In the words of an assistant coach, "Development camp is... development camp". It is no more or less of what you make of it. For the Capital brass, it is more about inventory. What do they have and what can they use down the line. Rosters are not set because of last week, and no eyebrows were really raised. Take from it what you want, but it is simply a gauge that some players will be measured at when fall camp takes place.
17 year old Garrett Haar turned heads with his play (what a fantastic first name too). It even compelled a general manager to call in a favor with Boston College to get the prospect a chance to continue his development at the NCAA level. Not bad. "Just have to have the right school come through for him here," George McPhee stated about Haar's development and the "I can neither confirm nor deny" way of telling the media he wants to see him improve in the NCAA.
Cody Eakin, the new dark horse to make the roster since pint sized Chris Bourque (who also returned to the organization this off season), had a pretty flat camp. That was to be expected since he played some pretty spectacular hockey just 5 weeks ago. "I think he will be ready in September," scoffed GMGM. Take that critics.
Caps new play thing from Sweden, Mattias Sjogren, looked out of sorts at times. It was to be expected from a European player faced with North American hockey up close and personal for the first time. Good thing he is taking this experience as a learning tool to prepare him for camp. "It is just about orientation," McPhee said of his summer signing Swede. "He has probably not been in too many games where they are hitting and scrapping like this."
The slew of other players did okay, or did alright. No one knocked the socks off the coaching staff. When the big boys come to town, one will see the difference between professional athletes and prospects that might never see the light of Hershey (Josh Godfrey ring a bell?).
What took most people by surprise was the gigantic red wall that was once white behind the stands at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. It took awhile to get used to it along with the team secondary eagle logo and "Home of the Washington Capitals" sprawled along the side. Just in case you did not know where you were.
It is more important for the fans in way than it is for the players or coaches. Fans will not see the red, white and blue for another month, month and a half as we have reached the dead zone for hockey in Washington DC. The long period where replays of the recent playoff stretch dominates the NHL Network and news travels the speed of print journalism.
Getting through this period of time takes a bit of patience and a little luck that the Washington Nationals are actually flirting with the idea of staying above the .500 mark for the rest of the season. The other is to talk hockey with friends and family or any one who will listen. I have had the same conversation 5 times with another hockey fan at work about Tomas Vokoun, and I am sure we will discuss it again this morning.
It sucks, but hold out hope. The season is not as far away as you might think and you have the bloggers who will speculate, the writers who will fact find, and Bruce Boudreau's ketchup smeared face on DVR recordings of 24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the Winter Classic (oh, you didn't save those, bad fan!).