Brooks Orpik has played his last NHL game, the 15-year veteran announced via a press release on Thursday.
The two-time Stanley Cup champion finishes his career with 1,035 regular season games played, 194 points (0.17 PPG) and an absolutely absurd amount of hits (2,556) and blocked shots (1,551).
The guy wasn’t super skilled or the prettiest to watch, but carved himself out a better professional career than most with his willingness to eat a ton of bodies and rubber on an egregiously consistent basis while not being a total liability every time he hit the ice. His coaches and teammates adored him, too.
The physical beating from pucks, fist and opposing shoulders he absorbed throughout his NHL career would obviously take a toll, something he hinted at in his statement:
"I've been extremely lucky to have the best job in the world for many years, but my body is telling me it is time to move on to something new," he said.
“I’m excited for more family time and to experience a lot of the things that being a professional athlete forces you to miss out on. Thank you to the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins for giving me the opportunity to play against the best athletes in the world. I’ll be forever grateful for the memories and relationships that hockey has given me.”
After being drafted 18th overall by the Penguins out of Boston College in 2000, Orpik trudged through a Penguins rebuild, the drafting of Sidney Crosby and the retirement of Mario Lemieux, before helping Pittsburgh capture the Cup in 2008-09.
He went on to sign with the Capitals in 2014 and his career would climax with another Stanley Cup in 2018 — Washington’s first-ever championship.
He chipped in mightily in two of the biggest wins of that playoff run, scoring the game-winner in Game 2 of the Final against Vegas and assisting on Devante Smith-Pelly’s iconic game-tying tally in Game 5, teeing up Lars Eller’s OT Cup-clincher later that contest.
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