A New Challenge Awaits...

Posted by Dave Nichols | Monday, October 03, 2011 | | 1 comments »

I started blogging March 14, 2007.  My blog was originally titled Bottomfeeder Baseball Blog, and I attempted to write about the Nats, Orioles, fantasy baseball, Capitals and other stuff.   It was not very good and nobody read it.  About that time, I also started writing about the Caps and the Nats at DC Sports Box, and I want to express my thanks to Al Santos for allowing me that great opportunity.

Since it was weird to write about hockey on a site with baseball in the name -- and I wanted to do things my way -- I started a second blog, what is now Caps News Network, on Oct. 13, 2008.  Since I'd been credentialed with DC Sports Box, the team credentialed my new blog soon after I qualified, and that's where we stand today, on the precipice of my fourth season as a member of the credentialed media covering the Washington Capitals. 

I will be eternally grateful to Ted Leonsis for his vision and Nate Ewell for his passion promoting independent media coverage of the Caps.  I'd also like to thank the Caps current Media Relations staff -- Sergey Kocharov, Kelly Murray and Ben Guerrero -- for continuing to put up with me.

Anyway, fter five years and 584 posts, I will be retiring Caps News Network. I've decided to combine my two blogs, pick up coverage of the other sports in town, and start an on-line sports page covering all of D.C. sports. You can find the new site at http://www.districtsportspage.com/. It's a monumental challenge for me, but I won't be alone.

I have recruited some of the finest local independent journalists to help me with the project.  Each sport/team will have a page editor who will guide content for those teams. Abram Fox, who used to cover the Caps for DC Sports Box, will be our Caps page editor.  I won't be writing as many game stories, but that will give me more time to concentrate on writing analysis and opinion, which I think suffered with all my daily responsibilities running my two pages.

We have several staff writers who will write game stories and analysis. We'll have contributors; folks that have their own blog but will occasionally post for us too. We'll continue to have fantastic photography from not only staff photographer Cheryl Nichols, but our good friends Brian Murphy and Anthony Amobi too.

Also, Cheryl's Off the Ice column will be coming with us, so if you're looking for the latest player appearance in the community, player birthday or photo gallery, it'll all be on the new site.

Hopefully, we'll continue to have you as well, reading and commenting on our material.

Please visit our new site. Tell us what you like, what could be better, and what you might like to see. It's still a work in progress, but we're excited to get it out there and give folks in the DMV another outlet to get sports news, analysis and opinion.

Thanks for making Caps News Network what it was. What started as a vanity project became something so much bigger, bigger really than I or anyone could have expected and it's all because of you. Thanks, as always, for reading.

Capitals Turn Up Intensity in Shootout Win Over Buffalo

Posted by Dave Nichols | Friday, September 30, 2011 | , , | 0 comments »

With every pre-season game that passes, the Washington Capitals have turned up the intensity a little bit each time.  Last night against the Buffalo Sabres, before a not-quite packed house at Verizon Center, they did so again in beating the Sabres 4-3 in a six-round shootout.

Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green and Matt Hendricks all scored in regular time and Tomas Vokoun made 21 saves on 24 shots to lead the Caps to their second pre-season win.  After a scoreless overtime, the game went to a shootout, where the normal three rounds just weren't enough.  Backstrom beat Ryan Miller on the Caps sixth try and Vokoun stopped Luke Adam to finally secure the victory.

The Caps played loosely in their own end in the first two periods, with all three sets of defensemen breaking down, leading to scoring chances.  But in the third period the Caps played with more intensity and attention to detail, limiting the Sabres to just three shots in the final frame.

"Even though we were faced with some adversity there in the first couple periods, we didn't give up," said Mike Green from the victorious locker room.  "We showed our character."

Green thinks the gradual transition in intensity is an inherent thing.  "I think it's natural.  I think now we're starting to wind down to our roster and guys are getting ready to actually play and get focused on the season. I feel like training camp is one thing, once the season starts you change your mind-frame."

Matt Hendricks agrees with his teammate on the natural progression.  "I think what helps is that we're getting a little more comfortable with what we're doing with each other.  I think when you're hesitating you're thinking too much out there.  The game doesn't seem to be as fast as you kind of get that underneath of you.  You start picking up the speed, things start to get more physical and I think that was evident tonight."

Coach Bruce Boudreau chalked much of the uneven play of the first two frames to miscommunication as a result of having most of his regulars on the ice together for the first time this pre-season.  But talking things out in the second intermission seemed to lead to the better focus, especially on defense.

"I thought the energy and the forechecking in the first two periods was pretty good," Boudreau said.  "We got the results in the third period, but I think a lot of it was we worked hard in the first two periods.  But it was consistant for 60 minutes, which we hadn't done [thus far]. In the previous five games, in Chicago we were good for forty minutes, in Columbus we were good for the last 20 minutes, and you can go on and on.  We were good for portions of the game but it was important I think for us to get 'game legs' and game shape for 60 minutes."

The Capitals face Chicago again for the pre-season finale on Sunday at 5:00 pm at Verizon Center.  It's the last tune up before the games start to count next Saturday, when the intensity will surely be much higher than any of these pre-season games.  After training camp and a seven-game pre-season, the players, coaches and fans are all ready to get things going for real.

Capitals re-sign Jason Chimera

Posted by Dave Nichols | Thursday, September 29, 2011 | , , | 0 comments »

The Washington Capitals announced Thursday via press release they re-signed winger Jason Chimera to a two-year deal, which runs through the 2013-14 season.  Terms were not disclosed in accordance with team policy, but several outlets report the deal is worth a total of $3.5 million, resulting in a salary cap hit of $1.75 million per year.

The speedy Chimera plays regularly on the Caps third line and had 10 goals and 16 assists in 81 games last season, finishing minus-10 for the season.  He averaged 13:15 of ice time and had 64 penalty minutes.

In the playoffs the last two seasons, Chimera scored three goals and four assists in 16 games.  He registered a memorable double-overtime game-winning goal against the New York Rangers in Game 4 at MSG last season.

Chimera was a fifth round pick of the Edmonton Oilers in 1997 and has 98 goals and 215 points in 581 career NHL games over 11 seasons.  The Capitals acquired him from Columbus in December of 2008 for then-captain Chris Clark and defenseman Milan Jurcina.

About the White Nets

Posted by Dave Nichols | Tuesday, September 27, 2011 | , , , | 1 comments »

Nobody likes change.  Especially a change that has little-to-no warning.  Double-especially on a change to a product or service after it has been paid for.  Sometimes change can be for the good, sometimes... not so much.

Last night at Verizon Center, a pre-season hockey game between the Washington Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets took place.  The Caps beat a Jackets team comprised mostly of AHL'ers 3-1.  Michal Neuvirth was solid in goal, veteran defensemen Dennis Wideman and Roman Hamrlik looked like they've played together for 10 years, and the "Mighty Mites" line of Cody Eakin, Matthieu Perrault and Chris Bourque provided a bulk of the scoring, leading the Caps to their first win of the pre-season.

But all anyone is talking about is the new white netting behind the goals at Verizon Center.

Yeah, there were a lot of folks in the arena complaining about the new nets.  Twitter was blowing up about it.  Bloggers blogged and pundits... pundited?  Anyway, we had to see for ourselves exactly how bad it really was.

Not that great, eh?

The problem, at least from our season tickets in Section 104, is that the white netting reflects the light not only from above, but the light that bounces back from the ice surface, leaving the protective netting much like trying to see through gauze.  The white netting actually draws your eyes' focus to the netting instead of through it. The black netting that has been in use in previous years absorbs the light, making your eyes focus though the netting to the play on the ice.

At least one other team acknowledges this phenomenon.  On the Detroit Red Wings official team page, there's a whole paragraph dedicated to the netting on their tickets FAQ. 
Why is the netting black and not clear or white?

The league conducted extensive research to determine the type of netting that would maximize both protection and visibility. Test results and other factors led the league to conclude that black netting accomplishes both of these very important objectives because it absorbs light, rather than reflecting it, and causing possible distortion of your view. The league determined that the white netting refracted the light and drew your eye to the netting, as opposed to directing your focus through the netting and onto the players on the ice. The monofilament or clear netting also reflected light and is more difficult to work with because of its elasticity. The league concluded that black netting was optimal and the Club agreed.

Was the netting selected for TV reasons and not for the fans who sit in the seats?

No. The consensus of all involved in the league's research was that the black netting was preferential both in-person and as broadcast on television.
The Detroit Red Wings at least claim The League concluded that black netting was optimal both in-person and as broadcast on television.  So why the switch at Verizon Center?

Mike Vogel of WashingtonCaps.com had a blog post Monday before the game explaining the idea, that the team thought it would provide better viewing for fans -- both in the arena and on television -- noting the idea originated from a Comcast Sportsnet producer.  It seems in practice the nets didn't really have the intended effect.

This morning, as reported by The Washington Times Steve Whyno, the Capitals are re-evaluating the white netting after the complaints from the fans that attended the game.  Monumental Sports & Entertainment spokesman Kurt Kehl confirmed the team made the switch intending to make the game easier to watch both in the arena and at home, but said:
“If it doesn’t solve one of those or both of those, it’s not worth moving forward with it,” he told The Washington Times. “If it’s something that’s distracting and disruptive of our fans viewing the game, we’re not going to continue with it.”
The Capitals, and owner Ted Leonsis, are normally very sensitive to the needs and complaints of their core, the season ticket holders.  Mr. Leonsis routinely patrols the concourses, talking with fans about the game-day experiences.  He solicits fan input regularly and publishes his e-mail address for fans to reach out to him with their concerns. 

If the original idea was indeed believed to benefit the fans, and the opposite occurred, I'm fairly confident the team will properly address the situation.

The Capitals play at home again Friday night against Buffalo.  I guess we'll all be waiting to see the color of the protective nets.

UPDATE:  Ted Leonsis made a comment very similar to Mr. Kehl on his personal blog this morning.

McPhee's Comments on NHL Realignment

Posted by Dave Nichols | Monday, September 26, 2011 | , , | 0 comments »

Most of the Capitals Convention Saturday was about autographs, fan interaction with the players, and reuniting with old friends and making new ones.  But during the panel discussions there was some pretty decent information passed along if you were willing to pay attention.

One such case was in GM George McPhee's panel in the morning.  Once known as "The Undertaker", McPhee has gotten really good talking with fans.  He's candid, up-front and, dare we say, funny on occasion.  He started his comments Saturday by saying, "If what I talk about today doesn't end up on the Internet this will go a lot better," but he didn't expose any state secrets while still being candid, and the fans in attendance ate it up.

His comments on NHL realignment were of particular interest to me, as I've always been fascinated by the geography of professional sports.  The youngster in me never understood how the Dallas Cowboys could play in the NFC East, for example.  I wrote my senior thesis in college on expansion and alignment of all four major sports in the U.S.  That was in 1989.

As a result of Atlanta moving to Winnipeg, the Southeast Division will have a strange look to it this season, not to mention some very long road trips.  McPhee said the situation will probably be rectified at the Governor's Meeting in December, but to his knowledge things are still very much in the air about what to do about it.  He said the "easy" thing to do would be to slide Columbus into the Eastern Conference and Winnipeg into the Western Conference.  But as in life, the easy thing isn't always the right thing to do.

McPhee suggested that Dallas and Colorado would like out of the Pacific Division and Detroit would like to come east, and the situation in Phoenix makes everything more difficult, so there are a bunch of issues that still need to be sorted out.  As with everything else in sports these days, the end result will come down to money.

But of particular interest, McPhee said one of the plans that's on the table would feature two 15-team conferences with two divisions each of eight and seven teams (based on time zones), with eight teams qualifying for the playoffs.  He supports the top two teams from each division plus the next four best teams, instead of the top four in each division.  For me, I'd love to see teams have to fight their way out of the division for the right to play in the Conference Finals.  That's how rivalries are really built.

McPhee mentioned that one of the favored plans would see the Capitals play in an Eastern Time Zone division with the New York-area teams, Philly, Carolina and the two Florida teams.  It's not quite the Patrick Division reunited, but it's probably as close as we're ever going to get.

It would be great, in this hockey fans' view, if the Caps were able to renew division rivalries with the Flyers, Rangers, Devils and Islanders.  In the last decade, the Caps have watched fellow Southeast Division teams win the Stanley Cup, yet those "rivalries" still don't compare to the level of hatred for the old-time rivals.  I might be one a few left, but every time the Caps go to the Island I want them to hang a half-dozen on them.  If you're as old as me, you know why.

This alignment will be good for the NHL as well.  It's no secret the Caps are a huge draw right now, with Ovechkin's individual popularity matched only by that of Sidney Crosby.  Having Ovechkin play a few more games in the New York market has to be good for television and marketing.  But then, the league has never made a game-play decision based on marketing, have they?

Very Quick Impressions from CapsCon

Posted by Dave Nichols | Sunday, September 25, 2011 | , | 1 comments »

Here are some very quick, incomplete and probably incoherent impressions of CapsCon today at the Convention Center.

1)  If the President of the United States is speaking in the same venue that 6,000-plus hockey fans are, someone may want to increase security.

2)  Also, he may want to pay his proper respects at Verizon Center at some point.  Just sayin'.

3)  Kevin Kaminski is more giving of his time than any human being that I've even met.

4)  Goalies are weird.  In a good way.

5)  George McPhee continues to amaze me.  Every time he steps in front of fans to talk with them he's more open, honest and forthcoming than the last time it happened.

6)  Don't ever ask Roman Hamrlik to dance.

7)  Tomas Vokoun really, really wants to win a Stanley Cup.

8)  Turn the damn music down!

9)   J.P. throws a heck of a party.

10)  No one can convince me that D.C. isn't a hockey town.

We'll have much more on the annual Capitals Convention tomorrow, including pictures and some of the players' impressions of the event and the support they get in D.C.

It was great to see so many friends -- old and new -- today at CapsCon. I kept telling everyone it was like the first day of school, getting to see so many friends we've missed over the summer. 

Thanks to everyone that came up and introduced yourselves to us.  We try to keep a professional demeanor on this space, but it's very gratifying to know that a) people are reading us and looking at our photos and b) you think enough of us to come up and introduce yourself.  Thanks very much.  It was a long, but really great day.

Rock the Red, indeed.  (photo by Cheryl Nichols)

First Annual Caps Alumni Game Kicks off Convention

Posted by Dave Nichols | Saturday, September 24, 2011 | , | 2 comments »

The retired heroes of Washington Capitals' teams past walked by on their way to the locker rooms like a parade of memories. Don Beaupre. Calle Johansson. Mike Gartner, carrying a Toronto Maple Leafs equipment bag. Mark Lofthouse, who wore No. 8 before it was cool. Peter Bondra. The list went on and on.

For anyone that grew up on these names, these players, it was a thrill seeing them at all, let alone a couple hours later when they took the ice wearing those familiar uniforms with the stars down the sleeves and pant legs.

Hey, wasn't that Ron Lalonde?

In the end, Team Langway defeated Team Laughlin 5-4, but it wasn't without a scramble at the end when Laughlin, now a broadcaster for the team, pulled goalie Brett "Stretch" Leonhardt for an extra skater in an effort to tie it up.

"Yeah, we had seven guys on the ice there for a while because I didn't think six was enough to try to tie it," Locker said, "And plus I knew [Referee Bill] McCreary wasn't gonna see it anyway."

"But I thought it was great. You know what it is though, I really wanted to win -- badly -- cause I hate to lose, plus I hated to lose to Langway. But, in the big scheme of things, the fans, the hype, and seriously, that's what it's all about. They're all guys that have played here before that are excited to get back to the community anyway they can and we think the alumni can be a big part of the community in building even a bigger Washington Capitals network. So, I thought it was terrific."

Peter Bondra talked about how the competitive fires took over late in the close game. "No matter what, hockey players say, 'We'll take it easy,' but in the end everybody wants to try to win the game. When the game got tied up, there was hooking going on, tripping, slashing. You can't hold back, you just go 100 percent and have fun

Did you see John Druce?

The youngest alumni that dressed for the game was Leonhardt, the team's web producer for four years. "Stretch" also suited up for practice on occasion as an extra goalie, and famously dressed for one NHL game on a special one-day contract when the Caps had an injury at the position and couldn't get a backup up from the minors by the time the game started.

"When they asked me I couldn't believe there wasn't someone else that's been here a long time as a Capital that was available,"Leonhardt said before the game. "I knew there were a lot of injuries and guys that didn't play anymore, so I don't know, I was obviously really excited. Even though I'm not really an alumni, I was part of the organization for four years, so it's cool. So I'm so excited."

Was it all he thought it would be? "Better. No matter how slow a guy looks or how old he looks, their hand/eye [coordination out there, their vision on the ice out there was incredible. If they've lost a step, it doesn't matter. They were professional hockey players at one time in their life and they know where to be on the ice and it was a pleasure to be out there, for sure."

Look, it's Dennis Maruk!

Several alumni that played last night also played at the Caps/Penguins alumni game that was part of the Winter Classic last New Year's. Goalie Don Beaupre was one of those players, and he said he had not put his pads on for nine years before that and hadn't put them back on until last night."

I was at the Winter Classic and that was a lot of fun, so it was easy to say yes and come back here and play with these guys," Beaupre said from the winning locker room. "Some guys that weren't there New Year's were here today so it was fun to see the guys still play. It was pretty impressive, some of those guys can still go. Just a fun night all around."

Yvon Labre can still bring it!

One of the highlights of the event was when Alan May -- one time NHL tough guy now team broadcaster -- and Kevin "Killer" Kaminski dropped the mitts at center ice just before the face-off to start the third period. The pair appeared to be really going at it for the benefit of the fans, but spent much of the fight punching each other in the shoulders. But a few punches at least grazed each other's face, as they were both bloodied after the bout.

"Oh yeah, he hit me about three times," Kaminski said afterwards, smiling. "We were just supposed to throw over the shoulder but he hit me a few times, but that's the way it goes. We're both that kind of same player -- competitive, do anything it takes for your teammates. It was a lot of fun, I had a blast out there. It was great to come back and see everybody again, and it was a great crowd to put on a little show for them."

Kaminski also addressed the size of the crowd for the alumni game, which rivaled the size of some of the crowds he played in front of during his active days. "This town is crazy about the Caps. What a great move, to move to the building down here [Verizon Center]. The sea of red, you know, unleash the fury, all that stuff. It's absolutely amazing the way it's caught on down here."

Bondra noted the crowd as well. "It's great for fans. I saw a lot of my jerseys [in the stands], a lot of Rod Langway jerseys. So it's good to see those people get a chance to come here and see us doing this and good for the Caps to have us here."

Ken Sabourin looks like he could still play.

Mike Gartner, recently elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame and just the fifth member of the 700-goal club, was delighted to see so many of his old teammates. "It was really good for me personally. There's some guys there that I haven't seen for 15 years. So it's really good to get connected again and we're gonna go out after to a restaurant and just kind of try and catch up. It's really a lot of fun."

When I remarked to Gartner that he still had his "wheels", he replied, "Well, not completely. But there still something there."

There was still "something there" in all of those players last night. And for the fans assembled, seeing them one more time like that was a fond and nostalgic trip down memory lane, and a great way to get fired up for the return of today's heroes and the new season.

Boudreau Juggling Lines in the Pre-Season

Posted by Dave Nichols | Friday, September 23, 2011 | , , | 0 comments »

I don't blame all the breathless Tweeting and posting from Kettler this week about how Bruce Boudreau is tinkering with possible line combinations.  We're all excited for the return of hockey and unless there's an injury or trade there's not much else to write about during a practice from training camp. 

Knuble's on the second line?  Johansson is still with Ovi!  Ward could play first or third RW?  Etc, ad nauseum.

But let's face it, this is what Boudreau does.  And this is what pre-season is for.  Especially with all the new veteran faces out there, it's a good time to mix things up and see who might be comfortable playing with whom. 

The big thing that Troy Brouwer and Joel Ward bring to this team -- other than an innate toughness -- is versatility.  Both players have experience playing up and down the line up and on either wing and are defensively responsible.  You could see either one of them playing comfortably on any of the top three lines.  And during the course of an 82-game season, we probably will.

So what is the best combination of those lines?  Who knows, really.  Mr. Fancystats over at RMNB does a great job of number crunching and his research is a good place to start the discussion with.  But Boudreau rarely sticks with line combinations longer than a few games, if that.  Is it better to keep static line combos, or move players around giving opponents different looks all the time?  It's a fascinating question.

Recently, Boudreau has talked about staggering the power play personnel so that he can put a scoring line on the ice following the man-advantage.  It's an interesting theory to be able to roll out a scoring line while the opponent's top defensive players are recovering from killing a penalty.  But all things considered, wouldn't just be more efficient to take advantage of the extra man?

It's fun to pretend we're the coach, doodling line combos on napkins at lunchtime.  But ultimately, it's the players who decide who plays where with their performance.  Boudreau can do all the tinkering he wants, but eventually you have to dance with the date that brung ya.  My bet is that at the end of the season, Ovechkin and Backstrom will still have played together more than any other combo on the team, despite all the pre-season juggling.

Capitals Cut 13 Players from Training Camp

Posted by Dave Nichols | Wednesday, September 21, 2011 | , | 0 comments »

The Washington Capitals cut 13 players this morning from training camp before travelling to Columbus for tonight's pre-season game with the Blue Jackets.

Among the cuts were Stan Galiev, who had a strong camp, and Danick Paquette, who was acquired in the off-season trade with Winnipeg for Eric Fehr.

Galiev was sent back to St. John of the QMJHL, his junior team, after a strong showing in both the rookie game against the Flyers and in Tuesday's pre-season opener against Nashville.

All of the players cut except Galiev are expected to report to Hershey's camp, which begins Sept. 25.

The rest of the players cut were:

F Francois Bouchard
F David de Kastrozza
F Kyle Greentree
F Boyd Kane
F Maxime Lacroix
F Graham Mink
F Garrett Mitchell
F Danick Paquette
D Paul Baier
D Zach Miskovic
D Phil Oreskovic
D Dustin Stevenson

Caps Slush Through Baltimore Hockey "Classic"

Posted by Dave Nichols | Tuesday, September 20, 2011 | , , | 0 comments »

The best thing to say about the Washington Capitals 2-0 loss to the Nashville Predators at the Baltimore Civic Center 1st Mariner Arena, is that no one got hurt due to the ice surface.

By all accounts of those that witnessed the event in person, the ice was soft, cracked, and pooling with water all night long.  The new voice of the Capitals, radio play-by-play man John Walton, remarked at every opportunity how poor the playing conditions were and how the pooling water and slush made stick-handling near impossible.

Of course, those conditions favored the plodding Nashville squad, who try to slow the game down at every opportunity regardless the conditions.  But the outcome really isn't the story coming out of this one.

I certainly understand the Capitals desire to reach out to the Baltimore community, and it's a nice gesture playing a game up there for loyal fans to see their team without having to schlep down to D.C. for once -- even if it's for just a meaningless pre-season game.  But if you're going to host a National Hockey League game, you darn sure should be required to provide an ice surface that neither impacts the game nor is potentially injurious, and the 1st Mariner Arena staff failed miserably by all accounts.

It's not like the game was played outdoors in a steady rain, or anything.

The Caps will get a chance Wednesday to shake the sting off this one off, as a squad will travel to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets at 7:00 pm.  The team has not announced at the time of this post who will be part of the travelling team.

Tomas Vokoun Gets Down to Business with Capitals

Posted by Dave Nichols | Monday, September 19, 2011 | , , | 0 comments »

“When they tell me to play, I’m gonna go on the ice and gonna play the best that I can.”

Of all the new faces on the Washington Capitals this season, none is more experienced — and perhaps none more under the microscope — than 35-year old netminder Tomas Vokoun. Vokoun has toiled his entire career 13-year NHL career for bottom-dwelling teams, first during the infancy of the Nashville Predators, then the last several lost seasons for the Florida Panthers. Yet, he has consistently been one of the better goalies in the league in terms of save percentage and goal against average yearly, despite playing for teams that have made the playoffs just twice during his tenure.

Vokoun famously signed a one-year deal for about one quarter of the market price for starting goalies to have a chance to play for the Capitals, citing the opportunity to play for the sport’s Holy Grail as the motivating factor.

After the Caps’ first training camp practice Saturday, Vokoun met the D.C. media for the first time and gave a really in-depth interview about all sorts of aspects about his transition, his relationship with countryman and fellow goalie Michal Neuvirth, his preparation for the season and what his expectations are for the upcoming season, both for the team and his own personal goals.

How did your first practice with your new teammates go?
“It felt good. I’d say it was a little bit harder than it usually is. I travelled [Friday] all day, but I felt good, it was a good up-tempo practice and thankfully for us — wasn’t overly hard so it felt good. Nice to kinda slowly break in and you don’t want to first day, you don’t want to pull something that’ll set you back longer. You want to go in and work hard, but it wasn’t too bad.”
What do you expect your workload to be this season?
“You know what, that’s coach’s decision and I never want to, in my career, include myself in those decisions. Coach always make the decision who’s gonna play and whoever that is that’s obviously his job. For me it’s to prepare for every game because quite frankly, you never know. You may not think you’re gonna play and end up playing and vice versa. But like I said, it was never made, those decisions myself, and I’m not expecting anything in that department to change this year.”
Have you had a chance to sit down with coaches Dave Prior and Olie Kolzig yet?
“I talked to Dave quite a bit when he was in Czech. We sit for a good three hours. Right before I left, last week when I was [in D.C.], we talked a little bit. It’s a long season. I think we’re gonna have lots of time we can spend together. I always enjoy working with people. For every goalie coach I play for there’s a little bit different mindsets on how things are supposed to be done. It’s good to learn and listen to other people on what they have to say. That’s how you learn new stuff and hopefully improve your game. For me, at my age I’m kind of on the baseline of what to do but you always need many hands and it’s good to have a guy that has so much experience and been around this team so long. He knows a lot of stuff. I’m just gonna kind of slowly find out.”
Does your preparation change at all going from a bad team to a favorite?
Actually, not at all. I played in international competition when I play on teams where we’re considered favorites, and I played in the Olympics, things like that. So, for me, it doesn’t change. It doesn’t matter who is in front of you, my job is to stop the puck. That never changes. But obviously both are different things, there are different challenges you have to face. As a goalie in the NHL, you have to be able to deal with all of them. So for me [the preparation] doesn’t change. Definitely not in the preparation. My preparation doens’t change if it’s a pre-season game to playoff game. At least for myself, I play every game I want to win. Obviously, it’s not possible, but you prepare that way and and I say last ten years I’ve been preparing the same way for every game. So I don’t think anything will change for me.”
What’s your relationship with Michal Neuvirth? Is it difficult or a benefit that he’s a countryman and that he looked up to you growing up?
“People think it’s something but it’s not. It’s a little bit different because there’s always gonna be things people gonna say in the paper back home and stuff like that, something I’m not worried about. I have a great relationship with my teammates and I alyaws did, even with all the goalies I played with. I keep relationships going with basically every guy I played with as a goalie. We call each other and stuff like that. I’m really easy-going. Michal said a lot of nice things about me, and that’s totally appreciated. But everybody understands that it’s a performance-based business and a competition. But I’ve been around long enough to be able to deal with that. Hopefully I can learn something from him, he can learn something from me and we just try to make each other better. Every year, it sounds like a cliche, but it’s true, because if you stay the way you were a few years back you wouldn’t be in the league anymore. So I’m looking forward to it.”
Is the pressure different playing on a team that’s expected to go deep in the playoffs?
“It’s gonna be, for me, hopefully, I’m gonna have the chance, which I didn’t have the last few years, to sit in that crease some games and you know, that score is 4-1 or 5-1 and I don’t have to worry every minute of every game. If it’s 1-1 or 2-1, every mistake you make people tell you ‘Oh, [you] give up bad goal and we lost’. You know, it’s kinda hard when every game is like that. Once in a while you’re gonna give up bad goal. I think we have a great team we have a chance to have… hopefully we’re going into the season, these 82 games, to build a good foundation to do what we want to do and go far in the playoffs and I think nobody here is setting up goals in the regular season. The messages was pretty clear over the summer. Obviously, the games are played on the ice, but what happened in the summer I think makes a great team even a little [more] improved from that, so it’s up to us players to perform up to our abilities and hopefully it’s gonna be enough to do what we want to do.”
Does it help that there are players here alreayd that you’ve been teammates with?
“I played with Dennis, I play with Roman [Hamrlik] for long years on the national team. I played against Alex [Ovechkin] many times being in the same division and against Russia and he always makes it competitive.”

Why did you sign a one-year deal to come to Washington?
"For me, this is a chance I basically never had in my career. And you never know, you may not get another one. So I’m gonna do everything I can to take advantage and not to waste it. I’m glad I’ve got the chance to play for team like this. I’m at the point in my career that I didn’t even think it would be possible anymore. So hopefully it’s a refreshing thing for me and definitely through the summer I take the preparation real seriously and came here hopefully ready and start working to the goal to help this team. And whatever that means, that’s gonna be determined, but like I said, hockey’s a team sport and you need all kinds of different people with all kinds of different [roles] on the team. When they tell me to play, I’m gonna go on the ice and gonna play the best that I can.”

Quick Hits from Day One of Caps Training Camp

Posted by Dave Nichols | Saturday, September 17, 2011 | , | 0 comments »

Yes, some were sucking wind during the first day of camp. (photo by Cheryl Nichols)

We'll have plenty of quotes in a longer post later on, but here are some quick observations from Day 1 of the Washington Capitals  2011 Training Camp.  Everyone (including us) has been talking about the shaving cream pie in the face Alex Ovechkin received from some of his running mates for his birthday, but there was actually hockey content as well.

First, injury updates.  D Tom Poti failed his physical and will be placed on the Long Term Injured List, according to GM George McPhee.  Poti is unable to participate in hockey drills of any kind even after the summer of rehabilitation.  The team will try a different tack with his conditioning, McPhee said, but they have no timetable for Poti's return.  McPhee did say, rather matter-of-factly, that like Brian Pothier two years ago, if and when Poti is healthy enough to return the Caps will welcome him back.

Other players that had injuries at the end of last season, such as Troy Brouwer (shoulder), John Erskine (shoulder) and Dennis Wideman (leg) all took the ice.  Wideman said he was game-ready "when they put me in" and Brouwer announced himself 100 percent fit, but Erskine wore an orange jersey today, indicating no heavy contact.  McPhee described Erskine's full rehab from surgery as a six-month process, but the Caps expect Big John to be able to play before that.  For him, it's a strength issue, not a range of motion issue.

Another big topic of today was the conditioning drill, the first ever for the Capitals at the start of camp.  Everyone asked said it was a good exercise -- and some looked completely worn out after the test.  Coach Bruce Boudreau talked about it as "data points" to use in the future for following seasons as a base line.  Mike Knuble described it as "part ball-busting and part team building," and that probably hit the nail on the head.  By the way, Knuble, participating in Group A with Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander Semin, Brooks Laich, Marcus Johansson and Mike Green, "won" his flight.  It's a testament to the 38-year old's conditioning and core strength.

The only player to not complete the conditioning test was new D Roman Hamrlik.  Out of an abundance of caution, Boudreau instructed Hamrlik to stop the test when the veteran defenseman complained of his groin tightening.  We noticed in the team portion of his groups practice that Hamrlik appeared at times to not be going 100 percent full power.  Boudreau expects Hamrlik to practice Sunday and take the test perhaps next week.

Every player interviewed reiterated that this team will be measured not on regular season performance, but on the success -- or failure -- in the playoffs.  Newly acquired veterans such as Tomas Vokoun and Jeff Halpern spoke about their upcoming opportunity in D.C. as their best chance at a Cup in their careers.  Returning Caps veterans spoke about accountability and a renewed focus on the team construct.  It's telling that so many of the Caps veterans arrived to Kettler early the last couple of weeks, ready to meet this year's challenge.  It'll be interesting to follow this season to see how many are able to retain that enthusiasm as the seemingly endless regular season plods along.

We'll have much more over the next couple of days, including George McPhee and Bruce Boudreau talking about leadership, accountability, and their effort for the sport's top prize.  We'll have an in-depth discussion with goalie Tomas Vokoun, in a very daunting spot as a one-year free agent backstopping a championship-caliber team and the challenge of playing with a countryman -- at the same position -- who looked up to him as a youngster.  And comments from many players, new and returning, about their quest for the ultimate goal.

Oh, one last thing.  Brooks Laich was -- of course -- the first player on the ice this morning at a little past 9:00 am.

Photos: Ovi's Birthday Shaving Cream Pie

Posted by Cheryl Nichols | Saturday, September 17, 2011 | , , , , , , | 1 comments »

After the first day of Caps training camp, several of the players spoke to the media. Alex Ovechkin was near the end of his comments when Nicklas Backstrom and Brooks Laich decided to give Ovi a shaving cream pie in the face for this 26th birthday! And apparently, teammates had already given Ovi one in the locker room so this was the second one of the day. 

Here are photos of the fun, including the reactions from Nicky and Brooksy who were thoroughly enjoying themselves. It was obvious that this was a tradition because Backstrom said, "This was payback!" It is nice to have the boys back in town!

"This was payback!" - Backstrom

All Photos by Cheryl Nichols/CapsNewsNetwork
Caps 365 Video:

Capitals to Wear Third Sweater Select Road Games

Posted by Dave Nichols | Friday, September 16, 2011 | , , | 0 comments »

The Washington Capitals announced this morning via press release they will be wearing the Winter Classic uniforms for 16 select road games in the upcoming season.  We cannot applaud this move enough.
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals will wear a third jersey modeled after their 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic jersey for 16 select road games during the 2011-12 season, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today.

The primary color for the uniform is white and closely resembles the team’s original jersey, worn from 1974-75 through 1994-95. The original Capitals wordmark is featured on the front of the jersey with six stars above it and five stars beneath the numbers on each sleeve.

The Capitals will wear red pants and white helmets with their new third jerseys.

The jerseys are available online at shop.NHL.com and will be available at the 2011 Capitals Convention presented by GEICO and Kettler Capitals Iceplex starting Sept. 24. The Verizon Center Team Store will begin offering the new third jerseys at the first preseason home game on Monday, Sept. 26 vs. Columbus.

Below is a schedule of the games the Capitals will wear the new third jerseys:

Saturday, Nov. 26 at Buffalo Sabres 7 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 23 at New Jersey Devils 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 18 at Montreal Canadiens 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 20 at Carolina Hurricanes 7 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 22 at Pittsburgh Penguins 3 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 4 at Montreal Canadiens 2 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 12 at New York Rangers 3 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 20 at Carolina Hurricanes 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 25 at Toronto Maple Leafs 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 10 at Boston Bruins 1 p.m.
Friday, March 16 at Winnipeg Jets 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 18 at Chicago Blackhawks 6 p.m.
Monday, March 19 at Detroit Red Wings 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 22 at Philadelphia Flyers 7 p.m.
Monday, April 2 at Tampa Bay Lightning 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 7 at New York Rangers 3 p.m.

(photo by C.Nichols/Caps News Network)

Capitals Fall to Flyers 3-2 in Rookie Game

Posted by Dave Nichols | Thursday, September 15, 2011 | , , , | 0 comments »

In the grand scheme of things, the vast majority of the players on the ice today will never wear a sweater in an NHL game.  But for the rookies and free agent invitees that donned Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers gear for the annual rookie game, this game meant a lot to whether or not they would be gainfully employed playing for those respective organizations when camp breaks.

And for the fans, it didn't much matter who was wearing it, they were representing the Capitals and a return from a much-too-long summer of disappointment from another early-round playoff exit.

That the Flyers rookies defeated the Caps rookies 3-2 is pretty much immaterial.  In this case, it's not the "how many", but how the individuals handled their assignments, displayed their talents, and held their composure.

The Caps had a few standouts in this one, and they are names you'd expect to be on that list.  Defenseman Dmitry Orlov was the best player on the ice for either team in the game.  Stan Galiev had a beautiful drop pass to set up the first Caps goal by free agent Garrett Ross.  Garrett Mitchell had the second goal -- a third period rebound effort -- and did his customary work along the boards and in the corners.  Both goalies, Philipp Grubauer and Brandon Anderson were solid, with Anderson making a pair of spectacular saves in the late going.

Of course, some players have to take other measures to get noticed, so there were a handful of fights as well.  Dustin Stevenson, who donned the captain's C for the contest and also assisted on the Mitchell goal with a blast from the point, mixed it up, along with Reid Edmondson and Danick Paquette, acquired along with a fifth round pick for Eric Fehr.

Centers Cody Eakin and Mattias Sjogren, in a battle for perhaps the last roster spot with the big club this year, were both solid if unspectacular, and played together on the first power play unit.

So this first game -- scrimmage really -- is in the books.  Everybody got their feet wet, some players stood out and Caps fans finally got a small taste of the game.  With the veterans reporting Friday and camp opening in earnest on Saturday, the pressure gets ratcheted up a notch.

Who's ready?

Is It October Yet?

Posted by Dave Nichols | Monday, September 12, 2011 | , | 0 comments »

It's been quite a summer, eh Caps fans?

First, it started way too early.  Then GM George McPhee re-signed the most expensive roadside assistance technician, traded all of his draft picks and former starting playoff goalie and acquired a quarter of this season's roster in 24 hours.  For good measure, he locked up a cornerstone on the blue line for a fraction of market value.

There was a good amount of buzz about Development Camp, but then we entered the doldrums of summer where lack of actual hockey news led our idle minds into discussions of immeasurable concepts and unsavory topics.  Pictures of Ovi surfaced that were less than flattering, forcing the Captain, the organization and now the team trainer to certify that no, Ovi's not fat, rather he's in the best shape of his life.  Then, of course, Matt Bradley voiced his opinion, opening all sorts of debate once again about leadership, chemistry and roster construction.  Now this.

I won't simply dismiss the concerns of some that think this team -- the whole organization, really -- is too "soft."  Is there a maturity issue?  Perhaps.  Does the organization coddle their superstars and show preference to those with higher salaries or stature?  Only those in the room know the answer.  Do we take the words of former players, possibly disgruntled, as gospel or is there a bigger picture that needs to be examined?  Either way, in my viewpoint there is nothing traitorous about discussing whether full effort or proper preparation has been given in the past.

What I know is this: the players report Friday for their physicals and Training Camp opens this Saturday, most likely before a filled-to-capacity crowd at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.  Capitals hockey is being devoured like never before across our region and there appears no quenching that thirst.  Perhaps that all-encompassing devotion has lead to our late summer of rumor-mongering and name-calling. 

This is a fan base comprised of some very long-suffering faithful and even more recent converts.  After the raised expectations of the last few seasons though, the all-encompassing desire to see Lord Stanley's Cup finally raised in D.C. by those wearing the home team on their crest has produced enough passion that it has boiled over in some circles to the point where opinions are no longer respected and tolerated, and that's shameful.  The only folks Caps fans should bicker with are Flyers and Penguins fans.

There are huge expectations for this team, as there have been for the last few seasons.  But with all the moves McPhee made earlier this summer, there seems to be a renewed immediacy, at least for those closest to the organization.  Needs were identified throughout the roster and players acquired to address those needs.  A legitimate No. 1 goalie -- not someday, but right now -- fell into their laps. 

The players are in place.  Now is the time to get back on the ice and get to business.  Hockey is hard.   If it were easy, everyone would win a Cup. Twenty-nine teams lose every year.  There is nothing dishonorable about losing after giving full effort.  It's time for that effort to be renewed.  Not in words, but by deeds, on and off the ice.

Let the speculation end.  Let the back-biting and snipping and innuendo cease.  Let the media -- both mainstream and independent -- get back to reporting on hockey.  Let Caps fans put away their petty differences of opinion and unite to Rock the Red together again. 

It's not quite October yet, but finally -- finally -- we can see it from here.  And not a moment too soon.

Capitals Announce Training Camp Schedule and Roster

Posted by Dave Nichols | Monday, September 12, 2011 | , | 0 comments »

The Washington Capitals announced their training camp schedule and roster via press release today:

Every practice open and free to the public

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals will begin their 2011-12 Training Camp at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Saturday, Sept. 17, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today.

Training camp will last 19 days with the NHL regular season beginning on Thursday, Oct. 6. This marks the Capitals’ fifth training camp at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, the Metro-accessible, inside-the-Beltway practice facility that features two NHL-sized rinks. All on-ice sessions, like every Capitals practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, will be open to the public and free of charge. The training camp roster will be broken up into three squads (Teams A, B, C) and their schedule will vary.
Washington will play its first preseason game at the Baltimore Hockey Classic on Tuesday, Sept. 20 vs. Nashville at 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore. The Capitals will open the 2011-12 regular season versus the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, Oct. 8 at Verizon Center.
2011 Washington Capitals Training Camp Team Assignments

3 Tom Poti.......................... D
4 John Erskine..................... D
8 Alex Ovechkin.................. LW
17 D.J. King........................ LW
19 Nicklas Backstrom.......... C
21 Brooks Laich.................. C
22 Mike Knuble................... RW
28 Alexander Semin............. RW
30 Michal Neuvirth............... G
41 Patrick Wellar.................. D
43 Kyle Greentree................. LW
44 Roman Hamrlik................ D
46 Patrick McNeill................ D
52 Mike Green...................... D
62 Sean Collins...................... D
83 Jay Beagle........................ C
90 Marcus Johansson............. C

6 Dennis Wideman............... D
15 Jeff Halpern.................... C
16 Ryan Potulny.................. C/W
20 Troy Brouwer................. RW
25 Jason Chimera................. LW
26 Matt Hendricks................ C/LW
27 Karl Alzner....................... D
29 Tomas Vokoun................. G
38 Christian Hanson............... C/RW
39 Danny Richmond............... D
42 Joel Ward......................... RW
45 Zack Miskovic................... D
53 Jacob Micflikier................. LW
54 Joel Rechlicz..................... RW
55 Jeff Schultz........................ D
56 Chris Bourque................... RW/LW
59 Julien Brouillette................ D
67 Matthew Ford................... RW
70 Braden Holtby................... G
74 John Carlson...................... D
85 Mathieu Perreault............... C

23 Keith Aucoin...................... C
34 Boyd Kane........................ RW
35 Dany Sabourin................... G
36 Francois Bouchard............. RW
51 Graham Mink.................... RW
57 Paul Baier......................... .D
58 Maxime Lacroix................. LW
64 Andrew Carrol................... LW
72 Phil Oreskovic................... D 


Saturday, Sept. 17
9:15 a.m.Group A Practice
11:15 a.m.Group B Practice
1:15 p.m. Group C Practice

Sunday, Sept. 18
9:45 a.m.Group B Practice
11 a.m.Group C Practice
12:15 p.m. Group A Practice

Monday, Sept. 19
9:45 a.m.Group B Practice
11 a.m.Group A Practice
12:15 p.m. Group C Practice

Tuesday, Sept. 20
11 a.m. Morning Skate (1st Mariner Arena)
10:45 a.m. Scrimmage (Kettler)
7 p.m. Baltimore Hockey Classic vs. Nashville Predators

Wednesday, Sept. 21
9 a.m. Morning Skate
10:15 a.m. Practice
11:45 a.m. Practice
7 p.m. Game at Columbus Blue Jackets

Thursday, Sept. 22
10 a.m. Practice
11:45 a.m. Practice

Friday, Sept. 23
10 a.m. Morning Skate
11:15 am Practice
8:30 p.m. Game at Chicago Black Hawks

Saturday, Sept. 24
10 a.m. Practice
10 a.m. Capitals Convention presented by GEICO

Sunday, Sept. 25
10 a.m. Practice
11:45 a.m. Practice

Monday, Sept. 26
10 a.m.Morning Skate
11:15 a.m. Practice
7 p.m. Game vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

Tuesday, Sept. 27
10:30 a.m. Practice

Wednesday, Sept. 28
10 a.m. Morning Skate
8 p.m. Game at Nashville Predators

Thursday, Sept. 29
11 a.m. Practice

Friday, Sept. 30
10 a.m. Morning Skate (Verizon Center)
7 p.m. Game vs. Buffalo Sabres

Saturday, Oct. 1
11 a.m. Practice

Sunday, Oct. 2
5 p.m. Game vs. Chicago Black Hawks

Monday, Oct. 3
Day Off

John Carlson Throws First Pitch at Nats Game

Posted by Dave Nichols | Thursday, September 08, 2011 | , , | 0 comments »

(D.Nichols/Caps News Network)
Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson threw out the honorary first pitch before the first game of a doubleheader between the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers Thursday afternoon.  Luckily for all, there was a long enough break in the rain, at least downtown, for the event to not get washed out.

Carlson spoke to a few reporters from the press box high atop Nationals Park after the ceremony about his experience, the upcoming NHL season, and recent tragedies that have affected the hockey community.

Asked if he'd ever done anything like that, Carlson replied, "No.  I've played baseball but never at that length, from the mound.  It was interesting.  It was fun."

Joking on if his pitch was a strike, Carlson laughed.  "It was inside, right on the plate.  It was looking pretty daunting once I got up there [on the pitching mound], but once I threw it I was decently happy with it."

"I was most happy when it was over with," he kidded about the pressure of being on a Major League pitcher's mound, "But it was fun."
(C.Nichols/Caps News Network)
On trying his hand in a sport without skates on his feet, Carlson responded, "It's different.  I played soccer this summer too [in Mia Hamm's charity event] and that's a change of pace for me. I'd never played soccer.  That's what everyone says about something like that, but what if they get on the ice?  It's a different story then."

Nats relief pitcher Collin Balester, a southern California native, was Carlson's catcher, and made a point to mention to him that he was a big Anaheim Ducks fan as they made their way off the field. Nats relief pitcher Tyler Clippard is also a big hockey fan and roots for the Tampa Bay Lightning. "They're big hockey fans.  You can't expect everyone to be from Washington," Carlson rationalized.

The Caps and Nats have done quite a bit of cross-promotion over the years, and Carlson thinks it's good that the D.C. teams support each other.  "It's great.  It's great to meet them, it's great that all the D.C. sports [athletes] intermingle and I think that I've seen them all at our games now and I love coming out to [Nats] games, I love going to Redskins games and D.C. United.  It's great to see all different types of sports and all these elite athletes."

With training camp a little over a week away, Carlson's excited to get back with his teammates -- returning ones and the new additions.  "It's gonna be exciting.  It's gonna be different.  I'm looking forward to a new season and a new team, too."

"Our mindset right now is first off getting to camp, working our hardest as a team, to get to where we need to be for the first game of the season."

The Caps have added several new players to their mix, so this year's training camp is going to have a little bit different feel to it.  "It's gonna take a while for us all to get used to each other," Carlson said. "They're all great players -- all of the new guys.  I'm really excited to have them on the team and it's gonna be fun."

The mood turned serious for a few moments when Carlson reflected on Wednesday's tragedy in Russia, as a plane carrying the team of KHL's Lokomotiv Yaroslavl to their season-opening game crashed just after take-off, killing all but two passengers.  "The hockey world is fairly small, I think, and instances like this, people are affected.  It was kind of a gloomy day outside too and [the weather] seemed like it just fit right in with the mood.  You never want to hear about something like that and when you talk about it being the whole team, it's just terrible news. Everybody around was affected by it."

The event in Russia adds to a particularly sad off-season in the hockey world, with three NHL players and a minor league player all passing this summer.  Carlson tried to accentuate the positive as the hockey world, a tight-knit community to begin with, has become even closer under the trying circumstances.  "You see all the support from everyone which is good.  Everyone's kind of rallying around each other to stay with it and try to figure some of these things out, and also to mourn the loss of people, and now [Lokomotiv]... It's devastating. But you have to look at is and see what the problem is and go from there."

Updated with Video of First Pitch:

Caps Announce Rookie Camp Schedule and Roster

Posted by Cheryl Nichols | Wednesday, September 07, 2011 | , , | 0 comments »

Capitals Announce Rookie Camp Schedule and Roster

Every practice open and free to the public

ARLINGTON, Va. – Capitals rookies will take to the ice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex next week for the 2011 Washington Capitals rookie camp, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today.

Several players will participate in rookie camp, which begins Sunday, Sept. 11, with a 10:30 a.m. practice and runs through Thursday, Sept. 15, when the Caps rookies face off against the Philadelphia Flyers’ rookies at 5 p.m. at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

The public is welcome to attend every practice, free of charge, beginning Sunday, Sept. 11.

Head coach Bruce Boudreau and players will be made available to the media following the on-ice session of each day (approximate times listed on the next page). Please make player requests to a member of the Caps media relations staff.

Note: A complete rookie camp roster and schedule follows on the next page. Veterans will report to training camp on Friday, Sept. 16 for physicals and fitness testing. The first practice session and media availability will take place on Saturday, Sept. 17 at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. A training camp roster and schedule will be released at a later date.

2011 Washington Capitals Rookie Camp Roster - Click here

Numerical Roster

31    Philipp Grubauer.......... G
33    Mattias Sjogren............ C/RW
40    Steffen Soberg.............. G
47    Scott Wietecha............. D
49    Stanislav Galiev........... C/LW
50    Cody Eakin................... C/LW
54    Danick Paquette........... RW
61    Mitch Elliot.................... LW
63    Garrett Ross................. LW
65    Samuel Carrier.............. D
66    Dustin Stevenson......... D
68    Brett Flemming............. D
73    Luke Lockhart............... RW
76    Garrett Mitchell............. RW
78    Brandon Anderson...... G
81    Dmitry Orlov................. D
87    Samuel Henley.............. LW
88    Reid Edmondson......... F
89    David De Kastrozza...... RW/LW
94    Jimmy Oligny............... D
95    Thomas Frazee............. C
96    Taylor Stefishen........... LW
97    Tyler Ludwig................. D
98    Nick Tabisz................... D

Rosters as of Sept. 7, 2011
* Amateur Tryout Agreement