Photo credit: Chris Gordon
The latest incarnation of Capitals Development Camp doesn’t have the star power of years past — there are no sure-fire stars like Nick Backstrom or exotic Russians like Evengy Kuznetsov. Still, there are surely some future pros skating at Kettler this week. In addition to the obvious ones — fellow first-round picks and polar opposites Tom Wilson and André Burakovsky — there are guys like Madison Bowey, a second-round selection (53th overall) at last month’s draft. Bowey is a fast, two-way defensemen who’s acquitted himself well playing for the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL and Team Canada in the World Juniors. He’s also a pretty nice dude. Following the second-to-last scrimmage of Dev Camp, I chatted with the 18-year-old.
It was game six of the series against the New York Rangers, just the second-ever game in Tom Wilson‘s NHL career, and one of his skate blades has just popped off. Wilson hobbled back to the bench, courting bunches of GIFs and instant fan adultation. At the time I didn’t even realize skate blades could just fall off like that, but I guess when you’re a six-foot-four, 217-pound man-mountain, simple things like skating and checking can test the mettle of your gear.
On Thursday at Development Camp, Wilson’s equipment rebelled again, this time forcing the Caps prospect to wipe out at center ice while attempting a sharp turn. Like a bowling ball out to pick up a spare, Wilson’s body tumbled heavily towards the boards, stopping only after knocking over Caps video coach Brett Leonhardt. No one was hurt (woot) and laughs were shared by all.
And now: GIFs.
Tom Wilson isn’t shy on the ice. According to hockeyfights.com, he’s dropped the gloves 23 times in junior. He’s broken his knuckles twice. He even earned the nickname The Ten Train because his brutal hits always arrive on time.
After the second day of Caps Development Camp, Wilson was asked if anyone in the coaching staff requested before last year’s camp that he tone down his game. Wilson responded with a wry smile and a chuckle. “I don’t know,” he said. “I can’t really remember having that conversation. Yeah, there’s a couple guys that went down last year. That’s just the way I play. It’s not really going to change.”
Later, Wilson revealed how nastiness became a part of his game at an early age.
Photo credit: Kyle Mace
We’ve learned a lot from 2012 first round pick Tom Wilson in the last year. There was that clutch hat trick for Plymouth in the playoffs, his first professional goal in Hershey when he beat Chris Bourque in a footrace, and a brief appearance in the NHL playoffs with the big club.
We’ve also learned that Wilson’s a surprisingly good skater, that he has a good shot, and he’s precisely as physical as advertised. One other thing we’ve noticed: he’s a bit of a yapper. Last year during development camp, Chris Gordon observed that Wilson chirped his teammates non-stop on the ice. During a Hershey playoff game I attended in May, Wilson stood with Michael Latta at the bench and verbally accosted opponents. Head Coach Mark French admitted after the game that the 19-year-old “likes to get involved in the discussion,” which is a nice way of saying that Wilson talks trash. To anyone.
Even playfully to little kids.
Sweetest Hockey On Earth’s Kyle Mace explains:
Novokuznetsk natives Kostenko and Orlov practice at home during the summer (Photo credit @kostenkosergey1)
In late May, Metallurg Novokuznetsk head coach Alexander Kitov indicated that goaltending prospect Sergey Kostenko was no longer part of the Washington Capitals’ plans. “As far as I know, he has ended his relationship with his North American partners,” Kitov told Novokuznetsk Sports Portal and translated by our very own Fedor Fedin. “If Sergey doesn’t ask for a trade, he’ll attend Metallurg’s [training] camp.”
Kitov’s words made sense at time time. Before the season, I spoke to Caps associate goaltending coach Olie Kolzig and the former netminder was not as high as I was on the 2012 seventh round pick. “He’s probably the lowest guy on the depth chart,” Kolzig said bluntly. “If he puts an attention to detail in his game, improves his work ethic, he would definitely pad the depth chart.”
Kostenko would then struggle through injuries, playing in only six games with the ECHL’s Reading Royals before being loaned to the Ontario Reign where he started another three. Kostenko traveled home to Russia at the end of the season.
Fast forward to this past week, when Kostenko’s name appeared on the Caps 2013 Development Camp roster. What gives?
Photo credit: Chris Gordon
When Filip Forsberg was selected by the Washington Capitals 11th overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, many draft experts praised his skill and scoring, projecting him as an offensive engine for his future team.
On Saturday during the Capitals’ final scrimmage of Development Camp, Forsberg showed off another part of his game which should put him on the fast track to the NHL: his defense.
The teams shake hands following the game. (Photo credit: Chris Gordon)
As has become tradition, Kettler Capitals Iceplex was packed to capacity Saturday for the final scrimmage of the team’s Development Camp and annual Fanfest. On a mid-July morning, hundreds were jammed into the team’s practice facility to watch prospects and college and free-agent invitees duke it out for the last time. Fans also took advantage of autograph sessions with Caps prospects and new Capitals center/rapper Mike Ribeiro, who met the media for the first time yesterday.
As for the game itself, Team Red won in thrilling fashion, pulling out a 4-3 victory in overtime. After red pulled their goaltender, T.J. Syner scored in the final minute of the third period. In overtime, Max Iafrate set-up free-agent invitee Greg Miller for a slam-dunk one-timer in the slot. Stan Galiev and Riley Barber also scored for the red team. Daniel O’Donoghue, Taylor Stefishen, and David Vallorani tallied white’s three goals.
Below, check out my shots from the final day of camp.
Forsberg speaks to the media after the scrimmage. (Photo credit: Chris Gordon)
The Caps prospects and invitees to Development Camp played their fourth scrimmage today, but once again some of the most interesting moves were made off the ice. First-round draft pick Filip Forsberg signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Capitals today, and goalie coach Dave Prior expressed disappointment in prospect Steffen Soberg‘s 2011-12 season.
Despite the fact Forsberg has one more year on his contract with Leksand of the Swedish Allsvenskan League, he stressed that he wanted to commit to the team. “It was a dream come true,” he told CSN’s Chuck Gormley. “I got a good first feeling from the Capitals and I thought it was a good decision to get it done right away.”
Team White won the scrimmage 4-1, with White’s goals scored by David Civitarese, Connor Carrick, Barry Almeida, and Chandler Stephenson on a penalty shot. Team Red’s lone goal was scored by T.J. Syner.
Below the jump, check out Chris Gordon’s photos from the day.
Sergei Kostenko’s mask features a surprising amount of English on it, not all of which makes sense.
Day four of Caps Development Camps got a lot more interesting than the previous day, with a fight, two penalty shots, and nine goals.
Team Red beat Team White in Thursday scrimmage by a final score of 6-3. Team Red’s goals were scored by Matt Bailey, Greg Miller, Cam Wojtala, 2012 first round pick Tom Wilson, and two from David Vallorani. Team White’s three goals were scored by David Civitarese, Michael Quinn, and Christian Djoos.
Russian draftee Sergei Kostenko played in his first scrimmage after arriving yesterday from Russia and impressed with his performance for Team Red today, stopping tough shots through three periods, including a penalty shot attempt by blue-chip prospect Filip Forsberg.
My photos from today are below.
Caps Development Camp had its first fight today, coming after the final buzzer sounded on Thursday’s scrimmage, which Team Red won 6-3. Max Iafrate, son of former Cap Al Iafrate, dropped the gloves with 2012 third-round draft pick Chandler Stephenson after a scrum in front the white team’s net. The bout came after the squads were jawing at each other in the waning minutes of the game. (Some gems from Tom Wilson: “What are you, 25? Let the kids play!” and “Why you do us all a favor a take some skating lessons, [expletive]!”)
“Oates said he didn’t want us fighting, but when your [freaking] adrenaline gets flowing…” Iafrate told reporters at Kettler Capitals Iceplex immediately following the scrap. “I guess fight when the opportunity knocks. You don’t look for it.”
“I was playing the game,” Iafrate continued. “He kind of hit me after I put the puck down the ice. I kind of like swung my foot to try to trip him. Then he cross-checked me.”
Caps Head Coach Adam Oates was not impressed.
“I did talk to the guys [after practice]. I really don’t want that,” Oates said. “We’re all here under the Capitals umbrella. I know you want to show your stuff and there’s plenty of time for that down the road. But they still get frustrated at times and I understand that as well.”
Check out my photos of the scrap below.
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