If there was a word that captured the morning session of Day Three of Washington Capitals Development Camp 2014, it was “pace.” Wednesday was very much an up-tempo day as the prospects tackled situational scenarios – one-on-one, two-on-one, two-on-two-and three-on-two set-ups. There was a lot more contact in today’s session, and little time to catch one’s breath between repetitions.
It seems part of a progression that began Monday to get the guys’ skating legs under them, and then structured drills on Tuesday. Today’s situational drills is just the next step before intrasquad scrimmages on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday to close the week. As this was going on a few things caught our eye.
- Riley Barber might have had the nickname “H.G.” early on. It seemed every shooting opportunity was one for him to go high glove. He picked a few, too.
- Andre Burakowsky is, as one might expect, bigger than he was at last year’s D-camp, but he looks quicker, too. He covers a lot of ground...uh, ice quickly while not seeming to expend a lot of effort doing it.
- Burakovsky and Michal Cajkovsky had a few of battles of the big guys. The latter held his own in most situations against the former. Cajkovsky really seemed to use his body well to keep Burakovsky from generating or maintaining any momentum, especially when dueling along the wall.
- Want to learn how to skate backwards? Try this drill… You are the defenseman at the top of the offensive zone faceoff circle. Your opposite number is at the far hash marks of the circle along the wall. At the whistle the offensive player takes off down the wall with the puck, the defenseman skating backward and tracking the offensive player until they approach the blue line (if he doesn’t get an opening to poke the puck away or body the opponent off the puck first). Then the defender can turn and press forward to try to angle the offensive player off his line to the net or otherwise prevent him from getting off a shot. It puts the defender in an uncomfortable position from the start of the play, but one he’s going to see any number of times going forward. Some guys could keep up; others struggled to keep the offensive player from gaining advantage or a breakaway.
- Jakub Vrana has a nasty snap shot. Gets on a goalie quickly. From time to time we were thinking the same thing of Miles Koules and Braden Pimm.
- Sounds of hockey… puck hitting crossbar: PING! Shot going wide and hitting glass: CRACK! Player being run into the boards: RUM-M-M-M-M-BLE. Then there was the odd sound coming from time to time when goalie Vitek Vanecek was in goal, sort of like a really loud egg cracking. Seems he is not averse to using his mask as another blocker, not unlike Henrik Lundqvist. Or maybe his head was just in the way. Either way, it was effective.
- How fast was the pace? They weren’t even waiting for the ice resurfacer to clean the ice. In each of the morning groups, the guys started on the public rink, then when that ice was sufficiently chewed up, and it was time for a natural break, they took a breath at center ice and marched across the hall to the Capitals rink for the second half of the session.
- Connor Carrick pulled on a white jersey and skated with the first group in the morning session.
- It seemed like a bigger crowd at Kettler this morning than either of the first two days. Here are some pics of what they saw…
Turned aside by Taran Kozun...
At this point, fans would be screaming SHOOOOOOOOT!!!