It was just a practice, but already rookie Capitals' players are starting to impress. Cody Eakin is one of those young players that has the coaching staff eager to put him in with the big boys.
"I want to see him in an exhibition game or two at the NHL level," Head coach Bruce Boudreau said. "He's the one junior that's come here I think saying forget it I want to play in the NHL this year. He had a great junior year and we're going to give him a chance to see what he's got."
Other players just found it hard to keep up with the rigorous first practice. Stanislav Galiev had a hard time with the skating drills and had to take a knee or two late in practice. The 86th overall draft pick found himself out of breath as the practice wound down.
Braden Holtby didn't need to be on the ice with the rookies, but with the log jam of pro netminders working out together it was tough to find some ice time. Holtby took part of the practice to get in some work and ice time before fall camp begins.
Joe Finley made an early impression as he takes a spot back on the blue line. His experiment at forward in last year's camp is over as he is looking for a permanent job with Hershey next season. He had a freak arm injury while playing with the South Carolina Stingrays. Finley comes with a new attitude and a bit more composure according to Gabby.
"He's a lot more composed and better, I think," Boudreau said. "[He's] another year older, he's played one year, albeit a short one because of an injury shortened season, at pro. He wants to be a regular in Hershey and he's come here with that determination. I like him."
I would expect tomorrow's practice to be just as tough as today's work out. The rookies are prepping for the rookie game against the Flyers on Thursday.