On Monday afternoon, Washington Capitals head coach Todd Reirden spoke to the media on a Zoom call following the group practices and intra-squad scrimmage on the seventh day of training camp. He discussed his thoughts on defenseman John Carlson being a finalist for the Norris Trophy, goaltender Braden Holtby doing well during camp, and the production of the fourth line.
Carlson was named a finalist for the Norris Trophy, which is presented annually to the top defenseman in the league earlier today. According to Tarik El-Bashir of The Athletic, at the end of the first practice session, Reirden called players together and announced that Carlson made it to the final three for the Norris, which resulted in some “hooting and hollering and helmet pats” for the 30-year old defenseman.
“It’s always a fun one to do,” Reirden said. He likes to commend individual honors and players of the week. “That was obviously a big one. Our players feel strongly about him. It’s well-deserved for him to be in the final three there and ultimately he should be, in my opinion, favored to win it.”
Defensive prospect Alexander Alexeyev was on the ice this afternoon for the first time since Phase 3 began last week. Reirden said he was “really happy to have him back out there”. Alexeyev did not take part in the team scrimmage.
Defensive prospect Alex Alexeyev (#27) on the ice for the first time during training camp. pic.twitter.com/IDacNX8YhF
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After a week of training camp and two scrimmages, Reirden said Holtby has looked good as far as conditioning goes and stayed in the net the whole time today. He called it a “good situation for him to continue to build his game”, especially with overtime and shootouts in the mix. Reirden wants Holtby to get as close to game-ready.
Reirden “felt strongly” about the production and chemistry of the fourth line (Nic Dowd, Richard Panik, Garnet Hathaway) going into pause. “I like the looks of that line,” he added. He calls Panik’s addition to the fourth line and forward Ilya Kovalchuk‘s jump onto the third line a good “balance” for all four lines.
By Della Young