Welcome to Caps 'Round the Clock, a blog covering the Washington Capitals and the NHL. In season, I update the Blog after every practice and on game day with Caps news and information, and then provide a recap and analysis after each contest. I also write a periodical Prospect Watch and weekly feature pieces on the state of the Men in Red and other things Capitals. And of course, I will post videos and tidbits from around the League and offer my two cents as the season wears on. In the offseason, I write a Report Card for each player, and will keep you updated on all the news about the Caps through the summer. I'm glad you're here, and hope you come back!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Development Camp: Day 1

Cody Eakin speaks with the media.
Prospects and undrafted free agents were all over the place at Kettler Capitals Iceplex today, as Development Camp got underway with a 9:45 AM skate for Group A.  Many prospects impressed, including Cody Eakin, Patrick Wey, Patrick Mullane, and Garrett Haar. Mullane, an invitee who plays with Boston College, looked very good in that group and to me was the best player not under contract. Young goaltenders Philipp Grubauer and Steffen Soberg were on hand in Group A as well, with Soberg skating for the first time as a member of the organization.
Group B was highlighted by Dmitry Orlov, Stan Galiev, and Mattias Sjogren. In that group, Orlov was particularly impressive.  Although much smaller than I anticipated, the young Russian defenseman was physical, getting in to it several times with fellow prospect Garrett Ross and laying a few big open ice hits. Sjogren also looked very good, as he was clearly the most complete prospect in his group both in terms of size and skill.  He had a tooth knocked out about ten minutes into his session, but returned to the ice quickly.
After group A left the ice, Troy Brouwer had his first in-person media availability as a member of the organization as well, and stressed his physicality as piece that he hopes to bring to Washington on a regular basis.  He noted that he knows his role on the team, and that he likes were DC is headed as an organization both in the near and distant future.
General Manager George McPhee also spoke, and did not have an update on RFA Karl Alzner's contract status, though he said that he does expect to speak with Alzner's agent later this week.  When asked about any more possible trades, he said that he does not expect to move anyone else at this juncture, although he will listen to offers from other teams.  The General Manager also talked about the trade of Eric Fehr last week, noting the ability to acquire more selections in what is expected to be a deep entry draft class next summer.  McPhee likes where the team is now, and said that it is much better to have the holes plugged now rather than at the trade deadline.
New Associate Goaltending Coach Olie Kolzig spoke with the media as well, and could not be happier about joining the team he played virtually his entire NHL career with as a coach.  Kolzig noted that he was very impressed with the organization's goaltending depth, remarking that it "could not get any deeper." The former Vezina Trophy winer said that there is no bad blood left from his rather unceremonious exit from the organization, and that he got "the itch" after two years out of hockey.  He hopes that his experience will be the most valuable thing that he can bring to the coaching staff, being a former player, and is looking forward to the start of training camp in September.
Lastly, Bruce Boudreau spoke, and seemed to make it clear that Tomas Vokoun will be the number one goalie coming in to camp, saying that he has earned the "respect" and "edge" for that job.  When asked about top prospect Cody Eakin, who continues to generate buzz around fans and media alike, Boudreau says he believes that Eakin will do "whatever it takes" to stick, that he loves his makeup as a player, and that he expects a very tough decision after training camp on his future.

More to come later.  Stay tuned.

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