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.
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.”
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.
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.
While 23-year-old center Caleb Herbert has a long road to the NHL in front of him, he has something that other higher-rated Caps prospects in the system don’t: a burgeoning fan club!
Tuesday, three college-aged girls emblazoned in amazing, handmade puffy-paint shirts, made the journey to Kettler Capitals Iceplex to watch the first day of Development Camp. They had one goal in mind: to get a photo with the man they call Herbie.
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.