On Sunday afternoon, Washington Capitals head coach Todd Reirden spoke to the media on a Zoom call following the group practices on the sixth day of training camp in Phase 3 of the NHL’s Return to Play Plan. He discussed how the first week of camp has gone, center Travis Boyd playing on the third in place of Lars Eller, and what to expect heading into week two of training camp.
Today’s practice saw a switch of goaltenders— Vitek Vanecek worked with the big group while Pheonix Copley practiced with the smaller group. “I wanted to flip it for the next couple of days and see where that takes us,” Reirden said. He wants all players to be prepared as possible if a situation arises. He believes Vanecek and Copley have been “really sharp” as far as development has gone this past week.
“I would say at this point it’s Travis’ [spot],” the Capitals bench boss said in reference to Boyd playing on the third line in place of Eller at times. Eller plans to leave the team in early August for the birth of his second child. Boyd will continue playing on the third line as camp moves forward to prepare when Eller leaves. “He’s a guy who can play on both positions,” Reirden said about Boyd, who played right-wing on a line composed of Jakub Vrana and Nicklas Backstrom during Saturday’s practice.
On the six-day absence of Ilya Samsonov, Reirden reiterated how he cannot comment on the status of the backup netminder. “We’ll just take it day-by-day and go from there.” He will continue to evaluate who will be the second goaltender for the start of games in Toronto.
He called Sunday’s practice “the start of more systems detail.” They focused a bit more on line combinations and treated today as if it were “normal” practice during the regular season. They plan to fine-tune aspects of the game as each day comes.
“The pace was where it needed to be,” Reirden said on what he hoped for in the first week of camp. He’s proud of the guys for their commitment, positive attitudes, and handling of the new norm. “We’re sort of lucky to be able to play the sport of hockey and that we’re going to push through this situation.”
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) July 19, 2020
By Della Young