Screenshot: Sportsnet/32 Thoughts
The Washington Capitals’ are less than two months away from their opening game of the 2023-24 season and the club will be entering the new campaign with a wave of young prospects knocking on the lineup door and a new Head Coach in former farmhand Spencer Carbery.
Carbery, who became the first coach in franchise history to have served as bench boss at all three professional levels of the organization, will be new to a number of his new pupils in Washington, but among those he will be familiar with is defenseman Rasmus Sandin, who the Caps acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs last season, and who quickly impressed upon his arrival.
“He’s awesome”, said Sandin, in an appearance the 32 Thoughts podcast with Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek of Sportsnet, “…He really wants to get the best out of each and every player, individually, and as a unit.”
Carbery, who served as an Assistant Coach in Toronto the past two seasons, will be tasked with managing a veteran core and integrating the next generation of Capitals following a seasons in which the Caps missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in nine years.
“I think he’s going to do great things for us and going to be a real good addition to our team. I’m looking forward to working with him, he’s really good at separating outside the ice, and walking in in the morning, he’s just a normal guy. As soon as you step on the ice or [going into a game or practice], it’s different. I feel like that’s a really good thing that most players enjoy playing for and I’m really excited to play for him again.”
Sandin, who is just 23-years old and figures to be a key part of Carbery’s game plans this season, recorded 15 Points (3G, 12 A) in his first 19 games as a Capital. Having established himself as a reliable point man on the power play (an area Carbery managed in Toronto), the young blueliner described his first meeting with Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin.
“I remember this very well”, Sandin recalled, “A minute before everyone is sitting in the locker room, Ovi comes in last, and just walked straight up, shook my hand and was like ‘welcome to the team man, I’ll talk to you later…later that night we sat next to each other at dinner, just chatting to each other.”
Not long after the Caps’ disappointing 2022-23 season ended, the team and the fanbase took a collective breath when Sandin left a game in the World Championships during a game between Team Sweden and Team USA. The former first-round pick described the condition of his knee as “good”.
“Right now I feel great, feel stronger than ever, and excited for the season to start.”
To hear Sandin’s full comments, see the video below:
By Michael Fleetwood