21 April, 2014


Duchesne Cup Day 2: Ovi’s Army Overpowers

photo by OFB

  • This is so Ovi: The opening score in Monday’s Duchesne Cup scrimmage between groups A and C was scored by the A team’s Mike Knuble — guess where on the ice — off a corner feed from his Russian linemate, and as Alexander Ovechkin skated back to his bench and received outstretched glove-tap congrats from his benchmates he bellowed out to them, “That’s how we roll, boys.”
  • A bested C today by a 6-3 count, making for two Duchesne Cup scrimmages and two lopsided results. The head coach was asked afterward if he liked so much scoring in training camp scrimmages, and he instantly replied, “That’s us!” But he also alluded to some stern messaging he imparted after Sunday’s 5-0 mismatch. “I had a good little talk with the team that lost 5-0,” he said.
  • In a losing effort, another conspicuously strong showing by the group C line of Jason Chimera, Mathieu Perreault, and Eric Fehr. Chimera potted a pair in the opening frame that briefly drew the C squad even after they’d surrendered the game’s first two goals. Bruce Boudreau showered post-game praise on his pint-sized pivot. “He is getting better as he gets older,” the coach noted. “They have dominated a lot of the play. He’s coming after it.” Boudreau identified Perreault’s quickness and hockey sense as his two best attributes.
  • Group A’s All World line of Ovechkin-Backstrom-Knuble (two goals today for the right wing) is obviously the best of camp, but you could credibly claim that Matty’s line is the next best. Doubt you’d get an argument from the head coach. The captain was asked in his post-scrimmage remarks who he thought stood out in the skate. “Perreault is good,” he replied.
  • Two players have caught Gabby’s notice for adding “muscle weight” over the summer: Matty and Eric Fehr.
  • D.J. King made a point of saying hello to an awful lot of opposing teammates Monday afternoon, most often along the boards, most often with his stick up a little high. Sean Collins made the mistake of holding on to the puck quite a bit too long along the boards in front of his bench, and got King Kong-ed for the mistake. Collins was hurled high and violently into the air, about half his body bowed over into the bench. I was standing in the photographer’s box, a mere eight or ten feet away from the pulverizing as it transpired, and I reflexively shivered at the violence. Then I smiled.
  • Interesting observation shared with me today by a Big Media broadcaster who took in today’s scrimmage, with respect to what is perhaps overly inflated expectations of a barely 20-year-old Marcus Johansson: Assuming Carlson, Alzner, and Neuvirth are locks for the opening night roster, that’s three players each with fewer than 50 NHL games’ experience. Perreault has 21. Johansson, obviously, zero. Would the Caps really want as many as five basically rookie bodies — comprising upwards of a quarter of the roster — as configuration for Stanley Cup contention this season?
  • Here’s where I stand with Johansson: terrific looking young player, with an upside I don’t think we’re anywhere near reasonably forecasting, but how reasonable is it to expect him to migrate from the European-sized ice sheet to North America’s, with but a few weeks’ skates on it, and play a notably contributing role for an elite NHL team, before he turns 21? This is partially what the American League is for.
  • My OFB colleague Alex took notes from the KCI stands today. Here’s his scribbling on MoJo: “Johansson had some nifty maneuvers to avoid some checks, keeping possession of the puck effectively while in center ice. Along the boards, it’s a different story, as he was outclassed by most of the opposing defensemen. There were a couple of times during the scrimmage where both he and Mike Green (opposite team) were chasing the puck and Green got to it first both times despite Johansson having a positional advantage. Nevertheless, his vision was probably his best asset today, and when he was on the ice, he was in control of the puck in the offensive zone.”
  • Alex, like me, has watched just a couple of days of Trevor Bruess this camp, and like me he wants to watch many more. Again from Alex’s scrimmage notes: “I’m a huge Trevor Bruess fan, and I think he could piss off anyone in the league if he wanted to. He has some serious speed and is a character guy that could play an intangibles role for the Capitals in upcoming seasons. If any of the hard knockers go down for the Caps this year, Bruess could get a callup look. This player has huge heart.”


4 Comments

  1. I’m as much a Trevor Bruess fan as the next guy, in fact probably more but between those comments and your continued undertone about toughness, etc. this blog continues to diverge from reality as to what will and will not work in the NHL in the 21st century, IMO. Enough with all the rah, rah give us Olde Tyme Hockey junk – goal scori9ng and speed win games in today’s NHL … to me the only difference between playoffs and regular season that is meaningful is in the playoffs EVERYONE is willing to sacrafice their body to either a) score or b) slow the others team down and keep them from scoring.

    21 September, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Permalink
  2. Hittman wrote:

    It would be nice to have a team that can fight if need be, finishes all checks, but is still fast and scary in the offensive zone. Right now we can kinda sorta fight in a pinch, finish about 50% of checks depending on who is skating, and obviously score in bunches.

    Reality is that a guy like Cam Neely comes along only once in a while so to try to have all three is a pipedream.

    His name is Alex Ovechkin and he’s here to play some hockey. Will you watch him?

    21 September, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Permalink
  3. Let’s hope this season sees Alex be Alex — a wrecking ball of a player who, while mindful of the rules, still delivers splat-on-the-windshield hits.

    Usually-Frustrated, of course you are correct: speed and scoring are the key to today’s NHL, and the Caps have that in abundance. But grit is not to be overlooked… not Old Tyme Hockey sterotypes, but someone who makes opponents’ lives miserable when they bump-and-screen goalies in the crease, for example. Look at the teams who’ve won the Cup recently, or even those who made it to the finals and lost: They ALL have at least a couple of those kinds of players. That’s not coincidence.

    21 September, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Permalink
  4. OvieTracker wrote:

    Ovie said in an interview that this season the Capitals will play their game and not listen to what anyone else says. Perhaps he was referring to the criticism he received last year in the wake of his hits and supensions, and he was referring mostly about himself and his plans to tune out the naysayers and not to change his game. If so this is good news, because the Captials need their Captain to be his formidable dominant self. Ovie needs to concentrate on playing hockey and tune out all other distractions.

    21 September, 2010 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

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