The first intrasquad scrimmage of the Washington Capitals development camp went pretty much as expected. It was -- for the most part -- sloppy and disjointed, with most of the goals coming off scrums instead of being the result of skill. But we saw an older prospect look like the more experienced hockey player that he is, we saw the offensive prodigy struggle to stay on his skates at times, and we saw a pair of Russians stand out, one for his play -- the other for some snarl.
Caleb Herbert, Stan Galiev, Travis Boyd and Aaron Schmit all scored for Group B, who controlled the tempo for much of the game. Andrew Cherniwchan and Garrett Mitchell scored for Group A.
Galiev had a good game, playing along side Mattias Sjogren and Cameron Burt on the "first line" for Group B. His goal came as the result of some hard work along the boards by Boyd and Sjogren, and he and his Swedish center had a two-on-one that Galiev should have buried against Brandon Anderson but fired high.
Sjogren was the most impressive player on the ice though. He dominated Cody Eakin in the faceoff circle, using his impressive upper-body strength in the dot. He also wore Eakin out on several occasions, bumping the smaller player off the puck in consecutive possessions behind the net. Sjogren skates with his shoulders forward, always ready to turn on the jets, and that's how he got to a puck that swung him for the 2-on-1 with Galiev.
Eakin flashed some of the skill that he's renown for, including slicing though the entire defense to get a shot off in the second period. But those types of plays were few and far between today, and Eakin confessed after the game that he felt a little rusty on the ice today.
One of the unanticipated results from today was the physical play of Dmitry Orlov. He got into a tussle early and at the end threw a wild elbow that, luckily for both parties, did not connect. In the second, he made a big, low open ice hit on Taylor Stefishen that was a very borderline hit for me in a game against an opponent, let alone in an intersquad scrimmage. Stefishen left the arena today on crutches.
The other injury today came to Wade Epp, a big-framed defender. He got turned around on a play and fell hard into the boards, and did not return to the game. He seemed to be favoring his left leg as he was helped off the ice, but other reports said he was holding his arm as he went into the dressing room.
Coach Bruce Boudreau noted the physical aspect of the game. "They played hard. There was a lot more physical contact than the last two development camps, at least early on for the first game."
One of those physical players was Danick Paquette, acquired just last week in exchange for Eric Fehr. Paquette was one of the more active players on the ice today, finishing his checks and always getting a stick on the player he was defending. He certainly brings a good bit of energy when he hits the ice.
Of the goalies, Philipp Grubauer made the biggest impression, especially considering he's just recently started skating after being sidelined with mono and unable to work out for about five months. Boudreau noted that in talking with goalie coaches Dave Prior and Olie Kolzig that Grubauer has a calmness about him, able to smother pucks that others would allow to bounce around.
The other notable event today: the Caps re-signed C Mathieu Perreault to a one-year, two-way deal. Boudreau said after the game that he envisions Perreault, Sjogren, Eakin and recently signed Christain Hanson competing for "one or two" spots on the opening night roster.
Here's the schedule for the rest of camp:
Thursday, July 14
9 a.m.: Intrasquad scrimmage
Approx. 11:30 a.m.: Media availability
Friday, July 15
9:30 a.m.: Group A on ice
11:15 a.m.: Group B on ice
Approx. 12 p.m.: Media availability
Saturday, July 16
Capitals Fan Fest
10 a.m.: Intrasquad scrimmage
Approx. 1:00 p.m.: Media availability