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Orpik announces retirement from NHL after 15 seasons

Defenseman won Stanley Cup with Penguins in 2009, Capitals in 2018

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Brooks Orpik announced his retirement Tuesday after 15 seasons in the NHL.

The 38-year-old defenseman, who won the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009 and Washington Capitals in 2018, had nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 53 regular-season games with the Capitals this season and two points (one goal, one assists) in seven Stanley Cup Playoff games.

"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," Orpik 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."

Orpik said he was having difficulty climbing stairs because of the pain in his right knee, which he had surgery on in November to repair a torn meniscus.

"When I couldn't do that, it was probably time to stop playing hockey, I figured," Orpik said. "It was at a point where, I could just get it to a point where I could play for 2 1/2 hours and then pay for it afterward and then try to do it all over again. But the trainers helped me out a lot here this year. I almost felt guilty because they've got 23, 24 guys to take care of, and I was taking up so much of their time."

Video: Orpik retires after 16 NHL seasons

Selected by the Penguins in the first round (No. 18) in the 2000 NHL Draft, Orpik had 194 points (18 goals, 176 assists) in 1,035 games with the Penguins and Capitals, and 26 points (four goals, 22 assists) in 156 NHL playoff games.

"He was a great leader in our locker room and was so important for us to win our first Stanley Cup," Washington captain Alex Ovechkin said. "We will miss his presence in the room and on the ice. Not only was he a great leader and a player, but he was a better person. I'm so happy I had a chance to play with him and for our young guys to have had the chance to learn from him."

Orpik played the first 10 seasons of his NHL career with the Penguins before signing with the Capitals on July 1, 2014.

"Brooks was one of the best leaders I've had the chance to play with in my career," Washington center Nicklas Backstrom said. "It is difficult to find a better teammate, and a player who worked harder and enjoyed the game as much as Brooks. We all learned from Brooks and he made his teammates better every day."

After winning the Cup with Washington, Orpik was traded to the Colorado Avalanche with goalie Philipp Grubauer for a second-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft on June 22, 2018. He was released by the Avalanche the following day and signed a one-year contract to return to the Capitals a day later.

"I can tell you what my goal was when I came here, and that was to help the group win a Stanley Cup, so I guess that was accomplished," Orpik said. "I don't really have any regrets. I had a great time here the five years I was here, my family included. I remember coming into free agency back in 2014. I think I was looking for a three-year contract and I got a five-year contract. I was just hoping to get through the five years, and we did that, so I was happy for it."

Born in San Francisco and raised in Amherst, New York, Orpik represented the United States in international competition on several occasions, including the 2000 IIHF World Junior Championship, the 2006 IIHF World Championship, the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, when he helped the U.S. win the silver medal, and the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

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