Jeff Halpern, Martin Erat and Mike Ribeiro play their former teammates.
Royals Enjoy the Day in Washington
Photos by Alena Schwarz
With a little help from their ECHL brethren, the Washington Capitals moved a bit closer to getting back into the NHL groove. In a Tuesday morning scrimmage, the Reading Royals lost 8-0 to Washington at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex.
While the final score was disappointing, the Royals came down knowing that the match was one more so for the home team.
“It’s fun to play against Capitals team. Everyone understands it’s their first game for most guys; they didn’t play [during the lockout],” said Stanislav Galiev, who was recently sent down from Hershey.
For players like Galiev, it was a chance to make an impression in Washington, where they are usually limited to development or training camp. Though Capitals coach Adam Oates was more focused on his own players, his were not the only eyes at Kettler. Galiev and his teammates played for a packed house despite the mid-week timing, “Every time I come to Washington it feels like I’m home. I love this town and great fans.”
It was also a chance to catch up as on-ice conversations broke out after the game. For Royals captain Yannick Tifu, who has some not-quite shared history with Mike Ribeiro through the QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, it was fun just to play NHLers. “For guys like us it’s always great to play like Ovechkin and Backstrom and Ribeiro and all those guys…We were excited the last couple days to come down and play that game,” said the seven-year ECHL veteran.
Another feature was goalie Brandon Anderson who has been absent from the roster since mid-December. During the scrimmage, each team shot on their own goalie, so both he and Sergey Kostenko, who played the second half, came away with shutouts.
“It’s good to be back with the team. Excited to get back and thought I did well today so it’s a good first step,” said Anderson.
The first-year Royal expects to stay with the team through the end of the season, though is taking it “day by day.”
The Royals will spend some time in the Washington area before heading back north for a Wednesday morning game against the Trenton Titans.
Alex Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson had a nasty collision in the first period, but both returned to play the rest of the game. Mike Green was also absent as he was not feeling well according to coach Oates.