Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Capitals Rookie Camp - Day 1

I'll have some pictures up later today from yesterday's Day 1 of Caps Rookie Camp. I always love seeing the differences in speed and skill between the rookies and the vets. With the vets, the drills are always crisper, the passes always tape-to tape. More interestingly, the moves are always less showy (far fewer toe-drags and between the legs moves) and are almost always power moves (speed, using the body, positioning). The rookies think showing off their hands is how to get Bruce's attention.

I love some of Bruce's drills. The warm-up drills in the neutral zone (6 players, all with pucks, skating in close quarters; two teams of 3 players, each with a puck, passing between themselves; 1-on-1 keep-away) include a couple drills I use (except I'm usually throwing 20 novices into the same space) and love. I honestly thought I came up with those drills 3 years ago. Apparently, I'm not Canadian.

Of all the players on the ice, once again John Carlson stood out. During the 1-on-1 drills, I think 75% of the opposing forwards ended up on their backs and I'm certain I didn't see one of them get a shot off. Granted, most of these players aren't showing NHL speed, but it was still impressive.

Varly looks like he's breaking in his pads. I saw quite a few 5-hole goals that would have been gobbled up last year. He also looks like he's trying to hold back on some of his power moves. Varly's lateral movement is off the charts, but he's often so powerful that he leaves himself out of position when he moves side-to-side. I think he's finally seen what the NHL has to offer and is tailoring his game to what his opponents bring. He looked like he didn't care much how he looked on Day 1...like he was just trying to learn his pads and work his way into game shape.

Irbe is a VERY active goalie coach. After almost every shot, he was in Varly's crease offering an opinion or advice. I didn't see him down at Holtby's net much though...favoritism?

I like Varly's pads (see: a ton of the pictures). What I don't like? The silver and a red that's closer to Maroon than Caps Red. I would have gone Caps Red and white and not even think of Maroon as an option.

Lastly, I love Herbies (suicides to some people). I especially loved seeing Kugryshev and Miskovic with that "I'm going to die" look on their faces.

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