Last Tuneup Before Carolina

The format for today’s training camp activity was the same as Friday’s opening day schedule. One group practiced on one rink while the other two groups faced off in a scrimmage that consisted of two 25-minute halves.

Blue defeated White by a 4-2 count, jumping out to a 4-0 lead before holding off a late White rally. Olie Kolzig started in goal for White and Frederic Cassivi for Blue. Those two were replaced by the two “replacement” netminders in camp, Kris Moyotte and Anthony Feyock.

As was the case yesterday, the two teams did not switch sides at the conclusion of the first half. Our perch at the K-Plex is on the balcony at one end of the ice, and it would have been nice to see both teams defend the goal at that end. It would make evaluations easier, but our evaluations aren’t the ones that matter, anyway.

With that in mind, here are a few things I found noteworthy from today’s scrimmage:

The line of Chris Bourque, Jason Morgan and Jakub Klepis roared out of the gate with a strong early shift, as did the trio of Matt Pettinger and Chris Clark flanking Nicklas Backstrom.

Mathieu Perreault made a nice play to set up Quintin Laing, but the latter fanned on the pass. Later in the game, Perreault did set up Laing for a goal, with Boyd Gordon getting the other assist. I enjoyed watching Perreault play today and thought he looked good, but he was sent back to his junior team, Acadie-Bathurst of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, after the scrimmage.

The Blue team trio of Brian Sutherby with Matt Bradley and Brooks Laich was consistently solid throughout the afternoon. Bradley and Sutherby both scored, accounting for half of their team’s scoring. Sutherby’s goal came in the opening seconds of the second half. He took an outlet pass in the neutral zone, and was aided when White defenseman Josef Boumedienne blew a tire. Sutherby then fired a sharp wrister that eluded the goaltender high on the glove side.

Scott Barney scored one of the other Blue goals, sliding one in from a bad angle. One of my viewing companions noted that Barney plays the game like Graham Mink, and looks similar to him on the ice. If Barney’s health permits him to play 70 games or so for the Bears this season, he’ll net 30-35 goals. He definitely makes his living in the high traffic areas.

The other Blue goal came on a Mike Green point shot through a screen. From our vantage point, it was hard to tell if anyone got a stick or a body on it before it got behind Kolzig.

In addition to Laing’s goal, Pettinger scored for White. His tally came after a dominant shift by his line in the offensive zone. The puck came right to Pettinger in front, and the netminder didn’t have a good handle on exactly where it was. By the time he figured it out, Pettinger had snapped it past him.

Joe Reekie remarked how it’s obvious that Boyd Gordon played for Brent Sutter. Reekie played with Sutter on Long Island some years ago, and he sagely noted the similarities in the way they skate and play the game. Forgot to mention that I saw someone with a vintage blue Islanders sweater with Reekie’s name and number (29) on the back at my son’s tournament in Frederick last week. Nice sweater, that one.

Alexander Semin went off with an injury and did not return. He and Pettinger got tangled up chasing a puck behind the net, and I think Semin’s shield hit the wall and his face and caused some bleeding. The injury is not serious, as Semin was seen soon afterwards walking around with his shoulder pads and no sweater.

Viktor Kozlov, who sustained a facial injury that required stitches in Friday’s opening day of camp, was on the ice today practicing with his own group of players. He’s sporting quite a shiner, and was seen icing it after Saturday’s action.

For coverage of Sunday’s training camp activities, try one of the fine links to other great Caps-specific blogs on the blogroll at the right. I’d recommend On Frozen Blog, Japers Rink and DC Cheap Seats, all of which have been a virtually constant presence at the K-Plex since the start of camp. I’ll be elsewhere tomorrow, but more on that in just a bit.

Later this weekend on washingtoncaps.com, look for a video feature on Josef Boumedienne, who is back in North America this season after spending the last three seasons playing in three different European leagues. Today will also mark the return of a feature that we started back in 1999: “Game Day Preview.” The GDP for tomorrow’s Carolina-Caps game won’t be as meaty as our regular season versions, but we’ll have some stuff you’ll want to check out before the game tomorrow.

We also started working on another fun little video feature that we’ll have for you later in the week ahead.

I’ll be accompanying the team on its Sunday trip to Raleigh. We’ve been given the Caps roster for the game, and we’ll probably post it here in this space shortly before the start of the game tomorrow. Even better, Steve Kolbe and I will be calling the action live for a streaming broadcast on http://www.washingtoncaps.com, as we have done for all of the road preseason games for the last several years. Hope you’ll be able to listen in at some point.

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