Tough Trek on Day One

Posted on January 14, 2013 by Mike Vogel

Day one of the Washington Capitals’ 2011 training camp is in the books, and it wasn’t an easy day by any means. Each of three groups of players endured a hard practice session of about an hour in length, but that turned out to be a prelude to punishment. Once the players were finished practicing, they were ushered over to a clean sheet of ice for some strenuous physical testing in the form of a hard and lengthy series of skating sprints. Once the skating was finished, the players had their fingers pricked for a blood test that will reveal the lactic acid level in their blood. In correlating the results of the blood test with what the stopwatch -- and their own watchful eyes – reveals, the Caps’ braintrust can get a good idea of how well each player trained this summer. The skate was tougher on some than others. Forward Jay Beagle spent the off-season doing some rigorous training with blueliner Karl Alzner. Those two were vying for the lead in the first set of hard skating drills of the day. “I feel like we were prepared,” says Beagle. “You always train for it, and then it’s different when you do an actual practice and then try to do that skate. I felt a lot better during the summer, and we did it once here about a week ago in one of the captain’s practices. I felt better in that one than I did today. It was a little bit harder out there today after the practice. I still feel like I did well.” There was nowhere to hide during the skating drill. Every coach, scout and member of the hockey operations staff in the building was right there watching. “That skate was really tough, actually,” says forward Chris Bourque, who is back in the Washington organization and vying for an opening night roster spot after a season of playing in Europe. “I’ve been here for about two weeks now and we did that test last week and it seemed a lot easier then.” Undergoing the skating testing after an hour’s worth of strenuous practice couldn’t have been easy, but that’s the whole idea. “We had a tough practice before [the testing],” says Bourque, “and the legs were starting to cramp up there, but it’s definitely good. You want to have that tough bag skate to show where you’re at. It shows you that you were working towards something in the summer, and shows that you’re in shape. It holds a lot of the guys accountable. If you want to be part of a great organization, you’ve got to be in great shape. It looks like all the guys did really well. It was fun.” Notes: Defenseman Tom Poti did not pass his physical and has not been cleared to practice. Caps general manager George McPhee says that Poti will keep working towards a possible comeback, but at this stage, the veteran defenseman seems a certainty to start the season on long-term injured reserve (LTIR), a move that will give the Capitals just under $3 million in salary cap relief … Veteran blueliner Roman Hamrlik hopped off the ice shortly after his group started their skating tests. Hamrlik felt some tightness in his groin, but believes he’ll be good to go for Sunday’s session. Caps coach Bruce Boudreau says the team will try to have Hamrlik retake the test later in the week … Just as he was concluding a media conference, Caps captain Alex Ovechkin was surprised with a shaving cream pie to the face. The foamy frolics were in commemoration of Ovechkin’s 26th birthday.

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The Battle Begins

January 14, 2013

You don’t have to be a genius to read the depth chart at the forward position for the Washington Capitals. Eleven of what will be a maximum of 14 spots are virtually etched in stone, so there is a heated competition going on for the final three roster spots – assuming the Capitals elect to start

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