Training Camp Roundup: Recap of Day 1 of Capitals Training Camp 2018

Three months and a one week ago, the Capitals ended the 2017-18 as the Stanley Cup champions and while it may be hard to believe, the first day of Training Camp for the 2018-19 season is already over. In this first Training Camp Roundup, NoVa Caps recaps the team’s first Training Camp as the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Todd’s Take

_50A6507The first day of training camp saw new Head Coach Todd Reirden install his own regimen into the majority of the team’s Cup-winning roster, as well a number of prospects and camp invitees, including a rigorous skating test. After the resignation of former Head Coach Barry Trotz only several days after the team won its first Stanley Cup, Reirden (long considered a future NHL head coach) was named his replacement, and according to right wing T.J. Oshie, this is a move that will make the transition to a new Head Coach an easy one. A few seasons ago, Reirden was entrusted with running the team’s training camp while Trotz was at the World Cup of Hockey, giving an idea of what to expect this go-around.

Roll Call

While the majority of the team’s Training Camp roster were in attendance, center Lars Eller and defenseman John Carlson were not in attendance due to minor “day-to-day” injuries, and recent free agent signing Sergei Shumakov missed as a result of a visa issue, though will be in attendance tomorrow. Per Reirden, via The Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan, both Eller and Carlson were held out for precautionary reasons and their status for the second day of camp is unknown.

Per the Capitals, 20 of the 22 players on the team’s roster in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final were in attendance this morning, with longtime center Jay Beagle (free agency) and Alex Chiasson (free agency) among the notable absentees.

Champion Vibes

Prior to this season, the last few training camps brought with it a sense of disappointment and unfinished business, as the team repeatedly fell short of their ultimate goal of winning a championship. This fall, however, the attitude around Medstar Capitals Iceplex is much more celebratory and upbeat than any other in the Alex Ovechkin era. With an offseason of rest, and motivation to defend their title, the team seems raring to start the season, something that is readily apparent to General Manager Brian MacLellan and Reirden.

“I think there is less tension and less pressure”, says MacLellan of the organization’s atmosphere, “but it doesn’t mean you don’t want to win, it’s just different”. Reirden added, ” It doesn’t really dawn on you [winning the Stanley Cup] until you have that day [with the Stanley Cup]…and it’s like ‘Wow, we did that!’. Of all the players who are a returning champion, none may be more excited to start the season than Ovechkin, who not only enjoyed a Day with the Stanley Cup earlier this summer, but welcomed his first child, son Sergei, last month, and his always-present enthusiasm is on full display to the teammate that knows him the best. Per The Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan, center Nicklas Backstrom believes the team’s soon-to-be 32-year old captain (September 17) is “in his best mode yet” and it is noticeable how happy Ovechkin is. All which bodes well for a motivated and energetic Oveckhin this season

Early Look At Lines

While nothing is set in stone on the first day of training camp, Reirden left the Capitals’ top two lines from Game 6 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final the same, while mixing up the bottom-six. The first-line consisting of Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Tom Wilson, and the second-line consisting of Jakub Vrana, Backstrom, and Oshie. Expected backup goaltender Pheonix Copley and top prospect Ilya Samsonov practiced with the second group on the ice, while starter Braden Holtby and prospect Vitek Vanecek practiced with the first group

TEAM MOTTO, Mark it Down

Last season, Ovechkin began the 2017 training camp with a simple sentence for the entire 2017-18 season, which came as a response to a question regarding the team’s expectations, saying “We not going to suck this year”; the Caps, of course, would go on to win the franchise’s first-ever Stanley Cup. When asked what the team’s slogan would be this season, Ovechkin responded:

Stay tuned to NoVa Caps throughout training camp and the rest of the season for news on the Capitals, Hershey Bears, and more Capitals-related topics.

By Michael Fleetwood

See the photos from the First Day of Training Camp here and here.

About Michael Fleetwood

Michael Fleetwood was born into a family of diehard Capitals fans and has been watching games as long as he can remember. He was born the year the Capitals went to their first Stanley Cup Final, and is a diehard Caps fan, the owner of the very FIRST Joe Beninati jersey and since then, has met Joe himself. His favorite player became former Capital Nate Schmidt after he met Schmidt in a Hershey hotel while in Hershey PA to see the Bears play, shortly after Schmidt was injured during a conditioning stint. Michael is also a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Orioles, and enjoys photography, watching WildEarth TV's SafariLive live safaris, and watching animals in his spare time. (Photo by Adam Vingan in 2014 at the Capitals Development Camp).
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1 Response to Training Camp Roundup: Recap of Day 1 of Capitals Training Camp 2018

  1. Michael L. Valcourt Sr. says:

    Well my favorite two Capital players from last season, unsung from last year’s Stanley Cup team, left for free agency that was disappointing nonetheless. And there were trades made, buy other NHL teams to bolster their rosters, and it looks like for the most part the Caps are basically returning the same team for the 2018 – 2019 season. Many things fell into place, considering this was not a Stanley Cup contender by most experts and odds makers, but it seems to me there was not enough done to repeat and make another run for the cup this season. A life long Capital’s fan since 1974, thanks to last years team for their dedication, hard work, and Trot’s as well for bringing Lord Stanley home here to the Washington Baltimore area, I was thinking repeat.

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