It was obvious in Tuesday night’s preseason game that Liam O’Brien and Connor Hobbs wanted to standout in their performance. What better way than to drop their mits and go at it.
At 4:50 in the second period, it was Hobbs who got into it with Bruins Tanner Pond. Pond too is hoping this could be his year for the NHL; however, he was released the next day to the ECHL
Hobbs has been one of those players that shows improvement every year he reports to development or training camp. This year is no exception and could be his first real chance at snagging a defenseman position on the Caps list. He had a bit of a rough season with the Bears because of injury, yet he has bounced back with vigor and passion- evident in his willingness to take on Pond. If Tom Wilson is looking to change his game and avoid the fights for which he is notorious; Hobbs could easily step up as the Caps tough body on the ice.
Liam O’Brien already has a reputation for getting in the middle of fights. He plays a physical game and often finds himself sitting in the penalty box. The fighting can energize a team or hinder a team by putting them on the penalty kill once too often. For O’Brien, if he wants to stay in Washington he will need find that balance just as Wilson is doing. He could be the powerful center the Caps need provided he can also improve his numbers on the score board.
The next week should be a telling time for both these players. If they don’t make the roster, they will no doubt spend time in Washington should the Caps have a gap during the season. The Caps have some real competition between O’Brien, Travis Boyd, Jason Magna, and Nic Dowd for the coveted Jay Beagle spot as well as the competition for a spot on the blue line. And lets not forget Riley Barber who coach has been impressed with so far. That’s what the preseason is all about – seeing potential and giving the right guys the opportunity to excel.