24 April, 2014

Kids Clash at Kettler

Development Camp - Day 1Following an organizational shift towards a more competitive atmosphere, the youngsters at the Caps’ Rookie Camp divided into two teams and got it on tonight, a welcome bit of talented and well-contested hockey amongst yet another humid scorcher in the D.C. Metro area.
The setup is two refs, and instead of playing three 20 minute periods, there will be two 30 minute halves, with the a running clock. I didn’t see any penalties called, and the faceoffs gave new meaning to the term ‘hurry-up’. We were stationed at one end of the rink, so we caught the action from our vantage point much easier, and it was somewhat confusing the action at the other end.

The Susan O’Malley Memorial Attendance Count: 17,833
It was hard-working affair with excellent pace of action, with several solid hits being thrown early. Oskar Osala, in particular,Oskar Osala was a physical presence, throwing 4 big hits, and also placing a well-aimed cross-check to the back of the head of an opposing forward. He didn’t figure in the scoring from our vantage point, but his physical presence was well-noted and Darren Machesny won’t remember Osala crashing his cage fondly.
Jamie Hunt was also involved in the physical side of the game, and at one point he and Osala had a 15 second long battle for a loose puck along the boards that warmed the heart — neither player gave an inch.
Reigning QJMHL MVP Matheiu Perreault was conspicuous for his ability, and with his stick-handling and willingness to go into the heart of the defense more than once. He used his puckhandling well in the first half, throwing a deke then beating Varlamov who didn’t know where the puck was until it was behind him.
Big Joe Finley showed some surprising vision, making two excellent head-man passes springing a forward for a scoring chance. He had a few errors as well, particularly in bringing the puck up the ice himself. One of the funniest moments of the night involved forward Andrew Gordon bringing up the puck along the right boards, with Finley lining him up for the big hit. Gordon, who has played against Finley in the NCAA, wanted no part of it, jumping to avoid the hit and gladly surrendering possession of the biscuit to the big defender.
Gordon’s discretion involved him and Joudrey in maybe the best passing play of the night, with the pair working the puck, then one going behind the opposition net and resulting in a centering feed which Patrick McNeill buried. Gordon followed that up with an excellent shift later in the game, showing determination on the forecheck and throwing a solid bump on an opposing defender on the breakout.
Swedish import Nicklas Backstrom didn’t stand out offensively outside of a few slick puck-handling moves, but his defensive awareness is sound — he worked diligently and effectively on the backcheck, and gave good effort on the defensive side of the ice.Development Camp - Day 1
Russian wrecking ball Viktor Dovgan continued his physical brand of hockey, but may have been most obvious when his kamikaze style caused him to miss a check and windmill kick the boards.
Darren Machesny had a decent game, giving up a rattling 5-hole tally, but also doing well to look through a screen to save a tipped point shot.
Other random observations: Francois Bouchard had two solid chances on net, including a flashy run swooping in from the right that caused some goaltender stress. Sean Collins made a strong feed to a streaking forward while skating backwards at an awkward angle into a defensive corner. Karl Alzner is as smooth as advertised, making the right decision in most situations.
Kettler IcePlex’ first taste of NHL talent competing was clearly a happy occurrence for all: employees could be seen watching from the offices, and General Manager George McPhee and Ted Leonsis observed the proceedings from the porch overlooking center ice.
My personal player of the game was Oskar Osala, who played with high energy and had a decidedly hard edge to his game. Jamie Hunt was physical, but combined it with several clever offensive forays, and Matheiu Perreault played a creative and fearless game, and both deserve mention.
The White team won the game 5 – 3, but the real winners were those who had a chance to quit the humidity and enjoy well-fought puck.


  1. CapitalGoodie wrote:

    Good stuff. Glad to hear Osala brought the sandpaper to rookie camp.
    Sounds like Perreault was on his horse with confidence too, I like the sounds of him being noticable in that atmosphere/competition. He’s a special player, it bodes very well for the future is he’s able to play his game is with this talented crowd of prospects.
    Bouchard sounds like he didn’t dissapoint either, he’ll have to learn to let the puck rip himself a little more than he might otherwise be use to with Backstrom as his centre. Both are highly intelligent hockey players so I really hope they leave them together and let those two learn how each others game.
    I’m jealous of all who attended, thanks for the recap Empty.

    12 July, 2007 at 3:48 am | Permalink
  2. strungout wrote:

    Oskar Osala is quickly becoming one of the most intriguing prospects we have. Nice mix of everything in a perfect sized hockey playing body. Can’t wait to see how he’s progressed since training camp last season.
    Thanks much for the recap. Keep em coming. I’ll be out there Friday.

    12 July, 2007 at 4:37 am | Permalink
  3. Smitty wrote:

    Gah! I had almost managed to purge my memory of Susan O’Malley. Curse you for putting the thought of that soulless gutter tramp back in there!
    I keed, I keed.
    Good rundown. I also noticed that scrum between Osala and Hunt and it did indeed warm my heart. My money’s on them for “most likely to drop the gloves before the week is over.”
    Bouchard also caught me by surprise. He likes to crash the low slot pretty hard and I’d love to see him do exactly that at the Phone Booth someday. He had a lot of hustle and looks like he’s come a long way.
    I hadn’t planned on going today, but I don’t think I can resist now that I’ve had a taste. Thank God for a job with flex scheduling.

    12 July, 2007 at 1:27 pm | Permalink