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Capitals Notebook

Capitals Informal Skates: McMichael Shines, Fehervary & More Return

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Washington Capitals

ARLINGTON, V.A. — “Sudden death, next goal wins!” Washington Capitals goaltending coach Scott Murray declares as the team’s informal skate and red vs. white scrimmage winds down on Thursday. Connor McMichael gets the message and speeds up ice before unleashing a dart from the point through traffic. As it beats Mitchell Gibson, McMichael throws his hands up in the air in celebration, skating to center ice where he celebrates with his teammates.

McMichael was among the standouts at a busy informal skate that saw more players return from busy offseasons. Martin Fehervary officially took the ice in D.C. after spending his offseason back home in Bratislava, Slovakia. On the last day of training before heading back to the States, he chipped his two front teeth after taking a stick up high. Both teeth are intact as he returns. Fehervary wasn’t the only defenseman back, as Matt Irwin also got back in action.

Here were Thursday’s attendees: Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Marcus Johansson, John Carlson, T.J. Oshie, Carl Hagelin, Anthony Mantha, Lars Eller, Nic Dowd, Garnet Hathaway, Connor Brown, Connor McMichael, Nick Jensen, Martin Fehervary, John Carlson, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Erik Gustafsson, Matt Irwin, Gabriel Carlsson, Charlie Lindgren, Mitchell Gibson.

Dylan Strome and Darcy Kuemper did not take part in Thursday’s skate, nor did Hendrix Lapierre, Vincent Iorio or the other rookies as they undergo physicals ahead of rookie camp on Friday. Almost all of the Capitals are back, with the exception of Conor Sheary and Henrik Borgstrom.

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In addition to McMichael, there were other standouts as well. Brown showed great defensive awareness and didn’t shy away from engaging in puck battles. Gustafsson also looks great, and is showcasing stellar mobility and skating as he gets involved offensively. He also has a great point shot, cycles well with the puck and doesn’t shy away from throwing the weight around.

Washington also got the chance to play around with line combinations as Ovechkin-Kuznetsov-Johansson went up against Hagelin-Dowd-Oshie. Not much to read into, just some fun combos in a friendly scrimmage.

Other notes:

  • Hathaway took a hard tumble into the boards. He’s absolutely fine.
  • Hagelin is looking better each day. I see him returning at some point this season, but that’s just my take. Nothing confirmed and still likely a long road back, but seeing him engage physically, take part in contact drills and scrimmages and score some goals is a good sign.
  • Brown is going to be a heck of a penalty killer. Great positioning.
  • Lindgren came up with quite a few big stops, including a flurry of rebounds and a clear-cut Ovechkin chance right in the paint. He also debuted his Capitals-themed pads.
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