After the Washington Capitals’ first scrimmage of training camp on Thursday afternoon, head coach Peter Laviolette thought that the first two periods of it “[were] competitive [and] fast” and the scrimmage was good as a whole.
He said that he might add a few more game-like situations the next time that the Capitals scrimmage. Laviolette mentioned earlier this week that the plan is for the Capitals to have two scrimmages during training camp.
“I think we accomplished what we wanted to accomplish, which was a simulated game,” he said.
On the goalie battle, Laviolette said that “I thought [Vitek Vanecek] was good,” and was tested a few times. “I think there’s confidence in the guys we have at camp,” he continued, “[But] it’s challenging.”
With no exhibition games, Laviolette told the media that judging the players’ performances is “more challenging” but he is “giving everyone a look.” He thought that Thursday’s scrimmage was “the closest we’re going to get” to an exhibition game.
Laviolette believes center prospect Connor McMichael, who represented Team Canada at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championships which wrapped up earlier this week, will arrive in the Washington area this weekend but he added that we should not to count on that.
He called defenseman Zdeno Chara “one of the most motivated people” with his preparation and health and thinks “the more time he gets on the ice, the more comfortable he is going to get.”
When asked about the rivalry between Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and getting into the Capitals-Penguins rivalry for the first time, Laviolette said “They’ve been the two premier players ever since I’ve been in the league,” and “it made noise” across the league when the two teams play even from afar. “It was always big news so I’m excited to be a part of it,” he added. The Capitals and Penguins play eight times this season, including Sunday, January 17 at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.
Laviolette thought that there were a couple of big hits for training camp in the scrimmage and called the Capitals “a big, strong, physical team.” He noted that he liked the competitiveness on bodies and pucks that the players demonstrated during the scrimmage.
By Harrison Brown