The Capitals had their Media Day today at the Verizon Center. Being a well known blogger (to like 5 of you out there), I had an opportunity to crash the luncheon. So putting on my Sunday best, I sat through ridiculous traffic and pulled into the phone booth garage.
I actually wanted to see the team photo and sit through the Caps practice on Verizon Center Ice. I was surprised to see Brian Potheir dressed and in the team picture. He is still apart of the team, but his head injuries will keep him from seeing little, if any, ice time. I tried to snap a few pics, but my camera died on me.
The practice started a little late as after the pic was taken, the VC crew took a good 10-15 minutes to get the scoreboard back up. The practice was pretty intense; lots of hard skating. As you may have heard already, Alex Ovechkin left early and looked like he was wincing as he left. Alex Semin followed soon after, but not before he was stopped by Bruce Boudreau. Semin pointed where it hurt and Gabby rolled his eyes and let him go.
As far as I could see, based on the jersey color coordination, the lines looked like this:
Viktor Kozlov seemed to still be feeling the after effects of a strained groin, but he did not leave practice. For the most part practice was pretty uneventful, besides Ovi and Semin leaving. Dave Steckel took a big spill into the net after he made a nice move to get around John Erskine. He laid on the ice for a bit before shaking it off. When I talked to him later, he said he was fine.
After practice was the big luncheon. The players trickled in and soon players were pulled one way and the other by the press core to ask a plethra of questions. Are expectations too high? How is the chemistry on this team? Are you excited for the season? Did you see the games in Europe? How about them Red Sox? How do you pronounce "Jose"?
For the most part I just stood back and watched as players drudged from station to station. Watching as most of them go through the motions it's interesting to see which players enjoy the limelight, and who just wanted to get out of there. Alex Semin, whose English is getting better, walked around the room like owned it. Nick Backstrom couldn't find the exit soon enough.
I mostly talked to the reporters and Hockey Mom picked me out of the crowd. I don't know how she did, but it was nice to see a couple of bloggers there.
The only interview I did was with Dave Steckel who was waiting for Matt Bradley to finish up. Even then it was sort of a breezy conversation that didn't really go anywhere. We talked about how long the training camp seemed to drag on, and the large gap from preseason games to the regular season.
I hadn't thought of it this way but the Caps have a week between games, then they have jump a plane to Atlanta, play their first regular season game, jump back on a plane and get back to DC for the Home Opener. "It's gonna kick our... butt," Steckel conceded.
Overall it looked as if the players were ready to get it started. Talking to the media is just a necessary evil. Many players ate their lunch and headed for the door. I didn't blame them either. And with that, I headed out myself.