Photos: Amanda Bowen
Saturday was the last day of the Capitals Development Camp and, subsequently, the team’s annual fanfest. Fans began jamming the rink around 8 am, eager to get a prime position for the weekend scrimmage and the team’s year-end equipment sale.
The event featured an autograph signing with new addition TJ Oshie, attracting a packed group of admirers. Despite the damp weather outside, the Caps hosted street hockey and moon bounce for little kids on the top deck of the parking garage. Indoors, thousands completely packed Kettler Capitals Iceplex to watch the team’s draft picks and the camp’s free agent invitees battle it out in a scrimmage, won by Team Red 7-3. During general manager Brian MacLellan’s press conference, one reporter brought up the possibility the event could be moved to a bigger venue.
“We’ve never thought about,” MacLellan said. “It’d probably be a good idea.”
Part of the reason the event has gotten so big is due to the camaraderie of Caps fans. On Saturday, a group of Caps fans who met on Tumblr got together to watch some hockey and see some of their favorite prospects in the flesh. The Papa Squad (named after Tom Wilson’s and Michael Latta’s nickname for Nicklas Backstrom) of Sydney, Victoria, Alexi, Taylor, etc gathered together to get take some selfies and some signature. Victoria even got the prospects to sign her TJ Yoshie poster, created by a fellow fan.
“We just bonded over our love of the Caps,” Sydney told me.
Days like today are the reason this fanbase is so great. Below, take a look at Amanda’s gorgeous pictures from the day.
Photo credit: Chris Gordon
At this year’s Development Camp, the Capitals have shied away from the myriad of scrimmages they held under past regimes, teaching the invitees rather than pitting them against each other.
“We’re doing developing more than we are evaluating,” General Manager Brian MacLellan said. “This has been more education, more development stuff.”
Nevertheless, the team still hosted a big scrimmage at the end of camp, the anchor of the team’s annual summer fanfest. With one big chance to impress Washington’s brass, the players turned in a barnstorming, high-energy game.
One casualty of the chippiness was Chandler Stephenson‘s smile. The third-round pick lost parts of two false teeth when he was high-sticked by Marcus Basara during three-on-three play.
“I didn’t see the stick but just felt my head go back,” Stephenson said. “My front four are already fake. It’s going to be interesting to see what mom says.”
The penultimate day of Capitals development camp took place on Friday, as the prospects continued with drills in preparation for Saturday’s scrimmage. In the afternoon, the Caps hosted a three-on-three tournament, which saw Liam O’Brien’s Team Red winning in the championship game.
Saturday is the final day of development camp, which coincides with the team’s annual fanfest. The scrimmage will take place at Kettler Capitals Iceplex at 10:30AM. See how many RMNBers you can spot in attendance! Also I’m told Ranger Nathan is taking donations on any Troy Brouwer gear that you find at the equipment sale. Here’s the full schedule of Fanfest.
— Washington Capitals (@washcaps) July 10, 2015
You can see all of Amanda Bowen’s photos from Friday below.
Photo: Amanda Bowen
During his first development camp in Washington last year, 2014 first-round pick Jakub Vrana wowed everyone with his skill via a fancy shootout goal. This year, the Capitals wisely affixed a GoPro to the top of his bucket. The returns were predictably tremendous.
Here are my ten favorite GIFs from Vrana’s helmet cam video.
Thursday was day three for the Caps prospects at development camp. They started off doing five-on-five and the other puck handling drills we’ve grown accustomed to seeing at regular season Caps practices. Coaches started developing lines in red, white, and gray. These factions preview what we might see at the Fanfest scrimmage on Saturday morning. Though, there’s still plenty of time to mix it up.
The guys played a 3-on-3 tourney on Thursday afternoon after the Caps rink was transformed into three separate playing surfaces.
In other news, current Cap, Connor Carrick, and now St. Louis Blue, Troy Brouwer, were spotted at camp today, hanging around the facility before pulling on their skates for some afternoon ice time.
RMNB’s Amanda Bowen has all your photos of the morning sessions below.
Photos: Amanda Bowen
Wednesday, the Capitals hosted the second day of development camp and it was pretty much as the same as Tuesday. Prospects spent most of the session doing skating drills, which included stick handling around mustard yellow poles. Goaltending coach Mitch Korn also worked with the young goaltenders.
In the evening, the prospects planned to go to the Washington Nationals game, but it was rained out for the second straight year.
RMNB’s Amanda Bowen has your photos from today’s session below.
Participants of the Capitals’ Development Camp come from many different backgrounds. The annual gathering this year features undrafted foreigners, college free agents, and some of the team’s top prospects. One invitee has a particularly interesting story: Kevin Lohan, cousin of actress Lindsay Lohan.
“We’re family, but I usually don’t say much about it,” Lohan said. “You can only control what you can control. You can’t control others.
“To be honest I haven’t seen her in a while,” he added of Lindsay, eight years his senior. “We used to be close when we were younger. Everyone went their separate ways.”
Photos: Amanda Bowen
Tuesday marked the first day Caps prospects hit the ice for this year’s Development Camp. Using iPads, the coaches videotaped each player doing skating drills so the Caps could gather intel and teaching material for later in camp. Here’s basically how the morning went: every player would go in front of the camera, say their name (probably with a cool accent), and then proceed to do a drill.
Former Capitals captain Jeff Halpern stopped by to help out the Red Team. He gave some one-on-one attention to defensive prospect Madison Bowey and standout enforcer Liam O’Brien.
The prospects also debuted new shirts.
Development camp went with periodic table-themed T-shirts this year. pic.twitter.com/3mK6pHHyHw
— Alex Prewitt (@alex_prewitt) July 7, 2015
RMNB’s Amanda Bowen was there for it all. You’ve gotta see her photos. You’ll notice a lot of familiar faces including O’Brien, Stephenson, Herbert, Barber, DiPauli, Boyd, and Djoos.
“Let’s aggressively hug!”
It’s that time again, you guys. Caps Development Camp begins today and runs through Saturday. All of the Caps best prospects (minus first-round pick Ilya Samsonov) will be at Kettler skating, scrimmaging, and signing all your weird items. Here’s the full schedule via the Caps.
Photo: RRBG Photography
In May, Fedor broke the news that Slovenian center Jan Urbas had agreed to a try-out agreement with the Washington Capitals. In July, the six-foot, three-inch, 218-pound forward made his debut in a Caps jersey at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in the team’s Development Camp.
Skating on the first line between Andre Burakovsky and Jakub Vrana (the Capitals last two first-round selections), the 25-year-old got a good look at the team’s future, mentoring two of the Caps’ biggest offensive prospects in the system. The line dominated throughout the wee as Urbas showed off his offensive flair and puck-pressuring skill. For a better idea of how he plays, think Jeff Halpern in his prime, but with less goal scoring ability.
First recruited by Steve Richmond (the Capitals’ director of player development) in Germany, Urbas got on scouts’ radars with his play in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Despite playing in the 7th highest league in the world (DEL), Urbas was solid in the Olympics, scoring a shorthanded goal and helping Slovenia make it to the quarterfinals for the first time ever.
I had the chance to talk to Urbas after Development Camp concluded. The center talked in great detail about his experience in the Olympics and the hero’s welcome he received when the Olympic team got home. He also shared his thoughts on Burakovsky and Vrana’s future–as well as an update on if the Caps had reached out to him with a deal.
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