7.16.2011

Capitals Development Camp Day 6 - Scrimmage & Fan Fest

Dmitry Orlov skating up the ice.
Today was the final day of the 2011 Washington Capitals development camp, and they ended with quite a bang. As per tradition, the final day is also the big mid-summer Fan Fest and equipment sale, where you can buy player equipment, get some autographs (Matt Hendricks was there today) and get cheap stuff at the Capitals shop - as well as catch the final development camp scrimmage. The scrimmage had Kettler absolutely packed, with reportedly over 3,000 people in attendance, a huge change from the mostly empty bleachers during the week.

The Red team took a 2-0 lead during the first period, and were still up 3-1 after 2. The White team had some excellent opportunities, but couldn't seem to put any of them by either Brandon Anderson or Jacob Gervais-Chouinard. In the 3rd, the White team got within 1 with a goal by Luke Lockhart, but T.J. Syner's second goal of the game put Red up 4-2. With the goalie pulled, the White team was unsuccessful in scoring, and Stanislav Galiev (who had an opportunity to pass to T.J. Syner to complete the hat trick) shot and scored on the empty net to finish it. Red won 5-2. Some thoughts on the players from the week... 

⊳ Neither Cody Eakin nor Dmitry Kugryshev "wowed" me as much as I would have hoped during development camp, but then again this is still essentially meaningless hockey in the middle of July. 
⊳ Mattias Sjogren was also pretty quite during camp, but he made some nice plays today - I'll be much more interested to see how he does during training camp in September.
⊳ T.J. Syner really impressed me during camp. Although small, he is really fast, an asset he uses to his advantage. Syner almost literally ran circles around some guys, while also contributing two goals (the first being the game winner) and nearly getting a hat trick (if Galiev passed instead of shooting at the empty net himself). While many will say that his size will prevent him from having a chance to succeed in the NHL, I look to guys like Danny Briere and Martin St. Louis, who are among the top players in the NHL despite their small stature.
⊳ I liked watching Garrett Mitchell play, especially his theory about fighting. “I guess as a smaller guy (Mitchell being 5-11, while many camp players were 6-1 if not taller), you go after a bigger guy it’s a win-win situation,” Mitchell explained after fighting on Thursday (as well as scoring the shootout winner as well as another goal in regulation). Though Mitchell's White team ended up on the losing side today, he did add another goal and another fight.
⊳ Stanislav Galiev looked good during camp, and seemed to be having fun on the ice - a feeling echoed in his blog posts over on the Capitals website. Whether it was scoring on the empty net, stickhandling through a crowd, or having his shootout attempt poke-checked away by Phillip Grubauer, Galiev was enjoyable to watch. He was seemingly everywhere on the ice and quite noticeable (more so than Eakin or Kugryshev in my mind), but not in a bad way.
⊳ Dmitry Orlov was quite fun to watch play. Though I cannot really comment on how good or bad his defensive play was, I can say that he seemed to move the puck quite well and enjoyed being very physical at times. During the scrimmage today, Orlov laid out several impressive hits that had the crowd excited. I am looking forward to see Orlov dish out some punishing hits to NHL forwards, hopefully this season (assuming he gets some time as an injury call up).

That's just about it. Today was quite enjoyable, as was the entire week here at Kettler. Also, in other Capitals news, Karl Alzner signed a new 2-year contract with a very reasonable $1.285 million cap hit (yes, Alzner will make less in 2 years than Jeff Schultz makes on average every year of his contract). I hope everyone who went to Kettler this week enjoyed Capitals development camp as much as we here at The Breakaway Goal did.

See you in September, Stan!

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