- The Washington Times - Monday, March 28, 2016

Washington Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov has been nominated for the Bill Masterton Trophy, given annually by the Pro Hockey Writers’ Association to the NHL player who has best demonstrated the “qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”

Orlov, 24, has played in all 75 games for the Capitals this season, scoring eight goals and picking up 20 assists. After originally joining Nate Schmidt as the Capitals‘ third defensive pair, he saw his ice time increase following injuries to Brooks Orpik and John Carlson and has spent the past six weeks playing alongside Orpik.

He missed all of last season as he recovered from surgery on a broken left wrist sustained while playing for Russia in the IIHF World Championships in May 2014. Orlov had the pins removed from the wrist two months later but developed an infection that slowed his recovery, preventing him from returning by the start of the season.

Discomfort lingered in the wrist for months, forcing discussions of Orlov undergoing a second surgery. He made a three-game rehab appearance with the AHL’s Hershey Bears in mid-March — a stint that would serve as the highlight of his season, as although he was able to practice over the final weeks, he did not play.

“When you go through it, you have so many things in your mind,” Orlov said Monday, prior to the Capitals‘ home game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. “I’m fine this time and now I just focus on my game and try to do better every time.”

Named for Bill Masterton, the only player to die as a direct result of injuries incurred in an NHL game, the award is given to one of the finalists from each of the PHWA’s 31 chapters. Goaltender Jose Theodore, whose son Chace died of complications from his premature birth, remains the Capitals‘ only winner of the award after receiving it in 2010.

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