When players arrived in Arlington yesterday, they began the process of assimilating into Caps culture. They are integral pieces of the organization.
When I go to the Wednesday camp session I anticipate a hard-fought scrimmage between the two training squads. They are fighting for their lives as pro hockey players. In this camp, the Capitals have legitimate athletes that are certainly able to penetrate the team over the next few years, even this October.
John Carlson is one of the players who will be invited to training camp in September. As George McPhee discussed today, he believes that Carlson is a great player and the Caps might be plank-walked into using him next term because he’s a cheaper option. I say plank-walked because they would like to give him a year in Hershey before bringing him up. Even if he’s rushed in, McPhee believes he is one of the guys who is ready.
McPhee mentioned how “other teams” have been forced to use their developing players because the salary cap has been so harsh on their normal first team. I am thinking Detroit; Justin Abdelkader, Darren Helm, and Jonathan Eriksson were used as supplementary players when others were too expensive to use. Obviously they were ready (Helm could have been a two-time Cup winner as a rookie last season). I reckon Carlson is the man to replace a Jeff Shultz who was embarassed this year in the first game of the post-season.
This camp will display some solid talent like Mathieu Perreault and Francois Bouchard who are Calder Cup champions. They are winners of a championship and that might be just what this team needs. I mentioned them in an earlier post as players that might garner positive attention for their skill.
The assemblage of talent at this camp will certainly impress as will a Saturday crowd that will watch the end-of-camp scrimmage. McPhee certainly has a special blend brewing in the franchise.
Last year’s camp was good. This one will be great.