, and he never once turned around.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 12:40 PM on October 1, 2018 [4 favorites]

I guess that explains the weird cap-evading dance the Capitals did to keep him this year? But well, there's always going to be teams obsessed with gritty tough guys. Vegas ended up paying 2.775M to Ryan Reaves because there were at least three other teams interested in his services.
posted by tavella at 12:45 PM on October 1, 2018

Basically every season in Fantasy Hockey (been running this league since 2005!) I add Brooks Orpik from the Free Agent pile three-four weeks into the season, because even in fantasy hockey you need Brooks Orpik.
posted by notyou at 12:51 PM on October 1, 2018

God there are too many teams
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:55 PM on October 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

I mean, that was a delightful read, but tooo maaaannnyyy teeammms
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:55 PM on October 1, 2018

Re: Reaves. Note that one of VGK's alternate captains is big gritty, defensemen Deryk Engelland, the Brooks Orpik of the Golden Knights, which makes sense since they were long time teammates on the Penguins. Here's what Engelland has said about "Orps":
Obviously, I hit the NHL a little later than most guys,” recalled Engelland. “Even at 27, going up to Pittsburgh, there were a lot of guys to learn from. Sid (Sidney Crosby) is younger than me, but he was great to talk to and learn from. Brooks Orpik, he was the same. I learned a lot from Orps – the way he trained, the way he took care of himself on and off the ice. I’m still really close with him.
posted by notyou at 1:03 PM on October 1, 2018

My STL Blues should always have the maximum number of spite points. All the way back to that goddamn Bobby Orr shot. It's been spite ever since. Seriously, Google image search Bobby Orr shot.

Goddamn it.

The team name is synonymous with suffering. This is not coincidence.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 1:52 PM on October 1, 2018 [2 favorites]

For heightened sports romantic comedy glory, Olympic hockey rivals Meghan Duggan (USA) and Gillian Apps (Canada) got married last week.
posted by nicebookrack at 4:53 PM on October 1, 2018 [8 favorites]

As a dedicated Caps fan for a decade+, I simultaneously can't wait for the season to start and wish the summer of the "Caps as Champions" would never end. It's been an amazing ride - from that win over the Pens, to attending numerous games & watch parties at the arena, to going to a SCF game in person, to being part of the most joyful crowd EVAR when they won, to group-hugging Ovi at Nationals Park and seeing the Cup, to the parade, to spending entirely too much money on Cup merchandise... I have cried more tears of joy this year than I can ever remember. If I need cheering up, I just watch some of my videos from the spring/summer and I feel better. I can totally see why they are talking "back to back" now, even though it's not even remotely likely, just to feel that high again.

This article was wonderful, btw, and now I'm more in the "let's get the season going!" camp than before reading it!
posted by gemmy at 6:31 PM on October 1, 2018 [4 favorites]

I hope the Caps can do it without Tom Wilson trucking anybody else because watching him give Oskar Sundqvist a concussion yesterday really sucked. He deserves the suspension he's going to get.
posted by mattamatic at 7:17 PM on October 1, 2018 [3 favorites]

Every team gets a +.5 Tom Wilson Spite point except for the Capitals, who get a -.5 Tom Wilson Spite point.
posted by riverlife at 1:20 AM on October 2, 2018 [4 favorites]

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