News and Notes from Wednesday’s Captals Practice at Kettler: Shane Gersich Could Make NHL Debut Soon and More Goalie Madness

shane-gersich-washington-capitals

The Washington Capitals are back in D.C. following an impressive road trip that saw them secure all six points in three original six cities. On Monday night, the team defeated the Rangers thanks to a four-goal first period and another impressive outing from Philipp Grubauer. On Tuesday afternoon the team hit the ice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in what was a strange turn of events in the goaltending saga. Plus Shane Gersich took the Kettler ice for first time since signing a two-year entry level contract this past Friday. 

LINES

Forwards
Ovechkin-Kuznetsov-Wilson
Burakovsky-Backstrom-Oshie
Gersich-Eller-DSP
Stephenson-Beagle-Connolly
Defense
Orlov-Niskanen
Kempny-Carlson
Orpik-Jerabek

NEWS
Shane Gersich took part in his first practice at Kettler since signing a two-year entry level deal worth an annual value of $925,000. He joined the Capitals in Montreal on Saturday and served that contest against the Canadiens as well as Monday night’s game against the Rangers as a healthy scratch. At Tuesday’s practice he was skating on the third line with Lars Eller and Devante Smith-Pelly which made some wonder if he could be making his NHL debut tomorrow night. Here is a close up of your newest Washington Capital.

All the changes from the forwards came from the bottom six. Aside from Gersich and Smith-Pelly on the third line, Brett Connolly moved to the third line while Alex Chiasson and Jakub Vrana were the extra forwards. No changes to the top six or the defense.

These days, the goaltending has made the headlines in Washington and Tuesday’s practice was no different. Braden Holtby, who had spent last week recovering from a tweak in his lower body since Wednesday was in the primary net at practice.

As Holtby was recovering from that lower body injury last week, Holtby still practiced but also had the aid of Capitals video coach Brett Leonhardt as a third goalie rotating in the net. In a strange turn of events, Leonhardt was back on the ice for practice as an extra goalie only this time splitting time in the cage with Philipp Grubauer.

After practice, head coach Barry Trotz talked to reporters. He was asked about Gersich and if he was to make his debut. Trotz said that Friday’s game against Carolina is a better bet for Gersich to make his NHL debut but didn’t rule out the possibility of his debut coming Wednesday.

As for why Leonhardt was splitting time with Grubauer, it turns out that Grubauer had a “little tweak” of his own Monday night against the Rangers. For some extra goaltender insurance, the team recalled Pheonix Copley from Hershey Tuesday evening. Trotz also noted if Grubauer feels 100% Wednesday night, he will back up Holtby. If not, Copley will be on the bench.

THE SCENE FROM PRACTICE
Barry Trotz playing defenseman up against Alex Ovechkin. Be easy on your coach, Ovi!

Leonhardt was the star of practice. Up against DSP, the video coach and part time goalie known as “Stretch” stopped Smith-Pelly on the third try.

Leonhardt looked like he did extra film study on Tom Wilson and Jay Beagle as he stopped both of them with ease.

But Evgeny Kuznetsov’s snipe is too quick for any goaltender to stop these days.

Also speaking of Kuznetsov, maybe we’ll see him execute the lacrosse-style shot soon after his attempt last night fell short. (Video courtesy of NBC Sports Washington’s Tarik El-Bashir):

CAPITALS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

By Michael Marzzacco

About Michael Marzzacco

Michael is an avid DC sports fan with a passion for writing. He has followed the Washington Capitals since the 2003-04 season, around the time his enthusiasm for DC teams really began. It was from the days when they had the worst record in the league to when they became the most exciting team in the area. His Dad took him to his first Caps game a couple of years later. One of his favorite memories was being in the stands during the 2015 Winter Classic where Troy Brouwer scored the game-winning goal with 12 seconds left. Michael graduated from Radford University in May 2016, earning a degree in journalism and focusing on sports journalism and broadcasting. His goal is to work in sports media in Washington, D.C.
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One Response to News and Notes from Wednesday’s Captals Practice at Kettler: Shane Gersich Could Make NHL Debut Soon and More Goalie Madness

  1. Pingback: Capitals Re-Assign Pheonix Copley to the Hershey Bears | NoVa Caps

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