Head coach Bruce Boudreau is not shying away from having Marcus Johansson center Alex Ovechkin on the top line, so it’s time to put the sophomore Swede under the microscope. Specifically, what can fans expect him to produce in his second season?
On Saturday, the Washington Capitals hosted their third annual Capitals Convention. A sold-out crowd of over 6,000 fans descended on the spacious confines of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center to get autographs, pose for photos, and have questions answered by their favorite players.
Ted Leonsis, a mastermind behind the yearly event, was ecstatic for the turn-out. “That we’re able to sell out everything we touch really shows how wonderful the fan support is and my goal is to build a team as good as our fan base,” he said.
“Hockey players are so approachable,” Bruce Boudreau said. “They could be walking amongst [the crowd] and they’ll sit down and talk to you. I think it means a lot to [the fans] that they are so human.”
Below are my pictures of from the day including Alex Ovechkin giving out some free hugs, Mike Green signing a baby, and a lot of smiling players — and when I mean a lot, I’m talking some sort of world record.
When the Washington Capitals traded away oft-injured but skilled goaltender Semyon Varlamov, General Manager George McPhee said the team was more than comfortable using two relatively inexperienced netminders in Michal Neuvirth, 23-years-old, and Braden Holtby, 21, for the 2011-12 season — after all, he had done so the previous year with Neuvirth and Varlamov in the crease. Less than 24 hours later, however, the tables turned when McPhee scooped up veteran Tomas Vokoun, one of the league’s elite goalies, for the bargain price of $1.5 million for one year.
“We were certainly willing to play our top young goaltenders, but I think people will agree this addition makes us deep again at the most important position in the game,” GMGM said at the time. “We love what we have in Holtby and we certainly love what we have in Neuvirth, but from an organizational standpoint, we’re all better off having this depth.”
Soon after the signing, Vokoun told reporters the Caps offered him no guarantees on the starting spot, but as a Vezina-caliber ‘keeper, Bruce Boudreau essentially gave him the nod over Neuvirth.
Alzner, of course, is the most important player of the bunch. In his first full season in the NHL last year, the Burnaby, British Columbia native became part of the Caps’ top defensive pairing, along with John Carlson, and provided a steady, stay-at-home presence on the blue-line.
“I think he’s a very important part of our team,” Washington Head Coach Bruce Boudreau told reporters at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “He got a lot of minutes and played in a lot of tough situations so I think it’s a great signing on our part — glad it was done.”
Garrett Mitchell attempts to headbutt Scott Wietecha into submission. (Photo credit: Chris Gordon)
After losing the first scrimmage game, Group A turned the tables on Group B on Thursday to take the second match of Development Camp, 4-3, in the shootout.
Garrett Mitchell, David Citviarese and Danick Paquette tallied Group A’s goals in regulation, while Travis Boyd scored twice along with Reid Edmondson in Group B’s losing effort. Mitchell also added the only shootout goal.
Danick Paquette dishes out a hit along the boards.
After participating in workouts for first two days of the Capitals’ annual Development Camp, 19 of the organization’s prospects and 25 free agent invites took to the ice for the first intra-squad scrimmage of the summer on Wednesday.
Group B — wearing the red sweaters — controlled the play throughout the game at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, taking it by a score of 4-2. Caleb Herbert, Stanislav Galiev, Travis Boyd and Aaron Schmit scored for the winning team while Andrew Cherniwchan and Garrett Mitchell tallied in the losing effort.
“The thoughts were is they played hard,” Caps head coach Bruce Boudreau told reporters after the game. “I think there was a lot more physical contact than the last two development camps, at least early on for the first game. … They’ve gotten better every day, I expect them to be even better tomorrow and by Saturday I’ll be a pretty good game.”
Forward Cody Eakin, a third-round draft pick in 2009 and a veteran of three camps, attributed the style of play to the players desire to make an impression on Washington’s brass.
“They’re some big guys out here and everyone is fighting for a job, a second chance and a second look so it was pretty physical. Guys are stepping up and there wasn’t a lot of room out there.”
Dima participates in a drill during the first day of Development Camp.
Photos by Chris Gordon
When Metallurg Novokuznetsk’s season ended in early February without a playoff berth, Dmitry Orlov had two options. He could finish the year in Russia again with Metallurg’s MHL affiliate, the Novokuznetsk Bears, or begin his professional career in North America. After dominating the KHL’s junior circuit and winning the Davydov trophy as the MHL Playoff MVP in 2009-10, Dima needed a new challenge. So he negotiated an agreement with his KHL club and flew over to America to sign a contract with the Washington Capitals.