Thursday, August 30, 2007

Future Watch

Other than the big news that Steve Czaban will have to find a new team to pick on, there's not too much going on in NHL world. So let's shift gears a bit and look at some junior hockey with more than a few ties to the Caps...

- We'll start out west with the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL, who have had a huge turnout at their annual rookie camp. Roughly 80 youngsters turned out for the opening of the camp yesterday despite the fact that the Hitmen have very few roster spots left. Calgary and the Caps have a relatively rich connection over the past few years, with current Caps Matt Pettinger and Jeff Schultz both putting in some games with the Hitmen and recent draftees Karl Alzner and Keith Seabrook expected to play for them this season.

One name of note among the rookie hopefuls is Ian Schultz, little brother (a relative term at 6'2") to Caps d-man Jeff and draftee of the Hitmen in the 2004 Bantam draft. If he makes the squad he'll be following in his big brother's footsteps just as they planned when Ian was drafted three years ago, a wide eyed kid of 14 who looked up to Jeff as a role model. Apparently Jeff was pretty helpful with the advice at the time:

"He tells me to use more than one move because he always stops me on it," Ian admits.
Hey, who knows - if the kid heeds the advice of his elders and if the Caps continue their penchant for drafting WHLers, we may soon see a Schultz brothers reunion here in DC...

- On to another Caps' connection - the London Knights of the OHL, headed up by coach Dale Hunter and GM (and Dale's brother) Mark Hunter. The Knights are also in the midst of preseason preparations, with 60 young talents competing for a spot under Huntsy's watchful eye this season. Most notable among the training camp attendees are this year's number one pick Patrick Kane, buzzworthy Akim Aliu, and Cornell standout Tony Romano.

Anyone taking bets on how long we have to wait before Dale Hunter takes over as bench boss in the NHL? He's making quite a name for himself with those Knights.

No comments: