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Friday practice update

Bob Woods and the coaches are probably the only ones who liked all of today's Capitals practice at KCI, which featured plenty of drills down low in the zone and was capped off by a timed mountain-skate. The players had to skate blue line back, red line back, far blue line back and goal line back all in under 45 seconds -- or they had to do it again in 50.

"They know it's not much fun when the stopwatch comes out," Woods, a Caps assistant coach, said with a laugh. "But when they're in shape they can do it in about 42."

But for all the groaning afterward, the players didn't mind the tough skate too much and most beat the mountain on the first try.

"It was a little harder out there than I think a lot of us expected, there were a lot of 3-on-3s and some disguised bag skates, disguised down and backs," Mike Knuble said. "The mountain, it sucks. You hit center ice and you hear 42, your legs are stinging but at least he only did it once. ... It's kind of a necessity. It's things you have to do to get you in that frame of mind for games."

There are 41 players left in training camp and the group likely won't be that large for long. Hershey's camp opens on Tuesday, and the first day of on-ice sessions is Wednesday. So it's probably safe to guess that there will be a round of cuts between the Nashville game and then.

Based on the workouts, here's who will likely face off against the Predators Saturday. Once again, Coach Bruce Boudreau said, the goaltenders will each play half the contest. Boudreau added that the players not traveling to Nashville will likely play in the first home preseason contest next Tuesday against Boston.

Forwards: Keith Aucoin, Nicklas Backstrom, Jay Beagle, Francois Bouchard, Cody Eakin, Eric Fehr, Matt Hendricks, Marcus Johansson, Mike Knuble, Brooks Laich, Grant McNeill and Steve Pinizzotto.

Defense: John Erskine, Mike Green, Brian Fahey, Lawrence Nycholat, Tom Poti and Jeff Schultz.

Goal: Michal Neuvirth and Dany Sabourin.

By Katie Carrera  | September 24, 2010; 1:48 PM ET
Tags:  Capitals Predators, washington capitals  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Who ya got?: Capitals' open roster spots
Next: Morning roundup: Caps stick to the D they know


Katie update the schedule link please

Posted by: Redwolf1 | September 24, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see Coiner getting a shot. He's small but so's Martin St. Loowee. He could be a 1 or 2C somewhere (problem is, that's all he can be...he can't really be a 3rd or 4th liner...)

Posted by: RedLitYogi | September 24, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Aucoin has more of a shot being a 3rd or 4th liner in the NHL than a 1st or 2nd liner. He's not good enough to be a top 2 lince center in this league, that is why he's been buried in the AHL. He'd be best suited trying to move to the wing and just be an energy winger in my opinion.

Posted by: ThePat | September 24, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Ok, someone has to say it...isn't Tuesday the 28th of September?

Posted by: Blueline | September 24, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Ok, someone has to say it...isn't Tuesday the 28th of September?

Posted by: Blueline | September 24, 2010 4:07 PM

Next Tuesday is. Last Tuesday wasn't.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 24, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

@ Katie

The 26th of September is Sunday and I believe that Monday are the off-ice sessions. Tuesday starts the on-ice work.

From the Bears web site: HERSHEY – The 2010 Calder Cup Champion HERSHEY BEARS announced today that the club will open its 73rd training camp on the ice Tuesday, September 28 at Giant Center. The announcement was made today by BEARS President/GM Doug Yingst.

The BEARS will practice on September 28, 29 and 30 (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) at Giant Center, beginning at 10:00 a.m. each morning. Practice is expected to conclude each day at approximately 11:30 a.m. Head coach Mark French, in his second year behind the HERSHEY bench, will be available to the media after each skate, as well as the players currently assigned to the BEARS from Washington.

Posted by: Varly | September 24, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Ok, someone has to say it...isn't Tuesday the 28th of September?

Posted by: Blueline | September 24, 2010 4:07 PM


Um, yes it are correct.

Das Rhino

Posted by: Rhino40 | September 24, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Ok, someone has to say it...isn't Tuesday the 28th of September?

Posted by: Blueline | September 24, 2010 4:07 PM


um....yes it is.

Posted by: Rhino40 | September 24, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse


With the amount of bodies here for the Caps and the limited roster space and the inability to move some because of waiver restrictions and Sweden restrictions, it wouldn't surprise me to see a trade made.

Not a major trade that everyone wants, nor a trade for a #1D man or #2C, but just a minor trade of a forward, maybe BGordon, maybe Steckel, maybe AGordon(I'm just throwing out possibilities, no one get on me because I'm not suggesting that he should be traded)with a draft pick coming in return. This to free up roster space.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 24, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

@Tom - you were asking earlier about the tryout contract. Unless things have changed it basically means that they are compensated (similarly to minor league contracts) and within that contract they have insurance in the even anything should happen. It expires at the end of camp and at that point the team can offer a contract or just let them walk. They can actually cut the player or sign him to a season long contract anytime they want.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | September 24, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3 - That certainly wouldn't be out of character for McPhee to do something like that to keep the pipeline stocked. Or given the current lack of defensive depth, he may opt to trade an expendable forward for a lower tier defenseman.

Posted by: Blueline | September 24, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse


I though about B Gordon going out as well...just a thought, no science to my is awfully crowded and I think the Sweden issue is looming large.

Posted by: jeets | September 24, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

For those of you who think Zajac is going to get traded, I'm doubting that will happen. His younger brother is in their system. Certainly anything can happen but I bet he's staying.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | September 24, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

sgm: Any trade would be exciting, like when you get a new shirt. Before you had all the other shirts and now you have a new, fresh shirt. Unless it would be a "Sheldon Souray" shirt and I'd say, "Take it back - too expensive!"

pokerface: Thx. He's certainly helped himself so far.

jeets: Yes...the Swedish issue...isn't the UN trying to tackle that now? But I read the US walked out of the talks?

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 24, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Katie - have you ever had an "Ines Sainz" incidents?

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | September 24, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse


I'm sorry, but I looked at the pictures, and I just can't see Inez Sainz as being all that hot...I mean, look at her: I'd be afraid she might break something just going out for a walk, y'know?


Selma Hayak
Eva Green
Drew Barrymore
Jennifer Conally

now you're talkin'!

Posted by: Rhino40 | September 24, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see that Matt Hendricks is getting another shot tomorrow night.

Posted by: MReilly9 | September 24, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Ah, yes, cstanton1's latest man-crush...

Posted by: Rhino40 | September 24, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

cstanton SAID he was going salmon fishing.

Can he be believed?

Is it possible instead he is following Matt Hendricks' every move?

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 24, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3 >

got it. Agreed, a move would be a good idea, even for a 3rd pairing d-man and/or picks.

In a perfect world, MP and Maca rise beyond all expectations, Flash has a decent enough year to become an attractive option for other teams, and we get a 2nd pairing d-man or a center that compliments those other two, rather than makes them redundant.

I'm thinking the idea here is to let the 1st few months play out before making the moves - now is not the urgent time. And perhaps there will be some low-hanging fruit as other teams, notably NJ, struggle to get under the cap.

Posted by: RedLitYogi | September 24, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse


You're right about Aucoin moving to wing. He cant play 2C in the NHL.

In a perfect world some GM takes Flash for a decent D, and Eakin continues to progress at a rate that puts him on the team and ready for the playoffs. Nobody seems to want to discuss Eakin. This guy can play at the NHL level. He's going to be a factor in future playoffs. Unlike Flush, this kid will play playoff hockey. We need to start moving guys out who we know will never perform in the playoffs.

We need to make it clear that guys who have the talent and size (Fehr, Chimera, Laich, Green, et. al.) need to play like they want to win a Cup every shift they're out there.

I would not sign Laich to a big contract until we see how he plays in the playoffs. He can't sleep at night because he left alot on the ice against the Habs.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | September 24, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

@ All, re: previous discussion about GMGM's drafting abilities in late rouds (3rd and beyond):

I reviewed GMGM's moves since taking over, and compared them with the drafting of NJ, DET, PIT, NASH (Poile) in the same time frame.

Contrary to my previous unscientific guess, GMGM indeed ranked dead last in overall late draft efficiency in this little survey of mine, which was also unscientific of course, but was slightly more scientific than my previous guess.

I ranked the late round draftees into four categories: stars, consistently serviceable players for 2 or more seasons, notables who might have seen limited service at any given time, and total no-shows.

Zero stars for GMGM, with NSH & DET leading this category by far, NJ having one (Gionta-3rd) . I gave PITT a 1 in this category also, but I had to combine Letang (3rd) with Moulson (9th). Maybe not the right categorization, but I was being liberal because my original argument was in favor of GMGM and I wanted to be fair to the people who are anti-GMGM.

All of the other teams outpaced GMGM in terms of serviceable players, except for DET, who was tied. However, their serviceable players were better than ours.

A couple of interesting player notes:

Quintin Laing - DET 4th
Petr Sykora (the one the Caps gave a look at) - DET 3rd
Matt Hendricks - NASH 5th

GMGM's best late round pick: Oduya, 7th

What does all this mean? Everybody claiming that GMGM is a bad late round drafter might be on to something, depending on how the other 25 teams would stack up. Of course it doesn't tell the whole story. As an example, if any single player picked prior to Zetterberg was NOT picked, there's no way to tell if Detroit wouldn't have swooped in and snatched up that same pick. This is probably true some of the time. On the other hand, by the time you're this far into the draft, most teams are pretty much totally "off the board," and thus it is an indicator of their scouting ability if they pick a Zetterberg.

All this said, "late round drafting ability" is only a small part of what GMs are judged by. Early round efficiency is much more important, and that analysis can wait for another day. Consistent playoff success is by far the most important criteria, and that analysis is ongoing. GMGM needs to get cracking in this category.

Posted by: struggler | September 24, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse


Matty P - 6th round
Eakin - 3rd round

Posted by: Steve_R | September 24, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

@struggler the thing is there are only so many spots on a NHL roster. The Caps have had 16 first round picks since 2002. 10 of them are on the current roster (Also there is Eminger who is a decent NHL player who was traded for one of the 10, Carlson). That is about half of the roster that is being taken up by first round picks and that isn't including Johansson who could make it 11. Add in outside guys either signed from outside or guys who were brought in through trades (Bradley, Chimera, Erskine, Flash, King, Knuble, Poti, Sloan, Steckel) and you are up to 19 (20 if Johansson makes the team) spots on a 23 man roster. That means at most GMGM can only have 4 lower round guys on the team that were drafted by the Caps. Add in the second round Neuvirth and you are don't to 3 (2) lower round guys who could be one the team. You could argue that if GMGM had better late round guys some of them could take spots away from some of the lower guys (Sloan, Steckel come to mind) but it is not like those guys are not NHL level players. They are not high NHL levels but they deserve to be here.

You want to know why Detroit has so many lower round guys who are doing so well in the NHL? They had so many spots for lower guys. Since 2002 they have had only 4 first round picks and none have played more then a handful of NHL games. They also had success with going to Sweeden and Russia before there were as many scouts going there. Many teams felt that the Euro style couldn't win in the NHL so many were not as interested but Detroit thought they could. So players who had talent had some teams scared off (kind of like how a lot of Russin players fall down in the draft because of the KHL) and Detroit picked them up while trading away their picks to fill in needs as they found them. However now Detroit has lost some of that edge as other teams are going out and scouting those kind of players which is why they have so few young players on their team.

My point is this. Just because GMGM hasn't had many lower round picks make the NHL is not as much of an indication that he can't draft well in late rounds as some make it seem. Since he had so many top picks over the year the lower picks would have to overtake the higher picks in order to make the team. Detroit and some of the other teams do not have a lot of 1st round picks for the younger guys to out play in order to get roster spots.

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 24, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

3rd Lepisto
6th Tim Kennedy

Posted by: Steve_R | September 24, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

I was watching the highlights of the Caps/Jackets preseason game and only the third goal by Hendricks that really impressed me was the third one. It was a real good drive to the net from out wide and a nice move for the goal. His first goal was because the CBJ guy took out his own goalie and Hendricks hit the empty net. Hendricks' second goal looked a lot like both of Flash's goals. They were good shots but nothing real special. Eakin's goal was a good job in front of the net. It kind of looked like a Knuble goal. The guys look like they need to work on covering passes to the front of the net as that is how both CBJ goals were scored.

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 24, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of the NHL draft, I'm not sure if anyone saw the ESPN the Magazine NHL preview issue but there was a good story on the Detroit Red Wings scouting staff and GM and how they find so much high end NHL talent in the draft.

Guess what the Red Wings scouts and GMs(Holland and assistant GMs) mantra is? "Skill and Sense Trump Size and Speed." Interesting.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 24, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

icehammer: I'm going to disagree with your above post. Once you get beyond the first round, all GMs basically have an equal shot at success. The Caps only had so many first choices since 2002 because they stunk. Now, McPhee did way above average to offload and recharge. No doubt. But, just think, had his lower picks been any good at all, the Caps would have all this extra ammo with which to acquire added pieces to the puzzle. I don't care that these players don't fit on the roster (you mean we couldn't replace Erskine w/better player if we'd've had a star at 1st round in 2005?), they would be trade bait if nothing else to give more for the future.

McPhee has a Jekyll & Hyde record because he picks the same type player in every slot, instead of going for skill on the first round and then heart and grit thereafter.

The Ravens as example don't contend pretty much most years from 1st Rdrs but because Ozzie mines the talent deep in the later rounds.

It's the Tom Bradys - getting something where should've been nothing - that make you win.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 25, 2010 1:31 AM | Report abuse

Ugh, it's Saturday and stuck with the family, and no Caps posts! Oh, whatever will I do?

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | September 25, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Hey tominsocal--nice John Boy bit in the last thread tho' I disagreed with your harsh assessment of outsiders coming onto this blog.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | September 25, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Here's example, last Caps team to do anything really noteworthy, 1998:

Kolzig, #1 pick; Witt and Gonchar #1 pick from letting Stevens walk; Oates was got in trade for a #1 (Allison); Bondra 9th RD; Kono 3rd RD; Berube FA; Hunter from trading a #1; Tinordi from a trade for a former #1 (Hatcher); Calle Jo and Reekie from trades; Tikk, Bellows and Jeff Brown from deadline deals; Ranford from trading Carey (former #1); Krygier FA pick-uo; Zednik and Brunette were mid-round picks I think; Juneau was got for Iafrate who was got for Rouse who was got for Larry Murphy who was got from IDK from Kings; Housley UFA signing ($$$); Chris Simon from trading Anson Carter (shrewd deal); Niko from deal with Hartford for Cavallini who was got for Kevin Miller who was got for Dino; Jan Bulis #2 pick; Kelly Miller from Carpenter deal (former #1); Pivonka and Ken Klee, former mid-round picks.

So, there you have it, a team constructed from all over the place, as unique as if you took 23 different food items and spices from you kitchen & pantry and dumped them in into a big pot and then said, "Wow! That's good!"

The current Caps though is almost all #1 picks and then a few minor trades and signings. Just imagine with a few extra deals (like Chris Simon above), a few wily signings (Tikkanen) and IF we had a few mid-round picks come through (Kono, Zednik) how much more BALANCED the current team could be.

BTW, anyone remember the old TV commercial I think with Kono and Niko at a diner?

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 25, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

new post

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 25, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Capsyoungguns: Well, let me say this. Another person came on recently, struggler I think, has disagreed with a few, but has also been welcomed in.

pga6 OTOH came in like with some big agenda and what seemed like a hit-and-run posting basically saying most here are idiots.

pga6 has his freedom of speech, as do me mine.

Of course, to be honest, he he, I never really get mad (almost, a few racial posts did anger me), most of it is an act.

New ideas are always welcome (aren't we all taught diversity?). But, to universally castigate in the manner of pga6, is that proper blog etiquette? And, since I was just having fun, do we really care? It was funny, no? That was the raison d'etre as it were. pga6 was merely the fodder for my shot.

(BTW, I thought one line really funny he-he cstanton ripping him a new one so wide Nylander could skate circles in it.)

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 25, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

@ icehammer, tom, etc.:

Too much to read over to respond carefully to everything. I tend to see the legitimacy of everybody's arguments. The only reason I did this mini unscientific survey was because I was intrigued by other fans' contention that GMGM was a bad late round drafter. I did not believe that his late round drafting would be NOTICEABLY worse than anybody else's. That doesn't mean so much worse that there is a negative affect on your team. It just means noticeably worse. Listen Icehammer, I was on your side before conducting the survey. I did it objectively, and objectively, GMGM was "noticeably worse."

@steveR: Not sure what you're driving at by listing those players. I didn't count Eakin or MP. Eakin has not played in the NHL and there's no proof he will ever stick. Just because we're high on his future doesn't mean his future is guaranteed. Besides, every fan of every other team in the league is pretty sure they have the next Wayne Gretzky in their farm system, too. As for MP, he was on my "notable" list because he has played for a portion of a season as a gap-filler. I had Tim Kennedy and Lepisto both ranked as "serviceable players."

Posted by: struggler | September 25, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

@Tom: A little skeptical about your opinion on late round strategy. I think teams are just looking for the whoever their scouts think is best available, whether that be heart/grit or skill. If smart drafting teams were only looking for heart and grit in the late rounds, we wouldn't have the Zetterbergs, Datsyuks, Rinnes, Franzens, Erats and Hornqvists of the world.

I still believe this subject is better left to draft historians in the future. I still believe first round drafting efficiency is far more important than late round efficiency. I'm talking... WAY more important.

Posted by: struggler | September 25, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

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