There were a few standouts this morning for me. John Carlson is a lot faster than he was last summer. Along with his improved speed is his overall look. He played well. Besides a few flubs here or there, Carlson's play was heads above shoulders better than his piers. He also looked to be a good leader as he had to fill in the details to his line mate Dmitri Orlov (who also did well today I thought) on what they were doing. Defenseman Josh Godfrey returns to camp coming from the championship winning ECHL South Carolina Stingrays. He did well this morning and is playing with some confidence.
The line of Jake Hauswirth, Stefan Della Rovere and an invitee named Meyer were the best line I have seen in camp thus far. In a 3 on 3 drill, the three moved the puck effectively along the wall and keeping their feet moving. The result was a pretty top shelf goal and the only time I said "great play" all day. Della Rovere looks as if he gained some weight and his confidence is over brewing on the ice. He looks stronger and smarter than last summer.
Dean Evason, assistant coach, was in charge of the practice. The coaches ran the players through a series of complicated drills to test the players ability to think quickly. Hershey's new coach, Mark French, was also on the ice often stopping drills for better instruction. The practice was a physical and mental workout for the players, with emphasis on speed and accuracy.
One player that impressed me with his speed was Cody Eakin. The kid's got wheels with his size his biggest down fall. At one point he chased down a line mate in a drill the length of the ice with at least two strides behind him.
Anton Gustafsson seemed a little lost in the crowd today. He was neither outstanding nor bad. It could be that it is day two, but I was expecting a bit more.
Tomorrow afternoon there will be the intrasquad scrimmage, the first of three. Many players will be looking to make an impression on the Caps' management so expect each one to be a competitive and enjoyable event to watch.
- It was brought to my attention this morning that the Detroit Red Wings had the player rights to prospect Nils Backstrom. It's true that Backstrom was drafted by the Red Wings, but they never signed the player making him a free agent.
- The Capitals re-signed Boyd Gordon. He accepted the one year, $761,250 contract to stay with the Caps.
- The Dave Fay Memorial Hockey Game is set. It's an event with celebrities playing for a good cause. The game will be on July 25th at Kettler.