Prior to departing for training camp last week, Washington Capitals goaltending prospect Garin Bjorklund said he was looking forward to seeing Alex Ovechkin’s shot first hand.
“It’ll be pretty cool to see Ovi’s shot, as a little kid you kind of look up to that guy and now for me to be in the cage and see what his shot is like in person, it’ll be eye-opening for sure,” Bjorklund said last week.
“Hopefully I go there and show off what I’ve got, meet everyone and hopefully I play really well and my goal is to get a contract there,” he told the Medicine Hat News last week.
The 6’-2”, 180lb goaltender from Grande Priaire, Alberta, drafted by the Capitals in the sixth round (#179 overall) of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, arrived from Medicine Hat on Wednesday of last week, hoping to face Ovechkin’s one-timer, first hand.
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After two days of training camp, Bjorklund decided to finally approach Ovechkin on Saturday and ask him for a go.
“He actually scored on me in the slot with a one-timer throughout the practice,” Bjorklund told NHL.com”s Tom Gulitti on Monday. “And then when I switched out with (goalie Zach) Fucale, I skated by ‘Ovi’ and I said, ‘Hey, after practice, you want to do a couple one-timers? You’re the best shooter in the world. You’re only going to make me better.’ After practice, he tapped me on the pads and he said, ‘You want to go down there? Only five.’
“I said, ‘You can do as many as you want.'”
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“He ended up hitting 15 or 20 shots,” Bjurklund said. “We ended up doing 15-20 one-timers,” Bjorklund said. “So his shot is definitely harder than it is on TV.”
Bjorklund, 19, stopped the majority of them, though.
“To my advantage, I knew what he was doing, where he was shooting from,” he said. “But in a game, it might be different for those goalies with the puck moving so quickly and finding him in his office there. But it was still a cool situation and a cool story to tell when I’m older, for sure.”
After completing the shots, Ovechkin skated up to Bjurklund and patted him on the pads.
“He said, ‘Well done,” Bjurklund said. “These are simple words, but they mean a lot. It’s funny. He doesn’t usually work on the shot after practice, so I appreciate that he stayed and worked with me.”
Bjorklund’s time at Capitals training camp ended on Tuesday when he was returned to Medicine Hat for the start of the WHL season.
By Jon Sorensen