You’re a 19-year-old defenseman, skating in front of NHL coaches on the first day of rookie camp. You look up to pass the puck, and arguably the best player in the NHL is on the other end of your receiving pass.
That was Capitals’ prospect Samuel Carrier’s Sunday on the first morning of Capitals rookie camp – and one which had a high-profile guest in team captain and 2-time league MVP Alex Ovechkin. Capitals’ head coach Bruce Boudreau explained to the media after practice that Ovechkin asked to participate in rookie drills Sunday to catch up on ice time, since he had to attend the NHL media tour last week in New York.
“First pass I did, I look up– it was Ovi – ‘Oh!’” Carrier described his reaction to seeing Ovechkin out on the ice. “You don’t want to miss your pass, you know?”
Carrier spent the previous four seasons playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. His father played junior hockey, so Carrier started participating in the sport at a young age.
“Hockey’s my passion,” Carrier said, adding later, “Even when I play Xbox and stuff like that, it’s NHL.”
Fellow camp attendee Nick Tabisz was sitting on the bench Sunday when Ovechkin came and sat down next to him. Tabisz said that on Saturday morning, he had gone into one of the rooms at Kettler to get his gear, and Ovechkin was in the room doing the same. Tabisz got to shake Ovechkin’s hand, which gave him a perfect one-liner a few minutes later when a friend texted him to see how camp was going.
“Well, I just shook Ovechkin’s hand,” Tabisz responded.
Tabisz had told his friends back home that the one thing he wanted to see at the Caps camp out of the pro skaters was Ovechkin shooting the puck.
“It was just pretty cool watching him shoot the puck,” Tabisz said. “It was worth it.”