Okay, for lack of better taunting name for the Southeast rivals, the Capitals start the season on the road in Atlanta against the Blousers. That is bad too. The Caps announce their schedule yesterday and their first home game is October 6th, against the Hurricanes (or as my wife calls them, a stiff wind).
Rookie Camp apparently is going well. I had the chance to check out some of the drills yesterday and caught the first 30 minutes of the scrimmage. I had just a couple thoughts about the rookie camp. Oskar Osala is a big kid. Listed as 6'4", 222 lbs., he has some good speed too for a big guy. He is no defenseman either, listed as a left winger, he does have some soft hands. His speed and hands make him an eyebrow raiser for the coaching staff.
Nicklas Backstrom doesn't really belong in this group, and you can kind of tell that he thinks that too. During drills Nick basically skated around everyone, and he was just playing on another level. But during scrimmage, he looked half speed in the first 30 min. Granted, I couldn't stay for the entire session and I am just going off of what I had seen, but Nick didn't move his feet and hardly backed-checked. Wash Post did a feature on him, good read.
Joe Finley seemed timid to me, as well as Karl Alzner. The two defensemen prospects sometimes seemed lost during drills, but were both able to quickly pick up after a couple of mistakes. Neither showed any physical presence during the scrimmage. I am sure all of that will change as camp goes on.
Simeon Varlamov is a great goaltending talent. But just needs a little more experience. The Caps did sign the Russian goaltender who seems excited to be in DC playing for the Capitals. His reflexes are good, pretty solid positioning. He was by far the best goaltender at camp.
Other than that, it looked like many of those kids were starting their a life of career AHLers. A few did show their speed, but just seemed to lack those stand out skills. Again, it's early in camp and I am sure their will be more fireworks as camp plugs along. As players try to impress coaches, the level of hitting, stick handling and passing should start to rise.
On a final note, the practice jerseys the Caps had, both in white and navy looked very good.