Day 6 of Caps Development Camp: Fanfest!

Equipment Sale

Caps Equipment Sale - Game Used Gloves

Merci Jose. Au Revoir. (Photos by Addison Huber)

Merci Jose. Au Revoir. (Photos by Addison Huber)

The morning got off to an early start with the annual equipment sale. When I arrived around 7:40 there was a line at the check-in table stretching back the length of Kettler Capitals IcePlex [Ed note: Do you people ever sleep?!?!]. Making my way into the stands that served as a waiting area until the sale officially started at 8am, I was shocked to see a section of the bleachers already filled. At 8am the crowd was led to the upper level of the rink where a vast panoply of new and used hockey equipment awaited their perusal. The crowd quickly, but orderly, made their way into the sale area, making a beeline for the player sticks and used practice jerseys. Patrons could be seen with armfuls of gear and frantically pawing through piles of clothing – clearly the event was a success for the Capitals.

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Day 5 of Caps Development Camp

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Heart-throb Brooks Laich made an appearance at Kettler today. (Photos by Addison Huber)

Heart-throb Brooks Laich made an appearance at Kettler today. (Photos by Addison Huber)

Group A Observations

Braden Holtby still looks a little shaky in net, letting in a few goals he probably should have saved. This could be a function of the fact that he recently had LASIK surgery done on his eyes and they aren’t quite back to normal yet. It is also important to remember that Holtby went from starting to backing up Michal Neuvirth and did not play very much over the last two months of his season.

Anton Gustafsson continues to remain an enigma. It is clear that the young Swede pick has a plethora of talent, certainly worthy of him being first-round draft selection. However, there were times during the week when his motivation appeared questionable. For example, during offensive zone entry drills today, there appeared to be moments when Gustafsson would stop skating and lackadaisically enter the zone.

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Kuznetsov and the professor share a laugh as Leysan, the instructor, hides her face in her hands. (Photos by Addison Huber)

Kuznetsov and the professor share a laugh as Leysan, the instructor, hides her face in her hands. (Photos by Addison Huber)

Yesterday, after the Caps’ second development camp scrimmage, players made their way rinkside for media availability. I noticed Evgeny Kuznetsov slinking towards a small group of kids and adults in the far corner of the practice rink. My developing reporter sense tingled and I followed Kuznetsov and listened in to his conversation with the group. The assembled crowd was a first-year Russian class from the University of Maryland, made up of mostly rising freshmen getting an early start on their language requirements.

Kuznetsov was incredibly patient with the class, patiently listening to their choppy questions in Russian (and even correcting them at times) and answering clearly and slowly, often repeating himself several times for their benefit. The group was later joined by Stanislav Galiev and the pair of baby Capitals talked about their favorite bands (Kuznetsov loves Russian rap), cities, and foods. It was clear the students appreciated the experience and it was cute to see the young Russians teaching Americans.

Check out a few more pictures below the jump.

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Day 4 of Caps Development Camp

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Team White celebrates win. (Photos by Addison Huber)

Team White celebrates their shootout victory as Russian Prospect Stanislav Galiev is the only player to score. (Photos by Addison Huber)

Scrimmage

By 9am the stands at Kettler were about 1/3 filled as the Capitals’ prospects took the ice for their second scrimmage of 2010 Development Camp. In marked contrast to yesterday’s chippy, gritty scrimmage, today’s affair was much more fluid and wide open, resulting in over 30% more scoring. On the red team the lines stayed pretty much the same as the first scrimmage. On the white team, Stanislav Galiev was bumped down to the second line, serving with Wade MacLeod (Jr, Northeastern) and Garrett Mitchell (WHL, 2009 Draft, 6th Round, 175th overall). The chemistry of the Galiev-MacLeod-Mitchell line was palpable: the line exploded for the first three goals of the scrimmage – MacLeod was 2-1-3 and Galiev was 1-1-2. Galiev scored his goal camped out in front of the net on a nice deflection that beat goalie Taylor Nelson (So, Ferris State) Red quickly responded with a pair of goals from Jake Hauswirth (both on mostly empty nets) and one from Stefan Della Rovere. The red and white teams alternated goals for the remainder of the game, with Cody Eakin and Evgeny Kuznetsov scoring for the red team and Marcus Johansson and Felix LeFrancois both picking up their first goals for the white team. In the overtime shootout Galiev scored the only goal to win the game for white with a sick deke in front of the net.

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First, we heard about it from Tarik.

Now, we’ve got video:

(All credit to Keith Mastromichails for the video.)

BB’s quote on that hit, as reported by the WP:

Kuznetsov is, skill-wise, pretty good. . .  I think we’ll have a word with Kuznetsov. Because in North America you can’t taunt or make funny moves. When he did that, he was having fun maybe, but he gave a little taunt to Holtby. After [the goal], he sort of went, ‘Ooooh’ and laughed him. That’s not going to go well with North American people. …And I’m going to have a little chat with Holtby.

We’ve spent the last week and change covering the Russian prospect Kuznetsov, but we’ve been chronicling the enigma that is Braden Holtby for months.  Both are undeniable talents with effusive personalities  So we’re torn.  What say you?

Update: Caps Snaps caught up with Holtby and Kuznetsov after the incident and got both sides of the story. Great read. Check it out here.

Neil Greenberg’s Photos From Caps Development Camp

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On Wednesday, RMNB statistician and all-around good guy Neil Greenberg was granted a credential to take photos for the Washington Examiner (See the story here). Check out his entire gallery of photos, including some that didn’t make the cut for the Examiner below. And make sure to let Neil know your favorite in the comments.

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Day 3 of Caps Development Camp

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Stanislav Galiev is certainly full of personality. (Photos by Addison Huber)

Stanislav Galiev is certainly full of personality. (Photos by Addison Huber)

Day 3 was a busy day for the draftees and invitees at Capitals Development Camp. Both Group A and Group B were on the ice in the morning, and the whole squad took the ice in the afternoon for a scrimmage. The additional activity made for an extremely long day, one that not only left me exhausted, but also (and more importantly) left me feeling like a full-time member of the media. I also increased my attempts at multi-tasking: interspersing periods of photography with Tweets, especially during the afternoon scrimmage. Day 3 also provided a glimpse into the world of the best PR staff in the NHL when Nate and Kelly  invited all the bloggers in attendance to a roundtable to discuss ideas and innovations.

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Olivia Newton-John stars in Score: A Hockey Musical (Getty Images: Lisa Maree Williams).

Mike Fleming of Deadline reports that the Toronto International Film Festival will debut a new movie musical.  If that were the whole story, only RMNB Gleeks Neil and Peter would care.  But this is a special musical– a hockey musical.

PRESS RELEASE, AHOY!

Score: A Hockey Musical captures key elements of Canadian identity – our passion for our national pastime, our unique musical style and our special brand of humour,” says Piers Handling, Director and CEO of TIFF.

[...]

In the film, seventeen-year old Farley has led a sheltered life. Much to the dismay of his parents (Newton-John, Jordan), Farley loves to play shinny with the local rink rats. To their even greater dismay, Farley is signed to a hockey league, where he achieves instant stardom, throwing him into a world of hype. Farley soon finds that hockey fame comes with a price.

All that and Barenaked Ladies.  Only time will tell if Score will reach the pantheon of hockey cinema populated by Slapshot, Miracle, the holy Ducks trilogy– or if it’ll be relegated to the dollar bin with The Cutting Edge (flamebait for commenters).  Either way, it’s a movie for Canadians about good-looking kids playing hockey, singing songs, and reaching for the stars– it’s going to be a slam dunk for some people.

I’d be astonished if the movie doesn’t include a cameo or two from some hockey notables.   Mario, 99, Sidney Crosby– maybe all three?  The only safe assumption is that Mike Green wasn’t asked to appear.

Here’s the trailer! (Hat tip to The Score)

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Day 2 of Caps Development Camp

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Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitri Orlov & stood out in Group A today. (Photos by Addison Huber)

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitri Orlov & Cody Eakin stood out in Group A today. (Photos by Addison Huber)

Group A Observations

Group A was the second group to take the ice on Day 2, and arrival onto the ice was delayed over fifteen minutes because the coaching staff was unhappy with the ice conditions after Group B skated earlier in the morning. Of the Group A players, Eakin, Kuznetsov, and Orlov were by far the most impressive and polished. Kuznetsov was the class of the group, displaying noteworthy hustle and speed as well as solid shooting ability from the point and deft, light hands in close around the net. Two college invitees also showed flashes of brilliance. Sean Wiles, a junior forward from the University of Alaska Anchorage, threw his body around, landing several big hits and crashing the net well. Additionally, Andrew Cherniwchan, a sophomore forward from Northern Michigan University, put on a puckhandling show, leading Comcast Sports Net’s play-by-play announcer Joe Beninati, an unexpected visitor to camp, to label him a “dangler.”

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Nauris Enkuzens

According to the always reliable “sk84fun_dc” of HFBoards, two undrafted KHL players are participating in Capitals Development Camp this week.  Kristaps Sotnieks and Nauris Enkuzens are both Latvians, and both play for Dynamo Riga, one of the most hardworking teams in the KHL.  Dynamo Riga is known for their business savvy, seldom overpaying for players like other KHL teams do. Our very own goaltending coach Arturs Irbe spent several seasons with Dynamo as goalie,  which seems to imply that he’s the matchmaker here.

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