Training camp is now in its fourth official day and things continue to click along for the Caps out at Kettler. I had the unique opportunity this weekend to share the full training camp experience with some of the ladies from HLOG, who traveled far and wide to see our very own Capitals in action.
They may have smirked at Semin falling to the ice or joked that Olie was too slow to stop a sleeping turtle, but I think the general consensus was that the Caps looked okay and a good time was had by all - so good that I forgot to update the Cheap Seats with the weekend's training camp activities! Oops.
Seen and heard this weekend:
- Bradley, Sutherby and Laich have been playing on a line together throughout camp and seem to have found some nice chemistry, providing gritty, hard-nosed play combined with some pretty passing sequences that are very promising.
- Michael Nylander is absolutely one of the best puck handlers I've ever seen. After drills yesterday Nylander stayed out on the ice with camp invitee Grant McNeill to work on puck handling. (Video is available by clicking on the picture at the bottom of this post, by the way...it's pretty impressive to watch, and I've even set it to dorky music just because I can.)
- Speaking of Nylander, he and Semin have provided a flashy one-two punch together and have really seemed to click, which throws even more line combination possibilities into the mix. I've said it before, though - it's nice to have options, and having a glut of players that can fill numerous positions with numerous partners is a great problem to have.
- Kolzig really doesn't like to get scored on. Especially by Matt Bradley.
- Classic moment of the weekend: Ovechkin vs. Kolzig in one on one drills yesterday. An increasingly frustrated Ovie is routinely stymied by the big goalie, who of course mocks him and even throws in a little celebratory dance for good measure (and if you've never seen Olie doing the cabbage patch in full goalie equipment, you haven't lived). Alex makes him pay on his next try, though, and responds with a victory dance of his own along the boards, much to the delight of the Sunday morning crowd.
- Jurcina and Klepis were messing around after Group A's practice yesterday and at one point Klepis came tearing around the net followed closely by Jurcina, who chased Jakub over the boards before skating away with a grin.
- I haven't really gotten a good look at Kozlov, although he and Ovie seem to have some nice chemistry in the few moments I saw them together during a scrimmage. Both Viktor and Semin have taken pucks to the mouth since training camp started, but both have been back out there the next day good as new.
- Poti is...huge. Between him, Morrisonn, Jurcina, Schultz and Pokulok, that is one big blue line for years to come.
Here are some pics courtesy of Teka, one of the HLOGgers whose camera frankly kicked my camera's butt:
Unknown baby goalie (who was pretty impressive) and Werner
Next stop for Matt Bradley: Riverdance
We don't think Semin was as big a fan of us as we were of him yesterday...
...but that didn't stop him from posing half-naked for us laterYou can check out a slideshow and a few little videos I've created from the last two days by clicking on the picture below:
|Training Camp Videos|
Update: Per Tarik, Hanlon is planning to start the season with Nylander and Kozlov as his #1 and #2 centers, leaving Backstrom on the wing for at least the first few games. Interesting. That explains the Backstrom-Nylander-Semin line Tarik reported on earlier today - there is some serious dangling power on that line, that's for sure...
Update: Bouchard, Alzner and Godfrey have been returned to their junior teams, which shouldn't be too much of a surprise despite their strong showing in training camp. I know a lot of people were itching to see at least Alzner attempt to crack the lineup, but he's 18 - I'd love to see him get a little more experience, a little more polish and a little more time to be a kid before forcing him into the NHL. He'd get minimal time in the regular roster if he were to stay, and he'll have prime minutes working with the Hitmen. Best of luck to all three and I'm sure we'll see them soon!