Notes and Observations From Today's Scrimmage
With one day to go until the highly anticipated game against the Flyers' rookies, the Caps' rookies had a high-tempo intrasquad dress rehearsal at KCI. Here are some observations:
*Goalies Michal Neuvirth and Simeon Varlamov continued to be very sharp. Varlamov, who relies heavily on his athleticism, had a few impressive stops where he made up for shaky positioning by moving side-to-side incredibly quickly. Neuvirth's glove hand, meantime, is tough to beat.
*Oskar Osala has become really adept at using his size to his advantage. In addition to generating a number of scoring chances for himself and his teammates, he effectively used his 6 foot 4, 217-pound frame to create space for himself and protect the puck.
"I agree that he knows how to shield guys away," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "That's what those guys like [Todd] Bertuzzi do."
*Dmitry Kugryshev also stood out. The young Russian didn't play much defense, and he misfired on a number of his shots, but he always seemed to have (or be around) the puck. He's also a very nimble skater and a slick stick-handler, able to spin away from a defender in the corner and retain control of the puck.
"Maybe his legs were hurting from yesterday and he wasn't able to skate backwards," Boudreau joked about his defense before turning serious again. "The puck did follow him and he had a couple of really good opportunities. You can see the skills."
*Boudreau also singled out Mathieu Perreault for some praise. "He had the puck a lot," he said. "He's getting in shape and he's a tenacious checker, and that what he's been advertised as."
*Joel Broda and John Carlson scored the only goals in a game that went to a shootout. On Carlson's goal, the defenseman pinched in with time running out and his team needing a score to force OT. He took a pass from Stefan Della Rovere, and without a hint of hesitation, snapped a slap shot over Varlamov's shoulder. Impressive, indeed.
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