Capitalizing on Opportunity: Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan Emphasizes Clean Slate For Team In First Training Camp Under Spencer Carbery

Screenshot: Washington Capitals

While the Washington Capitals have much to prove following a disappointing 2022-23 season and a change behind the bench, as the team commenced their 2023 training camp today at MedStar Capitals Iceplex, the organization seems determined to put their critics to bed as a new chapter in franchise history begins under Head Coach Spencer Carbery.

And while the team has yet to play a meaningful game, judging by General Manager Brian MacLellan’s comments in his press conference with local media today, the new bench boss and his charges have a wide array of opportunities to realistically compete for a Stanley Cup in an ever-changing, young NHL.

“I think he’s mature beyond his years”, said the ninth-year general manager of his new head coach, “I think his message is right on all the time, I think he reads situations well.”

“I think it’s a good situation…he’s bringing positivity energy, he’s bringing a little different philosophy, and I think the older guys can feed off of it”, finished MacLellan, highlighting the organization’s familiarity with Carbery as ways the team’s veteran core can relate to the 41-year old coach.

Washington Capitals Announce 2023 Training Camp Roster And Schedule

The Capitals look set to infuse their lineup with a number of younger players after an injury-ravaged season last year that highlighted the Achilles heel of possessing such an experienced lineup.

“You know I think the injuries killed us”, admitted MacLellan, “Took all our momentum away, our ability to compete at the end due to man-games lost had an effect on our overall season. We’re going to need our core guys to compete with the best guys in the league, that’s as far as we’ll go here.”

“I think our guys do a good job of it [monitoring the ice time of veteran players], I think…it’s tough when you’re playing three to four games a week to accomplish that. You’re going to have to get through games that are tired games or injured games, same as everyone else.”

“I think it’s days off, making sure there’s rest days, I think ice time is a big thing, how much back-to-backs seem to have an effect on older players. Again you have to have guys that can handle that ice time too to be successful so it has to be managed by the coaching staff and strength and conditioning.”

As the Caps play their first season under Carbery, longtime lineup anchors Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom will be suiting up for their 19th and 17th seasons, respectively. Ovechkin, 38, and Backstrom, 35, each dealt with ailments last season; Ovechkin was hampered down the stretch and Backstrom returned to game action in January following hip resurfacing surgery last summer.

“He wants to compete as a team”, MacLellan said of Ovechkin, who continues his chase for the all-time Goals Scored record, “I don’t think it sits well with him that we missed the playoffs, he didn’t have fun down the stretch last year; he wants to win, he wants to compete, he wants to be at the highest level and he’s going to do what he needs to do to help us get there.”

“I’ve got to give him credit”, MacLellan continued, revealing that the injuries that nagged the Caps’ captain hurt his play more than it may have appeared, “Age is a factor too, I think the wear and tear got to him at the end of last year. He played through some things, I’ve got to give him credit.”

Alex Ovechkin Changed-up Training During 2023 Off-season

As for Backstrom, who has his sights set on proving he can still be a highly-productive player in a full offseason to train, MacLellan also expressed his confidence in his ability to return to form.

“I think he had a really good offseason, I think everything’s positive. I think it’ll be how he progresses here through camp, and exhibition games and into the season. I think it’s all positive right now.”

To hear MacLellan’s full comments, see below:

About Michael Fleetwood

Michael Fleetwood was born into a family of diehard Capitals fans and has been watching games as long as he can remember. He was born the year the Capitals went to their first Stanley Cup Final, and is a diehard Caps fan, the owner of the very FIRST Joe Beninati jersey and since then, has met Joe himself. Michael joined the NoVa Caps team in 2015, and is most proud of the growth of the NoVa Caps community in that time. An avid photographer, Michael resides in VA.
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5 Responses to Capitalizing on Opportunity: Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan Emphasizes Clean Slate For Team In First Training Camp Under Spencer Carbery

  1. Anonymous says:

    Big year for Mac, too. IMHO

    • andrew777dc says:

      He made no mention of the trades he made as a factor for the way the season ended. Keeping Backy and Willy in the lineup despite their return derailing what was becoming an awesome season. Yeah, HC’s decision, but I’m sure Mac would’ve had a say. Talk about post-truths.

  2. Prevent Defense says:

    The Caps 23-24 situation is completely natural and has been repeated several times. An outstanding team core is aging, and General Management is working both the transition and the final Swan Songs. It happens to every franchise — at least to the franchises that occasionally achieve greatness. Some never do!

    The Langway-Gartner-Stevens Caps were an excellent NHL club in the early 1980s. Through management and coaching errors they were poor in the playoffs. When the core got old, Caps brass sold-off the assets. Very poorly I think. Gartner-for-Ciccarelli was a disastrous one-sided mistake. Delivering Hall of Famer Scott Stevens to our enemies for nothing nothing nothing was disgusting — quite the Abe Pollin disaster.

    The Bondra Caps got close a couple of times. Peter had some outstanding supporting cast members — and some that were not! The Bondra – Jagr – Lang sell-off in 2003 was painful and ugly. Fresh in the minds of many fans! But the core got old, like it always does. Jagr was brought in at high cost, but it was a move to show the league that Washington Capitals were serious about contending and willing to pay a superstar. Pain, pain and more pain. But it paved the way for drafting Ovechkin and Backstrom and led to the “Young Guns” era that was frustrating — but scintillating!

    There was a Stanley Cup Championship stuffed in there somewhere! Long-time fans were convinced it would never happen.

    Now with internet and anti-Social media, it’s impossible for fans to merely chill and enjoy the ride of Caps Hockey and the NHL. Owner Ted and GMBM are not perfect — but they are LIGHT YEARS better than those who conducted the Caps first two Get-Old-and-Retool-Rebuild operations.

    • Anonymous says:

      GMBM, the incompetent GM who has sabotaged this team with his boneheaded moves, has once again shown his ineptitude by putting Backstrom and Mantha on the ice. These two players are clearly not fit to play in the NHL, and their presence on the team is a testament to GMBM’s lack of understanding of how to build a winning team.

      It is people like you who enable GMBM’s mediocrity and allow him to continue to destroy this team. You are the ones who blindly accept the excuses he gives you and throw money at this dumpster fire team.

      I am disgusted by the team surrounding Ovie. This team is a disgrace to his legacy and his generational talent. He deserves to be surrounded by a team that can compete for a Stanley Cup, not this bunch of broken has beens and over paid beer league level hockey retirees.

      I hope Ovie gets frustrated and asks for a trade to a contender. He deserves to play for a team that is serious about winning. I’d rather see Ovie break the record on another team and have a shot at another cup at this point.

      Backstrom’s refusal to discuss his injury is further evidence of GMBM’s incompetence. This team is clearly not being run in a professional manner. It is a disgrace to the fans and the city of Washington, D.C.

      This team is a disaster. GMBM is the problem, and the fans who enable him are just as bad. I hope Ovie gets out of this mess and finds a team that can compete for a Stanley Cup.

      Until then, lets all play pretend and praise mediocrity

  3. Anonymous says:

    They year is starting with excuses from GMBM already and Mantha was on the 1st line during practice. That tells us everything we need to know about what to expect this season.

    Backstrom is selfish and is going to sink the Caps.

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