Already on an insane goal-scoring pace at 33 years old, Alex Ovechkin...
Capitals Open Preseason With a Win
The Capitals looked to knock some of the rust off in their first preseason game, and they looked good doing it in their 1-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres.
20 of the 66 guys taking part in the training camp suited up. After a grueling opening couple of days of training camp, Head Coach Barry Trotz wanted to get the ball rolling early. He was happy with his team’s performance.
“It was ok,” Trotz said. “I liked our start. We talked about having a good start. One of the things was last year there were a lot of complaints that they didn’t get off to great starts, so I tried to focus on that.”
The lone goal was scored by Andre Burakovsky, who played primarily between Jason Chimera and Joel Ward (who Trotz referred affectionately as “the twins”), and towards the end played with Alex Ovechkin. Burakovsky earned the first star of the game for his first preseason tally.
“It was nice to score the first goal,” Burakovsky said. “I got a great pass from [Jason] Chimera and I just took a wrister and it went in. I was kind of shocked, but it feels really good to have the first goal. And after that goal, I think I could relax a little bit more in the game, feel more comfortable out there and just keep playing hard.”
Burakovsky is still such a young player. But Trotz has made sure that he keeps his eye on one player, Nick Backstrom. Trotz admires Backstrom’s two way game, and wants to develop Burakovsky into a similar manner.
“He’s good,” Trotz said, referring to Burakovsky. “I’ve tried to match him in some of the rosters with Nick Backstrom. Burakovsky has a very high skill level, and I kept telling him ‘there’s a play right there that Nick made.’ In the third period, we got out of our zone, and Nick carried it up and they were tracking him. He was all by himself when we were trying to change. He didn’t panic. He carried it down and made a good play. There was a play similar to that earlier, and Burakovsky was in that same position, and he quick-pivoted and then he just threw it. I was just saying, see how Nicky has a little more poise, and that allows us to get a tighter change, and now you can have some more puck possession. Those are great teaching moments.”
Trotz also complimented Tyler Lewington on his play. Lewington had a very physical game, leading the team with five hits. He seemed to be very comfortable during his 17:58 minutes of play.
The two goalies, Phoenix Copley and Holtby each pitched a shutout, Copley playing in the first and Holtby in the second and third. In his two scrimmages, Copley has yet to surrender a goal. Copley was just excited to get his first game underway.
“It was good,” Copley said. “It was a lot of fun. The guys played great in front of me, and that made it a great experience.”
The Capitals also have a new tradition within the locker room. A brand new Capitals Weagle sits right in the middle of the locker room, roped off so no one can step on it. There’s a couple rules about the new logo in the locker room. First rule, do not step on the logo in the locker room. Second rule, do NOT step on the logo in the locker room.
“It’s a good rule,” Ovechkin said. “We changed the locker room. We changed our mentality and the boys like it.”
“I think there’s a pride that we should have in our organization,” Trotz said. “It’s about what’s on the front of the jersey, not what’s on the back of the jersey. What’s on the front of the jersey should be a little bit sacred. Plus, it makes our room look great. So we roped it off, so you can not step on it. I think that’s a pride and a standard we want in the organization.”