I got a brief chance to check out the goings on at training camp this morning. I got there just as the morning practice for the B squad finished, and stuck around for most but not all of the scrimmage between groups A and C.
Just some observations.
Nick Backstrom, to me, looks fine. Except for the fact that he has tacked on a few pounds since last year. In the skating drills, it just looked to me that it wasn't the ankle that was holding him back, rather he seemed to be a little winded.
Boyd Gordon is one focused dude. This is an important camp for him because the roster is tight and there are several youngsters gunning for his spot. While guys might be joking around him, Gordon has a very serious look on his face through out practice.
Joe Beninati stood next to me at the glass for a few minutes as we watched the warm ups for the scrimmage. I told him what a difference it was going from rookie camp to training camp. Throw a few veterans and everyone is that much bigger. He agreed and added how much faster the action was. Then we sort of stood there in awkward silence. Man, he's short.
The scrimmage was fun to watch, looks like Micheal Nylander's shoulder is just fine. He is interesting to watch with the puck in and out of traffic. He is a master with his stick. Alex Ovechkin looked like he was going half speed, until the defender was Mike Green. Then it was all out for the fiesty left winger. Green had his hands full, but I must say held his own.
Speaking of Green, he is beaming with confidence. He looks a little heavier than last season, and he completes the 4-1 offense often. He carried the puck deep in the zone and stayed apart of the play for long periods of time in the scrimmage. While it's fun to watch Green do his offensive thing, sometimes he would leave his defensive partner high and dry. Only Shaone Morrisonn and Karl Alzner were able to cover defensively when ever Green shot up ice on his own.
Don't tell Quintin Laing that it's only a scrimmage. He jumped in front of an Ovie bomb from the point on the penalty kill, continuing to show he has the puck blocking skills that endeared him to the team last season. And it's so good to see Chris Clark back in action. He looks like he wants to do well every time he is on the ice, and he is doing well. His gritty determination and leadership was sorely missed last year on the ice.
It's hard to believe, but tomorrow is the last practice before preseason starts in Carolina. It will be the rookies chance to shine and I expect that most of the veterans will sit this one out. Caps play the Carolina Hurricanes at 7 pm, Wednesday. Not sure if it will be televised, maybe on the internet. Find out more soon.