Friday, February 9, 2007

Capitals Practice Recap

Brian Muir and Brian Pothier were on the ice again this morning as I arrived at 10:30 AM. However there was no sign of John Erskine so I wonder if he has had a setback in his rehabilitation. The lines for today saw no changes:

Red - Ovechkin, Zubrus, Clark, plus Beech
Black - Semin, Laich, Fehr
Teal - Pettinger, Gordon, Zednik, plus Clymer
Yellow - Brashear, Sutherby, Bradley
White - Schultz, Jurcina, Nycholat, Green, Morrisonn, Eminger, Heward

The main focus of practice today involved neutral zone trapping and working on their power play.

The practice started with a lot of full length skating drills. Hard to tell what the main point of this was besides maybe just warming up. One variation included two guys that would be circling in the center ice area before receiving an outlet pass and heading in on goal.

The same 5 on 2 drill as the other day was next. The team of five would retrieve the puck in their own zone and head up the ice into the offensive zone. After taking a shot on net they would then immediately head the opposite direction and attack the other net. Lots of end to end skating here.

One of the main focuses of practice was next as the team worked on their neutral zone trap. It was a 4 on 5 drill that would concentrate on making sure two men would pressure the offensive player with the puck. This drill went on for a good 20 minutes and had some good intensity to it. During the drill Coach Hanlon singled out Eric Fehr for some back checking pointers.

That drill was followed up by the team working on their power play, a part of their game that Hanlon had said, after last night's game, needed work. Over their last four games they have been 0 for 15 with the extra man.

The first power play unit consisted of Ovechkin, Zubrus, and Clark up front, with Semin and Heward on the point. The unit seemed to concentrate on getting both Ovechkin and Clark in front of the net to create traffic around the goal. Semin was at the center of the ice by the blue line, while Heward and Zubrus were on each side.

The second unit saw Fehr, Laich, and Zednik up front with Green and Jurcina or Clymer on the backline. This unit used the traditional setup of two on the point, two on each board, and one in front of the net. Hopefully the work they got in today can help break them out of their funk.

After the main drills were over the guys each got in some individual shooting work on one side, while the other side of the ice saw Johnson involved in the same goaltender drill as the other day. One guy would shoot on him while at least four other players surrounded the goal like you would see when someone is on the free-throw line in basketball. The play would continue until Johnson was able to control the puck.

Overall it looked like a very productive practice. The guys seemed to be in good spirits following last night's overtime win.

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