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.
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.
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.
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