So what happened to Orlov, one of the team’s rising stars? While skating for the Hershey Bears in the AHL Showcase at Verizon Center in November, the young Russian absorbed a hit up high from Emerson Etem. He didn’t appear to be favoring anything when he attempted to play one more shift that night, leading many to believe he suffered a concussion. In an interview with RMNB’s Ian Oland, Bears coach Mark French did not confirm or deny that Orlov may have received a concussion on the hit.
“The only thing we’ve said so far — as far as my understanding — is that it’s an upper body injury,” French told Ian. “It’s above my pay grade and above my qualifications to say any more. It’s certainly an upper body injury.”
“Our hope is that once we regroup as a team following the All-Star break he would be able to skate,” said the coach.
This was second time Orlov has been injured this year. A month and a half before leaving the AHL Showcase, he was slammed head-first awkwardly into the boards from behind, causing him to miss about two weeks. French said the injuries are connected.
“It’s hard to answer without the medical knowledge, but to my understanding of it, they are related,” he said to Ian.
According to French, the fastest coach in AHL history to 100 wins, Orlov is progressing after suffering a set-back the second week of January. That week, Orlov tried skating again for the first time since suffering the injury but didn’t feel “good” and “backed off,” in French’s words. Since then, Dima has been riding a stationary bike to work on his fitness as he makes his way back into game shape. The plan is to have Novokuznetsk native back on the ice again next week after the AHL All-Star Game on Monday.
“I think he is getting better,” French said. “It’s safe to say that once he comes back healthy, there’ll be a conditioning period where we’ll have to get him up to game speed. How long that is, I’m not sure. We certainly would like to see him in a week of practice before getting him back into a game.”
“I would expect once he is healthy and goes through a conditioning period down here, that he would be going right up to Washington,” he continued.