Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik said he feels encouraged by the progress he's made since having wrist surgery in July and hopes to play before the end of the preseason.
Orpik, who turns 35 on Sept. 26, is entering his second season with the Capitals after signing a five-year, $27.5 million contract in July 2014. He had 19 assists in 78 regular-season games and two assists in 14 games during the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He had surgery on his left wrist July 28.
"It feels pretty good," Orpik told CSN Mid-Atlantic on Tuesday. "I think that's kind of the dangerous thing, it feels good and you want to push it. They tell you to be patient with it. I think I'm at seven weeks [Wednesday since the surgery], and they told me 8-12 weeks; that's kind of a big gap there.
"They're really just [waiting to see] how it responds. They told me it looked good, the swelling was all down. It's just a range-of-motion thing. A lot of the healing has taken place, it's just getting the range of motion back."
The Capitals will play seven preseason games, with the last Oct. 4 against the New York Islanders at Verizon Center. Orpik said he is hopeful his wrist will heal to the point he'll be able to play before Washington opens the regular season Oct. 10 against the New Jersey Devils.
"That would be ideal," Orpik said. "It's a tough league to just jump right in with or without any preseason. I know a lot of guys don't love playing in preseason games, but they serve a purpose. Just get your timing down … even when you try to do that in practice, no matter how hard you try to go, it's not the same as games. One [preseason] game would be great, hopefully more. Just see how the wrist goes."