The Peerless snuck away early on this Friday afternoon to see the next generation of Capitals skate at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. It was a two 30-minute halves, running clock scrimmage, and there was a fine crowd looking on in the stands and around the glass.
We are not particularly interested at this phase of the game to say "this guy was good," or "this guy has things to work on." It was an opportunity to hear skates dig into the ice, bodies crash into the boards, and the occasional puck sail into the net. The Peerless will say that Nicklas Backstrom and Karl Alzner are considerably more developed at their respective ends of the ice than the other kids, and that is not an insult to those other hard-working youngsters.
Backstrom seems to have the knack, as adverised, of being able to see how a play will unfold and move the puck smartly. Alzner, who in his posture and heads-up style looks like he's been doing this for a while, showed a knack not just for moving the puck out of his own end, but in giving his forwards a passing lane in the offensive zone to keep the puck in that end of the ice.
Michal Neuvirth looks as young as he did last year, but geez, the kid is quick. And, he was living right as he had a couple of pucks clang off the pipes behind him. And pity young Mr. Machesney...in warm ups he took a puck off the side of the head that sent him to his knees, but he was up quickly and didn't look too much the worse for wear.
Oh, and Joe Finley?....He is a very large young man, especially when he was splattering a guy against the glass right in front of The Peerless.
We had the chance to try our new digital toy, so gander at the following, and be kind in your judgments of my photographic skills...