Burly Russians stood out during the Washington Capitals’ second rookie camp scrimmage. Those two guys are named Dmitri Kugryshev and Dmitri Orlov and both made big impressions on me for their tenacity, off-puck movement, and physicality when it mattered most.
Orlov is a diminuitive but heavy-hitting rearguard while Kugryshev is a skilled power forward. Both are big, intelligent movers and are very smooth skaters.
I asked Bruce Boudreau about the spectacular Russians on display and he had this to say:
“Well I think Orlov’s really making an impression. [He] does a lot of things well for a guy that doesn’t know the language. He’s got pure skill and he plays a tough game too.”
Local boy Nick Sorkin was nailed by Orlov’s tough game early in the first period with an out-of-nowhere hit that the crowd really got into.
Kugryshev was all over the place today. In the dying minute of the game he rang the pipe after recovering the puck in the corners, passing to a defenseman and retrieving it for a howitzer.
“I think Kugry is a lot better than last year,” Boudreau said, “He looks a lot stronger on the puck. He definitely knows where the net is and knows how to make a play.”
These scrimmages are not about winning or losing, but about the individual standing out above the rest. While most of the talk this week has been about John Carlson, he was only really noticeable in the second period of the exhibition today. Besides the Russians, those who stood out were Mathieu Perreault, Braden Holtby and Joel Broda. Francois Bouchard was also a juggernaut on the blue team’s powerplay, which cashed in a couple of times.
Perreault answered a couple questions after the exhibition about Bob Woods’ promotion to the Capitals as an assistant, his game evolving, and his size.
“We all kind of expected it and I think he deserves it,” Perreault said referring to Woods’ promotion, “he’s a great coach and it’s good for him.”
Perreault maintains he has been improving each of the four years he’s come to development camp.
“I got much faster and much confidence on the ice. I’m skating the puck up the ice pretty good which I wasn’t doing my first two, three years.”
On the question of his size, he groaned somewhat as if the issue has exhausted him.
“I try to get stronger every year, I mean I don’t get real bigger ’cause I’ve been the same weight for the last two, three years,” Perreault said, “I’m just trying to get stronger on the ice overall and more powerful.”
For this writer and some of the other bloggers, he was above and beyond the best player on the white squad today (which was the winning side by a wide margin: 8-3).
- Anton Gustaffson played sparingly today and was caught up high somehow in a fracas while several players crashed the net. He missed the remainder of the game.
- Joel Broda was fun to watch as he stickhandled very well in the trenches and set up a nice goal by slipping the puck to Michael Dubuc.
- Braden Holtby and Garrett Zemlak were the best goalies today.