Ed. note – Russian Machine is proud to present our new (sorta) bi-weekly feature. Here you will learn about all the nifty prospects outside the system (CHL, USHL, NCAA, KHL, BBQ). Fedor Fedin and Roman Piontkovsky of GlobalCapsFans will be your guide to the untamed wilds we call Prospect Watch!
In front of a sparse Monday morning crowd, the Capitals’ rookies took to the ice for their second day of Rookie Camp. The prospects were put through a extended practice that consisted mostly of tedious timing drills. The usual suspects, guys like Cody Eakin and Marcus Johansson, impressed the coaches with their skill while RMNB worship idol, Stanislav Galiev, showed-off his blazing speed. Trevor Bruess also showed improvement throughout the session, darting easily through the timers that were set up to record their speed.
Bruce Boudreau noted that all of the players were in great condition for camp. And it’s true. The boys were moving faster and looking less winded after each and every drill. However, the session ended with the dreaded set of Herbies, which we can only describe as the worst suicides on earth. The sprints included skating back and forth repeatedly across varying widths of the ice, full throttle. By the end, all of the players were doubled over, struggling for air.
RMNB’s resident casanova and now photog for the Examiner, Neil Greenberg, spent the week at the Capitals development camp. What follows are his thoughts on the experience.
What a week.
Overwhelming. Fulfilling. Humbling. No other words can describe it.
From when I said yes to cover it for the Examiner to when Kelly showed me where I could and could not go to when I got in my truck at the end of Fan Fest: total euphoria.
Not going to lie, I was overwhelmed when Michael asked me if I would be interested in taking pictures at the Camp for the Washington Caps Examiner – and would be jealous, too, of someone in that position. Of course, I could not say yes quick enough.
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.
On Wednesday, RMNB statistician and all-around good guy Neil Greenberg was granted a credential to take photos for the Washington Examiner (See the story here). Check out his entire gallery of photos, including some that didn’t make the cut for the Examiner below. And make sure to let Neil know your favorite in the comments.
Day 3 was a busy day for the draftees and invitees at Capitals Development Camp. Both Group A and Group B were on the ice in the morning, and the whole squad took the ice in the afternoon for a scrimmage. The additional activity made for an extremely long day, one that not only left me exhausted, but also (and more importantly) left me feeling like a full-time member of the media. I also increased my attempts at multi-tasking: interspersing periods of photography with Tweets, especially during the afternoon scrimmage. Day 3 also provided a glimpse into the world of the best PR staff in the NHL when Nate and Kelly invited all the bloggers in attendance to a roundtable to discuss ideas and innovations.
Group A Observations
Group A was the second group to take the ice on Day 2, and arrival onto the ice was delayed over fifteen minutes because the coaching staff was unhappy with the ice conditions after Group B skated earlier in the morning. Of the Group A players, Eakin, Kuznetsov, and Orlov were by far the most impressive and polished. Kuznetsov was the class of the group, displaying noteworthy hustle and speed as well as solid shooting ability from the point and deft, light hands in close around the net. Two college invitees also showed flashes of brilliance. Sean Wiles, a junior forward from the University of Alaska Anchorage, threw his body around, landing several big hits and crashing the net well. Additionally, Andrew Cherniwchan, a sophomore forward from Northern Michigan University, put on a puckhandling show, leading Comcast Sports Net’s play-by-play announcer Joe Beninati, an unexpected visitor to camp, to label him a “dangler.”
Day 1 (View All Of Addison’s Photos)
Walking into Kettler Capitals Iceplex this morning, a chill flickered across my skin as I admired the clean sheet of ice that stretched in front of me; not only because the rink was 30-plus degrees cooler than the humid July air outside, but also because of the fresh start that this development camp represented. After the crushing first-round defeat in the 2010 playoffs that sent the Caps home early, development camp is the first milestone on the path to the 2010-2011 season. It seemed many other people had the same idea. During both sessions, there was a good number of spectators in the stands – probably 75 or so – definitely a good turnout for a weekday.
The goosebumps on my arms were complimented by butterflies in my stomach – as a rookie journalist, today I would be passing through the heavy metal gate separating players and press from the general public on the back side of the practice rink. After meeting the Caps PR staff and receiving my press pass, my nervousness abated somewhat, until about a minute later, when I walked into the press room and found myself surrounded by Tarik El-Bashir, Mike Vogel, Brett Leonhardt, Corey Masisak, Dan Steinberg, and all the other big name journalists who cover the Capitals.