The Caps began their annual Development Camp on Monday, held at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Virginia for the fifth year in a row. The six day session features prospects signed in the organization, including Cody Eakin, Stanislav Galiev, Dimitri Orlov and Mattias Sjogren, as well free agent invitees and players selected at the Draft last month.
Day one was pretty exciting. Group A skated around a bunch of cones, Bruce blew his whistle a lot, Troy Brouwer addressed the DC media for the first time, George McPhee looked super dreamy, Olie the Goalie (coach) showed off his new sweatpants, Sjogren lost a chicklet, Group B skated around another bunch of cones, Bruce blew his whistle a lot more before the day was capped off with everyone’s favorite drill: wind sprints! And some trick shots of course.
Following today’s development camp activities, Dmitry Orlov (now and forever spelled with a y) and Stan Galiev spent a few minutes goofing around on the ice. Moving the net up the ice, they practiced point-blank distance trick shots before calling it a day.
Orlov and Galiev flipped the puck from around the back of the net, from halfway up the ice, and from extreme angles. Perhaps they’re working on one of those Granlund-style lacrosse goals, or maybe Stanislav Galiev’s header (13 seconds in) is the real future of the Capitals’ offense. Either way, we’re probably looking at the future of the Caps: fun, creative, and somewhat mischievous.
NOM NOM NOM. (Photo by Chris Gordon of Caps Snaps)
We’ve been fascinated by Dmitri Orlov since Fedor told us that Metallurg fans call him the Russian Bobby Orr. As ludicrous as that title is, we can’t help but be impressed by the offensive-minded d-man called Dima. His partner at development camp, Joe Finley, compared Dmitri to John Carlson and Mike Green, but he did point out the difficulties in communication. Unlike Stan Galiev, Dmitri is not comfortable with English, only the universal language of cupcakes. That’s why our pal Oksana Zolotar chatted Orlov up in the tongue of the motherland.
Follow us past the jump where we’ll learn about Dmitri’s trouble buying out his contract and overcoming his 5’10″ frame. Please note that Oksana refrains from asking Dima about Ian’s weird fixation on him. Also, don’t forget to check out our interviews with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Stanislav Galiev if you missed them.
The Washington Capitals selected Stanislav Galiev (friends call him “Stan”) as the 86th overall pick in the draft. The baby-faced left winger from Moscow stood out during development camp as a competent skater, playmaker, and polyglot whiz. He’s not a particularly big player (178 lbs), but Galiev’s personality is plenty big. Our girl Friday, Oksana Zolotar, chatted up Stan in his native tongue following Wednesday’s scrimmage.
Follow us past the jump to learn about his adoration of Alexander Semin, bulking up, and Russian camaraderie at dev camp. If you missed Monday’s interview with Evgeny Kuznetsov, we politely remind you that this will all be on the final exam.
Personality Defined: While we interviewed Evgeny, we noticed he wore white crocs with some stickers on them. Included were NY Yankees, Arizona Cardinals & Spider-Man logos and his number at development camp, 92.
Luckily, friend-of-the-blog and sage of all things Caps, Oksana Zolotar, helped us out. In addition to having a truly awesome name, Oksana speaks fluent Russian. We put the two kids together for a chat following Wednesday’s scrimmage (in which Evgeny went 2G-1A-3P). Follow us past the jump to hear Evgeny discuss English, his ambitions, and his always cheerful attitude.
What an honor, right? Two things I am passionate about mashed up together for a surreal experience: the chance to cover the sport I love through art – despite being told that becoming an artist would never work for me. Specifically, “Neil, you can’t be an artist.” I tried everything: playing instruments (violin and saxophone), drawing, painting and even writing. In fact, most of my childhood I was told I couldn’t do stuff. Not shouldn’t – can’t. Told that if I tried to chase that dream it would end in certain, perhaps orchestrated, failure.
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.
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.
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.