Last night it could be very well reported that the squad from Washington, finally appeared back to being a team in full.
The Capitals cycled the puck, did a superb job back-checking after making adjustments to combat Toronto’s quick counter-attacks, and had a power play that was beyond sharp, converting three times on five chances. If this is the most comfortable you’ve seen the Capitals look yet under Dale Hunter, you aren’t alone.
“We knew where to be all over the ice, we have confidence in the new system now. When you’re losing the first couple games and not getting too many chances it can be tough to try to stick with it, but guys did. Dale kept reinforcing what we need to do and over the last couple games we’ve been systematically sound and very disciplined and that’s why we’ve been able to win,” said Troy Brouwer today at practice.
Right now everyone is pitching in, including the Capitals captain who had three registered blocks on one shift. “Ask him about it, he’s the professional,” Alexander Ovechkin joked when asked about the feat, pointing to a nearby Matt Hendricks.
All jokes aside, if even your superstar is willing to get dirty once in awhile, in the defensive zone like Hendricks is apt to do, that’s a very good sign. “Right now everyone is on the same page,” said Ovechkin.
It certainly appears that way.
As for Hendricks, (Who still is injured, but skated today for the first time since that injury.) one should not be surprised to learn that from one tough guy to another, the gritty forward is very happy to play under Dale Hunter. “Yeah I feel comfortable in this system for sure. I look at the way he played (Hunter) when I used to watch him, and he was a great competitor, kind of a ferocious player. I try to emulate a little of that. Obviously I don’t put up the points that he did, but I try to play the same style that he has,” Hendricks said.
As these Capitals now look to play a ‘new school’ offense with some ‘old school’ grit, we think Hendricks will do just fine.
More practice notes:
- The Capitals worked on shootout drills and the scene was humorous and competitive at the same time. The squads we’re separated and at the very end Troy Brouwer scored to lead his team to victory. His prize? Brouwer received a red bucket that he hoisted above his head like it was the Stanley Cup, (Check our photo gallery for the pictures.) as the rest of thes team hollered in amusement.
- See even millionaire superstars aren’t really that much different from you and me. Sure, some of these guys drive vehicles that cost more than your life savings, but at the end of the day these guys like a day off from work, just as much as you. With the Caps next game on Tuesday and no practice on Sunday, Ovechkin said his plan was to hang out with his ‘girlfriends’ (As in plural, but we’ve heard Alex announce on Twitter about a certain Russian Tennis Player in his life, so we’ll assume he only means one.) and sleep till 1PM. Not a bad Sunday methinks.