Friday, July 13, 2007

Double OT Thriller Today at Kettler

Blue Team
Forwards - Nicklas Backstrom, Francois Bouchard (Pictured), Steve Werner, Andrew Glass, Travis Morin, Pasi Salonen, Brett Bruneteau, Brett Leffler, Mathieu Perrault, Lovecchio
Defenseman - Jamie Hunt, Theo Ruth, Sami Lepisto, Viktor Dovgan, Joe Finley
Goaltenders - Michal Neuvirth, Daren Machesney
White Team
Forwards - Oskar Osala, Kyle Wilson (Pictured), Maxime Lacroix, Andrew Joudrey, Andrew Gordon, Justin Taylor, Phil DeSimone, Luke Lynes, Backman, Lerg
Defenseman - Patrick McNeill, Karl Alzner, Oscar Hedman, Sean Collins, Josh Godfrey
Goaltenders - Simeon Varlamov, Justin Mrazek, Dan Dunn

Today's scrimmage continued with the structure of two 30 minute continuously running periods. Special teams were the main focus of the day as the final 15-20 minutes of both periods were spent alternating five on fours. Despite the numerous odd man advantages though, the scrimmage was a defensive battle led by Karl Alzner of the White Team and Jeff Finley of the Blue Team. Each defender dominated in their own particular style of play.

Alzner shut down his side of the ice by always being in the right place at the right time. He doesn't stand out with big hits or a booming shot from the point. In fact the average fan probably would not even notice him on the ice because he silences his opponents so quietly. But the fact is the guy flat out does not get beat. It will be great to see how he fairs against NHL competition this fall.

Finley on the other hand makes his presence known on the ice. He punishes his opponents by lining them up and throwing his 6'7" 233 pound body at them. He had the hit of the night with two minutes left in the second session, knocking the much smaller Lerg on his backside as he tried to maneuver around him on the attack. One thing Finley needs to learn is when to be aggressive and when to lay back, as he put himself out of position one time while trying to line up a huge hit.

After 60 minutes of play the teams were stuck in a 2-2 tie. The first overtime period followed traditional NHL rules as both teams played four aside. Michal Neuvirth had the save of the night, and the camp, as he made a sprawling save on a breakaway chance by Bryan Lerg. Lerg deeked and tried to beat him on the backhand, but while lying on his chest Neuvirth snapped his glove up and snared the puck out of mid air. Truly an amazing save that makes me excited about Neuvirth's Hasek like abilities.

Still with no winner after 65 minutes, Tarik (who I had the pleasure of talking hockey with for a good long while) and I were hoping for a shootout. But instead Coach Hanlon decided to go to a second overtime period with three men aside. One minute into the session Francois Bouchard streaked up the right wing in an odd man rush and found Backstrom in front for the game winning goal and a 3-2 Blue Team victory.

Your other goals on the night were scored by:
Blue Team - Lovecchio, Travis Morin
White Team - Backman (who has shown great quickness), and Josh Godfrey (Pictured)

A couple of inside tidbits to note. Tarik confirmed to me that Francois Bouchard will definitely be signed and brought to training camp this year. He described Bouchard as the MVP of the camp so far and that he has a very good chance of making the club. Sasha Pokulok is at the camp but is not participating due to an undisclosed injury. No word on what exactly that injury is, but he did miss most of the last season with two separate concussions.

And yes Ted was in the house again today checking out the action.

Also, a shameless plug here as well. This Sunday at noon I'll have John from OFB as well as possibly some more Capitals experts on The Capital Show. We'll be discussing the rookie camp and the team's off-season moves in great detail, so don't miss it.
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1 comment:

Tyler said...

Finley also seems to wander a bit much in the offensive zone. He spent more time below the circles than he did around the blue line (of the O-zone).