Screen cap: Capitals
The Washington Capitals concluded their third day of training camp for the 2022-23 season prior to their first preseason game against the Buffalo Sabres tomorrow. Forward Nic Dowd spoke to the media following Day 3.
After almost fully recovering from an eye injury suffered during practice last season, forward Carl Hagelin is expected to be out with a long-term injury, as announced by the team on Thursday.
“The most important thing for Carl is being healthy the rest of his life”, Dowd said when asked about the loss of his linemate, “He’s a really good hockey player and I’m going to miss him on our line. I think me, Hath [Garnet Hathaway], and Hags were, he certainly made me better, bettered my career, and I really thank him for that. I’m going to miss him but I think he’s making the right decisions for himself and that’s what’s important, and we’ll see him again.”
The Caps’ fourth-line has been arguably its most effective since the trio were put together, however Dowd believes that the chemistry the three have developed can’t be replicated.
“Well they’re never gonna replace Hags”, Dowd said, “Regardless of whoever we play with, or whoever I play with, or Hath, we’re gonna do our best to do individually what we do well. I think what’s so beneficial about the three of us when we played together, was we made each other better, and that made our line better. But whoever…they stick on our left, our team is full of really good hockey players so I don’t think it’s going to matter.”
The Capitals signed goaltender Charlie Lindgren to serve as their new backup netminder to new number one, Darcy Kuemper. The former Montreal Canadien and St. Louis Blue is a product of St. Cloud State University (MN), the alma mater of Dowd and Capitals defenseman Nick Jensen.
“Great human, really good person”, Dowd said about his new Capitals teammate, “I played a year with him at St. Cloud and probably one of the hardest-working goalies I’ve ever played with which is what makes him so successful. He’s a really good player to be at this level and competing at this level, but I would say just an all-around good human being and his work ethic is tough to match, so it makes him, it gives him the advantage I’d say”. ”
Dowd, who is entering the first season of a three-year contract signed during the 2021-22 season, believes that his college teammate will thrive in Washington.
“I’m really happy to see it”, Dowd replied when asked about the path to the NHL Lindgren has taken, “I think anytime you know a guy, obviously personally, and you know a guy that works that hard…it probably hasn’t been the easiest path at times and he’s continued to work really hard and he’s tried to make it to the next level without becoming like, not complacent, but you know it’s tough to compete against some of that stuff.”
“He’s done a really good job of sticking with it and it was awesome to see him get rewarded, especially it being here.” His compete level is super high, which is awesome as a goaltender, because we get to compete against it every single day, so it’s great.”
Lindgren, who is 28, seems to be the right choice to backup Kuemper this season. “He takes it personally when you score on him, makes us better as players”, Dowd revealed, “So far he’s done a great job.”
The Capitals play their first preseason game against the Buffalo Sabres tomorrow at 2:00 PM ET.
By Michael Fleetwood