Longtime Penguins, Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik retires after 15 seasons in NHL

After 1,035 games and two Stanley Cups, Brooks Orpik has called it a career, announcing his retirement from the NHL on Tuesday.

The longtime defenseman spent the last five seasons with the Washington Capitals and starred for the Pittsburgh Penguins for 10 years before that, establishing himself not only as a championship blue-liner but as a widely respected locker-room leader, with Russian teammates famously nicknaming him "Batya," which means "dad" or "father."

"Throughout his tenure in the league, Brooks epitomized leadership and hard work," the Capitals said in a statement. "He had a tremendous influence on his teammates both on and off the ice and was instrumental in helping us capture our first Stanley Cup."

The 38-year-old Orpik was the 18th overall pick by the Penguins in the 2000 Entry Draft, and he made his NHL debut two years later, landing a full-time role in 2003-04, his official rookie season. By 2008, the California native was serving as an alternate captain and preparing to help Pittsburgh to back-to-back Stanley Cup Final appearances.

After 10 full seasons with the Pens, including a career-best 25-point campaign in Pittsburgh's 2008-09 championship seasons and team Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2010, Orpik inked a five-year deal with the Capitals, playing a personal-best 81 games and scoring a game-winning Stanley Cup Final goal during Washington's first championship run. Not long after the Cup victory, he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche due to salary cap constraints but returned to the Capitals for 2018-19 after being bought out by the Avs, scoring another game-winning goal during the team's 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs series vs. the Carolina Hurricanes.

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