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Notes from first day of Caps rookie camp

Here are some notes from an already hoarse Coach Bruce Boudreau during the media scrum at the first day of camp:

*It looks as though 2010 third round draft pick and usual right wing Stanislav Galiev, who still has a year of junior eligibility left, will get time at center during his time at camp while 2008 first rounder Anton Gustafsson will be on the left wing.

"(Gustaffson) had requested to try wing and we wanted to try Galiev at center so it made for an easy switch," Boudreau said. "Gus had come up to me in the summer camp and asked if he could try wing. So I said sure."

*A first round draft pick in 2005, Joe Finley is hoping to be a contributor in Hershey this year after a freak arm injury - a ruptured aneurysm of the ulnar artery in his left forearm - limited him to just 17 games for the South Carolina Stingrays in 2009-10, his first pro season.

"He's a lot more composed and better, I think," Boudreau said. "This time last year we were experimenting with him on forward, which is something I don't think he had in his heart that he wanted to do and it showed. Now he's another year older, he's played one year - albeit a short one because of an injury shortened season - at pro. He wants to be a regular in Hershey and he's come here with that determination. I like him. Big strong guys are hard to find and you've just got to work with them a bit."

*Cody Eakin has consistently impressed at development camps, rookie camps, in juniors and during his stint with Hershey last spring. But he's still 19 and has a year of junior eligibility remaining; the only way he wouldn't return to the WHL's Swift Current Broncos would be if he earned a spot on the Capitals' opening night roster.

"I want to see him in an exhibition game or two at the NHL level," Boudreau said. "He's the one junior that's come here I think saying forget it I want to play in the NHL this year. He had a great junior year and we're going to give him a chance to see what he's got."

*Goaltender Braden Holtby skated with the rookies this morning, despite being part of regular training camp. He didn't realize he wasn't still part of the rookie group until he arrived in Washington Friday, but wanted to make sure he got some extra practice sessions in given the glut of goaltenders competing for attention in the coming weeks.

"It's hard this week to get a lot of work if you're a goaltender because we've got Varly, Neuvy, and (Dany Sabourin) so when they have their scrimmages by themselves that's four goalies -- nobody gets enough work," Boudreau said. "So Braden offered and said can I come out and practice with us, so he's been out here... He's just a real kid that wants to get better. That's why they were out here a half hour early because of the four goalies and they got more shots than they would in a normal practice."

*Zach Miskovic was the only player on the rookie camp roster not to participate in today's practice as the defensemen is still recovering from a sprained knee he suffered during development camp this summer. He's officially listed as week-to-week but the team is hopeful he'll be able to participate in training camp sessions before heading to Hershey's camp.

By Katie Carrera  |  September 12, 2010; 3:51 PM ET
 
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Next: Cody Eakin: 'It's a good challenge for me'

Comments

I am hoping Finley goes to Hershey and plays well and becomes the FIRST call up if someone is injured, he could be the physical dman we and want.

Posted by: RichC3 | September 12, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Miskovic skated hard by himself before practice, while the goalies were getting their extra work. He was doing hard stops and didn't seem to be in pain.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | September 12, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

no one would wish that more than me (except maybe McPhee to salvage the '05 draft) but Finley has a long road to go on D. He doesn't have great balance and he doesn't skate well. In the 80s and early 90s he'd fit right in as a 3rd pairing dman. Today, he's got a tough road to go. I still say "bust" , at least on D. He'll never be a top 4 guy that's for sure. And no one say Chara please. Chara's development was an aberration, not close to the norm. What I like about big Joe is he tries. That's all you can ask. He desperately wants to be a dependable tough guy on D.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 12, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

I keep hearing such wonderful things about Eakin...What potential does he have at the NHL level in the future?

Posted by: capscoach | September 12, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

@capscoach

Eakin has a ton of heart. That's all you need to overcome a size problem. Eakin will play in the NHL and will be a fan favorite, because of the way he plays. He's NHL C -man fast. Can't wait until he's called up.

Finley is too slow. That's a much bigger problem.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | September 13, 2010 12:55 AM | Report abuse

So what are the trade rumors this week? Someone get them started, ok thanks.

Is it still speculation that the Devils are holding off trades until they determine if they are getting penalized or not? Regardless, when do they have to be officially under the cap? First game of the season? Pre-season? What's the potential cap penalty they would get, approx $1-2 mil?

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 13, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Why does Little Gus want to try wing? The team is short on centers, but has lots of wings. He's not a sniper, and I don't really see him as a go-to-the net type like Knuble. He certainly doesn't play with the energy of a 4th line grinder. It makes no sense to me.

Posted by: zmega | September 13, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

i think its funny that all he had to do was say "hey coach, i'm not feelin it at center, can i try wing?!"

Lucky for him that Shanahan isn't coachin the caps.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 13, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

and the book on AGus although I think its yet to really surface was that he played with a nice edge to his game. Around the time he was drafted McPhee mentioned that AGus likes to hit and the Caps wanted him to focus less on hitting and more on scoring (wow, did they ever consider that perhaps what made AGus successful WAS his hitting?)

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 13, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I watched Finley play during the prospects game at KCI during the summer. He reminds me A LOT of Hal Gill. His type would be very welcomed on this teams blue line, although I'm not sure how NHL ready he is.

Posted by: j3rockstar | September 13, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

@SAOTI that was the last I heard with NJ. According to the CBA the fine is between 1-5 million if the NHL decideds to fine them. They can also take away draft picks. As for when they have to be under the cap I believe that it is Oct 1.

@zmega It could be that he sees that while we are thin at center talent wise we do have Backstrom, MP, Marcus Johansson, Steckel, and B.Gordon (also Belenger if he is eventually signed) all ahead of him by almost all accounts. Also Evgeny Kuznetsov coming in a year or two. With guys like A. Gordon and Eakin getting good looks at making the team THIS YEAR he may feel it is easier for him to make the team this season on wing rather then center. I am not saying that I think that is true but I could see where he is coming from. It also never hurts to have some position flexability when trying to make a team.

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 13, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

@SAOTI that was the last I heard with NJ. According to the CBA the fine is between 1-5 million if the NHL decideds to fine them. They can also take away draft picks. As for when they have to be under the cap I believe that it is Oct 1.

@zmega It could be that he sees that while we are thin at center talent wise we do have Backstrom, MP, Marcus Johansson, Steckel, and B.Gordon (also Belenger if he is eventually signed) all ahead of him by almost all accounts. Also Evgeny Kuznetsov coming in a year or two. With guys like A. Gordon and Eakin getting good looks at making the team THIS YEAR he may feel it is easier for him to make the team this season on wing rather then center. I am not saying that I think that is true but I could see where he is coming from. It also never hurts to have some position flexability when trying to make a team.

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 13, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Can a guy suspected of being made of glass actually be successful at hitting?

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 13, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

@SAOTI Lindros, Forsburg both were guys who had a physical game that led to them being hurt a lot

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 13, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Random question..Will the Eastern Conference banner be raised on opening night or during one of the other first games at home??

Posted by: Dashnak | September 13, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I agree Finly will not be a top 4 dman, but then again neither is Erskine, whose contract expires after this year, so maybe that is the role that will suit him and he could have a 8-10 year career,playing 1-12 minutes a night being a 5th/6th dman that stands up for his teammates and handles the rough stuff. Many a career has been along those lines.

Posted by: RichC3 | September 13, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

to clarify, Forsberg and Lindros (both brothers) got hurt because other people hit them. Forberg got regularly abused by Dallas Star dmen (Matvichuk, Ludwig, Hatcher) that led to some of his more serious injury issues. And Brett and Erica both had concussion issues from being hit.

So in their cases, its not like being physical towards other players is what led to most of their injuries. Although you can make an argument that perhaps if you throw your body around enough you may weaken it in some ways that could make it easier for you to get hurt down the road.

The AGus pick was a risky one because he was already considered a bit injury prone with a bad back, and back injuries are always iffy things to rehab. But in hindsight I wasn't terribly upset with the pick because his profile looked intriguing. The fact that that he was potentially a top 6 player with size, some grit, and played center. The disconcerting aspect of it is he hasn't really showed much tenacity from the reports I've read from fans who have observed him and he looks clearly like a long term project who needs to make a big showing somewhere this year to keep the Caps interested in him. I think drafting those 2 Russkies this yr doesn't bode well for AGus and maybe he read the writing on the wall and figured out he couldn't really make it in the nhl as a playmaking center on a top 2 line.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 13, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

,playing 1-12 minutes a night being a 5th/6th dman that stands up for his teammates and handles the rough stuff. Many a career has been along those lines.
---

he better play more than 1 or 2 mins a night. No one's carved out a career doing that. To be an effective 3rd pairing dman who provides toughness, you need to average at least 6 to 8 mins a game. Minimum. You look at a Shane O'Brien who bounced around a bit before finding a home in Vancouver, he went from playing around 12 to 14 mins a game the yr before to sometimes pulling down over 20 mins per game last season. Sheldon Brookbank is another good barometer for comparison. He's a tough guy on D who gets about 14 mins per game for Anaheim. If Finley can't reach between 10 and 14 mins per game eventually, I don't see him being much of a longterm asset.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 13, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

@cstanton along with what you said about giving hits wearing down the body both of those players played to contact and would create the contact themselves to try to use thier size, much like Ovechkin does. Which is actually one thing I am concerned about him with. I am not saying I wish he was more like Semin who would rather make a bad play then get hit much I wish he would avoid contact a bit more when he has the puck.

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 13, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

,playing 1-12 minutes a night being a 5th/6th dman that stands up for his teammates and handles the rough stuff. Many a career has been along those lines.

-------------------------------------------

I am hoping you mean 10-12 minutes a night which is not bad for a 6th D who isn't on PK or PP but with his size you would think he would get some PK time. I think he has to be around 12-16 minutes. If he can't do that let him play in the A this year and see if he can build that up.

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 13, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

@SAOTI

I think I remember reading that the as part of the agreement to amend the CBA for the acceptance of the Kovy deal the NHL agreed not to punish the Devils in regards to a salary cap hit. They could be fined(which would normally results in a salary cap penalty) or have draft picks taken, but it won't effect the Devils salary cap situation.

I am not sure of this though.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 13, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

@icehammer97

You are comparing the toughness of a Swede and Canadian to that of the Russian Machine?

In soviet Russia, hockey player breaks you. Not the other way around. Sheesh.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 13, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

oh i think big joe will definitely get a lot more seasoning in the A this yr. He's currently barely at the AHL level of hockey. I'd look at him as a fringe AHL dman at this point. But it would be nice for a game or two to see how he fares at the NHL level. I think realistically, he's 3 yrs away from the NHL. Will the Caps continue to commit to him as a project remains to be seen. If they cut him, I guarantee you a team like the Leafs will pick him up, just because :)
The Leafs just offered a tryout to banned OHL player Mike Liambas who had a nice long fight in the rookie tourney v the Penguins yesterday. Liambas was the kid who got vilified (unfairly imo) for this devastating hit. He's just so incredibly strong with a low center of gravity that when he lines someone up he just blows em up. To be suspended/banned from the OHL for this hit is questionable at best. You're penalizing based on injury more than the action itself

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPj-kCp1rGI

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 13, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Sorry for the Typo...I did mean 10-12 minutes a night, protecting his teammates, not sure what Erskine averagesd last year, but it was not much more than 10-12 minutes. With Carlson and Green probably playing 25 minutes or so a night, that is all you need from the 5th/6th dman. And if he is doing his job, Finley will be getting 150 to 200 PIMS a year anyway..lol

Posted by: RichC3 | September 13, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

And if he is doing his job, Finley will be getting 150 to 200 PIMS a year anyway..lol
---------

not sure if any Cap will really approach the 200PIM again, esp not a defenseman. Even when this team goes down the road of getting a tough guy, he's usually under some heavy restraints. And since our org doesn't expect too much heavy lifting, there's not much pressure to go out and fight 30x a year like there is on some other teams.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 13, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Galiev = Datsyuk
Eakin = Drury
Kuznetsov = Malkin
Johansson = Backstrom
Grubauer = Zilla

We are so stocked!!!

Posted by: Political_Stratgst | September 13, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Galiev = Datsyuk
Eakin = Fleury
Kuznetsov = Malkin
Johansson = Backstrom
Grubauer = Zilla

We are so stocked!!!

Posted by: Political_Stratgst | September 13, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

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