Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Musings From Scrimmage

The Washington Capitals weren't afforded a preseason game. They would have to make do with an affiliate team from Reading Pennsylvania to bus in for a little scrimmage. The Reading Royals bused it to town to give the Caps and their coaching crew a chance to look at just what they have.

Things started off slow enough. Head coach Adam Oates thought as much as many of his players are not in game shape with the season opener in just 4 days away. It started slow for the Caps, but it would be a collision that would wake them open half way through the first period. Alex Ovechkin plowed into Marcus Johansson and it looked as if both players were seriously hurt and laid on the ice for a few heart stopping moments.

"I think that woke everyone up," said Oates. "I guess we better pay attention."

Ovechkin was cut on the chin from what looked like Johansson's helmet. Both returned to the ice shortly afterward. 

For the coaching staff, the scrimmage offered them a chance to use the system with their personnel the Caps have. "We filmed the whole game so tomorrow we can show the guys the reads," Oates said of the purpose of the scrimmage. "It's so much different when you can see yourself and your linemates."

"It's good for our team as a whole," Braden Holtby said of the scrimmage. "It gives us a chance to watch video of ourselves doing what Adam [Oates] is trying to apply here."

Getting Oates' system down was more of a priority for the Capitals than any evaluating players or even making sure the puck is in the back of the net. That competitive pace was helpful for both coaches and players get a better idea of how to see Oates' system.

The Capitals won the scrimmage 8-0 and below are just a few thoughts of the scrimmage in general.
  • Mike Green sat this one out. PR staff said it was due to a cold and the coaching staff said he was not going to lace 'em up for this anyway.
  • The overall action started slow, but picked up especially after the Ovi/MJ90 hit. Both teams were told to lighten up on hitting, but the Royals did play physical with the Caps. Hillen got popped late in the first period and drew blood, but didn't miss any significant ice time.
  • Ovechkin had a goal and two assists. Both him and Nick Backstrom looked pretty good. Backstrom was getting into board scrums and didn't look at all affected by any injury nor did he shy away from any hit. 
  • The talent level from the NHL to the ECHL is leaps and bounds. Often the Royals were left standing around in awe of the quickness and precision of the Caps with the puck.  
  • Oates certainly doesn't mind the defensemen jumping up on the play. On several occasions the D-men stepped up in to the play, John Carlson had a goal by doing just that.
  • Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth shared duties and both allowed 4 goals against each. When Holtby was asked if both it was the goaltenders plan to give up 4 each he chuckled, "I don't think either of us wanted to do that," he said.
Some pics I took, enjoy..

Holtby chilln' on the sidelines

Hearts stop as training staff checks on Ovechkin down on the ice

Troy Brouwer making a better door than window

Nick Backstrom gives Ovi a look as if to say, "You ready?"

Ovechkin talking to the Royals Russian players Galiev and Kostenko

A game well played deserves a handshake

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