The Washington Capitals officially returned to the ice Friday at MedStar Capitals Iceplex (MCI) where the kicked off day one of training camp. The rink was full of fans and media to capture the start of their journey to back-to-back. We will have other reports about specific players and squads; this is just a summary of the things that caught our attention – not necessarily technical analysis, just good old Capitals fun.
Missing from camp on Friday were John Carlson and Lars Eller who the Capitals reported were out for “lower body” injury. Eller left the ice on Wednesday and did not return. Not sure what happened to Carly as he looked good when last we saw him on 10 September. Additionally, the Caps report that Sergei Shumakov is working through some visa issues.
There were lots of people at MedStar but the one real star was Nastya Ovechkina. She was with the usual Russian entourage; however, without baby Sergei. Ovi was captivated by her presence and she was gracious with those brave enough to wish her congratulations.
The Capitals were joined by prospects from the Hershey Bears and other younger players hoping to catch the eye of coaches and mangers.
There were so many coaches! Caps and Bears coaches sizing up players, looking for their strengths, and working on overcoming weaknesses. Todd Reirden will hopefully lead the Capitals to another Stanley Cup Championship while Spencer Carberry hopes to get the Hershey Bears to the Calder Cup finals and return them to a winning AHL team.
The coaches hold three separate sessions to start off camp. As the days pass, they will release players to return to their home teams and colleges. This is a special time of year when all the teams are united and can learn from the vast expertise of the coaches and more seasoned players.
Overall, for a first day of camp, they were looking strong. Some had to catch their breath, but it is only day one.
Who do we like from the prospects list? Tops on our list are Liam O’Brien, Connor Hobbs, Nathan Walker, and Kristofer Bindulis. In addition to watching them the next few days, we suggest you watch new guy Nic Dowd (looking to take Beagle’s spot), Jonas Siegenthaler, Mason Mitchell, Tobias Geisser (who came to the pre-conditioning camp), and Riley Barber. We will have more analysis about their play as camp progresses and the coaches push them more.
Around the Rink
If you have a chance to come to MedStar Capitals Iceplex (Some getting around suggestions here), Saturday and Sunday should be full of fans just like you. Stop and get some coffee and sit back to watch. The Caps will play on both rinks. Here is the weekend schedule and roster to help you figure out who you are watching!
The place was crawling with media from all over – getting their first look at the Champions who could go back-to-back. Expect to have more showing up the closer the Capitals get closer to opening night. And more staff too!
Special thanks to Mel Abernethy for her assistance with photos today. It is good to have you back with us Mel!!