Unlike last year, where we were only able to attend the end-of-the-week scrimmage, your Chronicles girls were front and center (okay, more like front and to the left) for the first two days of the Washington Capitals’ Development Camp.
Monday did not get off to a good start, simply because we had a 2+ hours of commute from our hometown to get there, and on very little sleep. Surprisingly, for the first day of camp, KCI was very empty. We had been expecting a fairly large crowd, but it was a bit of a nice surprise. In the section we were sitting in, we were the only ones, save the Capitals’ management who were taking notes on all of the players.
Group A took the ice a little earlier than 9:45. The group consisted mostly of familiar faces, though there were a handful neither Meghan nor I recognized. Kathryn (@takingnames) was kind enough to write down all the of prospects and their numbers in both groups. The list is as follows:
Fowards: Cody Eakin (50), Phil DeSimone (75), Sean Wiles (91), Patrick Cullen (9), Chris Forfar (18), Evgeny Kuznetsov (48), Jake Hauswirth (77), Stefan Della Rovere (84), David deKastrozza (87), Brendan Woods (34), Anton Gustafasson (94), Andrew Cherniwchan
Defensemen: Bond (17), Flemming (29), Bohumil Jank (47), Joe Finley (59), Samuel Carrier (65), Dmitri Orlov (81), Ian Ruel (95), Brennan Yadlowski
Goalies: Braden Holtby (70), Dan Dunn (80)
Around 2:30, Group B hit the ice, and I found myself not recognizing many of the faces. The group consisted mostly of invitees, so Meghan and I found it a much more exciting group to watch, simply because we did not know what to expect. Group B consisted of:
Forwards: Greg Burke (54), Felix Lefrancois (67), Caleb Herbert (72), Andy Miele (79), Anthony Pisano (96), Eric Alexander (96), Wade Macleod (64), Garrett Mitchell (76), Trevor Bruess (88), Stanislav Galiev (49), Cameron Burt (71), Marcus Johansson (90)
Defensemen: Patrick Cullity (24), Zach Miskovic (45), Steve Spinell (51), Kristaps Sotnieks (58), Dustin Stevenson (66), Patrick Wey (78), Ryan Lowery (92), Kurt Davis (98),
Goalies: Philipp Grubauer (31), Nauris Enkuzens, Taylor Nelson
The first day, there was a wide variety of drills, most of which were not particularly difficult or hard, though both groups were on the ice for a fair bit of time. We expect it was to allow the players of find their legs for the coaching staff to get an initial feel.
On Day Two, there was fewer drills, but they lasted for a longer amount of time and were a bit more difficult. They were also more interesting to watch. The players seemed much more comfortable today and were a little more aggressive on the ice. They weren’t shy on hitting and getting rough along the boards.
Overall, most of the prospects did not catch either of our attention greatly, simply because they were average, which is to be expected as such a young age. By far, Cody Eakin (who, tragically, has a haircut reminiscent of a 1970s porn star) and Marcus Johansson were the most impressive out of the bunch, which didn’t take us by surprise. Kuznetsov, the Capitals’ first round pick this year, as well as our fellow 1992 baby, looked extremely happy to be there, and generally seemed to be enjoying himself. It was adorable. His attitude reminded us of Laich, just having a good time and taking advantage of the opportunity. We also noticed that Joe Finley was chatting with the coaches and trying very earnestly to prove that he belongs in the organization. He obviously wants to be given a chance and be taken seriously. And, good news! Brett Flemming is not so tragically awful as he used to be! Now, he is simply average, not the worst one on the ice, which is a good thing because now Meghan and I don’t feel as silly for liking him. No one particularly disappointed us, except perhaps, Gustafasson. To us, it just kind of seemed like he wasn’t into it, wasn’t trying as hard as he could. Maybe it was an off day. Who knows. We also noticed that Grubauer, the German goalie drafted this year, has a lot of vulnerable spots in his goaltending. As Meghan put it, “His five hole was gaping”. But, we’ve got to remember he is only 18.
Overall, it was exciting to see what the future holds for the Caps organization.
Now, as for the silly things that happened, we managed to have two more elevator adventures. On Day One, we found ourselves in the elevator with Stevenson (who we now adore) and another prospect, who we think was Mitchell on the way back from lunch. And, I’m proud to say that at least one of the prospects (Stevenson) knows his manners and full-on held the door for us, which redeemed prospects from the Holtby incident last year. I’m pretty sure we freaked him out with our over-excited “thank-yous!”. The second happened on Day Two, where we road the elevator down to lunch with Miskovic and two others. During the ride, Miskovic decided he would try to hold the “door close” button on the elevator to prevent it from stopping on other floors 0.o
Also, has anyone else noticed that Sean Wiles looks like Ovechkin from far away? Of course, not by skill, I mean looks (thankfully, though, he is not that unfortunate looking). Seriously, look!
It was a fun two days. We may be going on Saturday if we find the time and/or muster up the will to be around so many obnoxious people. If we do attend the scrimmage, expect another recap then. Pictures will be posted sometime tomorrow and linked on here as well as our twitter (@hockeychronicle).
For more official coverage of development camp/other points of view, be sure to check out Japers’ Rink. To view videos taken from camp by the capitals, go here.