The Washington Times - November 21, 2011, 01:39PM

Dmitry Orlov will make his NHL debut for the Capitals on Monday night against the Phoenix Coyotes. And all signs are pointing to him doing that alongside Karl Alzner.

The two skated together during Sunday’s practice, and Orlov getting paired with an all-around responsible defenseman like Alzner seems to be the best place for him to be in his first game at this level.


Coach Bruce Boudreau said “it’s not the easiest decision” on where to put Orlov. And he didn’t name names. But his description of the ideal partner is basically a description of Alzner.

You look at different pairings and who’s it going to be – who’s best suited for him? Who’s maybe your best defensive player?” Boudreau said. “[Orlov] sometimes can be a little too creative in the offensive zone; you need somebody that you know is not going to be that aggressive in the offensive zone – and very responsible.”

Orlov played with veteran defenseman Sheldon Souray last season with the Hershey Bears, and he and coach Mark French both praised Souray for helping with the development.

Alzner said he didn’t know for sure if he’d be skating with Orlov against the Coyotes but has a good grip on what it would take for the two to have success. Don’t expect the language barrier to be an issue.

I’ve said a few things to him. I think he understands, for the most part. Hockey language is pretty common no matter where you are. He understands the ‘Pass it,’ or ‘Work hard’ and things like that,” Alzner said. “I think he’s going to be fine. All he needs to know is to try to recognize my voice and I try to direct him from there, and I’ll be able to recognize his, so we should be OK.”

Don’t be surprised to see Orlov on the point on the power play, too. His shot is one of the things that stood out in training camp.