The stretches and the separate work between the forwards and the defense had ended. All the mainstream Capitals players exited the ice to talk to reporters, shower, and change. Remaining on the ice were Travis Boyd, Shane Gersich, Nathan Walker and Pheonix Copley. They were set to take the scratch’s skate at the Capitals optional practice on Friday morning
While the four players hadn’t been in the lineup during the first two Capitals Stanley Cup Finals games, each player was enjoying time with the big club in the middle of their quest for Lord Stanley’s Cup.
The scratch’s skate usually takes place at the end of practice so they can do extra work in case their number gets called soon enough. It started out as a normal session.
As the players went to the other side of the ice being sure to put on a show for the thousands of Capitals fans who packed Kettler for an optional practice, something happened that hadn’t been seen in sports since Super Bowl XLVII: a power outage!
— NoVa Caps (@NoVa_Caps) June 1, 2018
The entire rink didn’t go completely dark, which is a good thing for safety purposes. Just the lights above the bleachers went out so the guys were still able to practice.
As the players begun passing and getting shots up on Copley, Nathan Walker missed Shane Gersich. Perhaps he may have lost track of him with the lights out. Maybe not.
Boyd and Gersich connected. Gersich fired and Copley made the glove save.
Boyd and Gersich feeding puck the puck backhanded to Walker.
While these guys don’t make the headlines as much as Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov or Braden Holtby, they each play an integral part in this playoff run. When Tom Wilson was suspended, Gersich was placed in the lineup for two of those three games he was suspended in. Two months before that playoff debut he was taking classes as a college student at North Dakota.
Boyd was a placeholder for T.J. Oshie at practices and morning skates earlier in the postseason when he needed maintenance and came into the lineup in an all-important Game 6 against the Penguins in the second round with Nicklas Backstrom’s injury. Boyd blocked a pair of shots and had a hit in 12:12 of ice time.
Also in that Game 6 was Walker who continued to write his name in the NHL history textbooks as the first Australian to play in a Stanley Cup playoff game and record an assist, as he assisted on Alex Chiasson’s goal.
If it wasn’t for any these players stepping up, maybe the Capitals wouldn’t be practicing at Kettler on the first day of June.
While Copley has yet to play in an NHL game, being up with the club in Washington and learning from an elite goaltender like Braden Holtby has given him valuable experience for next season whether he’s in Hershey or Washington.
By Michael Marzzacco