On Monday, Washington Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette spoke to the media on a Zoom call following Group A’s practice on the first day of the 2020-21 training camp. The regular season will start on Wednesday, January 13. The Capitals will open the season against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagra Center on Thursday, January 14.
Laviolette explained newly signed defenseman Zdeno Chara is still quarantining and he should be out in the next few days. Once he completes physicals and testing, Chara will join the team on the ice. Laviolette complimented Chara’s character, play, and leadership qualities. “We welcome all of that,” he said, adding, “[He] is a layer to this team that I think will be positive.”
The new head coach said it was a “good” first day of camp. He mentioned players have a lot of new information coming at them, but they did a “really good job picking things up with systems”. Additionally, he thinks goaltender Ilya Samsonov is “one hundred percent fit to go.”
Repetition was once again emphasized and Laviolette believes systems will become natural with more work to get to that peak form. He wants to stay in the offensive zone but not at the expense of the defense. Monday’s session focused on the offense and Tuesday will be tailored towards the defense, according to Laviolette.
In regards to the lines and pairs, Laviolette said, “There will be a little bit of movement in camp, but not too much.” He mentioned they have a “pretty good handling on where we are at” and want to “get to work right away”. Because of the condensed training camp, Laviolette knows there is “so much to get in in a short amount of time” and they will “do our best every day” in preparation for the first game in Buffalo.
Laviolette is looking forward to the scrimmage on Thursday and Sunday. He wants the team to be as “live as we can” and mimic an actual game. He enjoyed being on the ice with the Capitals for the first time as head coach, “[It] felt great to be out there.” Laviolette mentioned talking and working with the team in person means more than Zoom calls and phone calls.
By Della Young