ARLINGTON, V.A. — John Carlson stands tall in front of his Washington Capitals teammates, leading the charge as they line up on the goal line. On Tuesday, ahead of the NHLPA Rookie Showcase that’s seeing several top prospects like Juraj Slafkovsky and Shane Wright take over the rink, Washington’s skaters were hard at work as workouts got intense.
Nic Dowd, Axel Jonsson-Fjallby and Aliaksei Protas joined the ongoing skates with Carlson, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Marcus Johansson, Carl Hagelin, Vincent Iorio, Joe Snively, Anthony Mantha, Sam Anas, Peter Laviolette III and Hendrix Lapierre, who is also participating in the showcase.
The on-ice work included scrimmages and other drills and ended with a skate test as the team prepares for the real thing to open training camp. Relentlessly, players went back and forth, and several were doubled over by the end of it.
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Still, they’re having fun, wearing big smiles and giving full effort out there. Lapierre also said the informal skates are helpful as he looks to crack the opening night roster for the second consecutive year.
“I’ve been here for three weeks, I train in the morning… it’s been very, very good. Being with those guys, a lot of those guys actually come down, we’re what, at 15, 20 guys now. So it’s fun. It’s regular practices and we always get to scrimmage,” Lapierre said, adding, “You know, sometimes you may think, ‘Oh, those guys must play golf all the time and stuff in the summer.’ But it’s actually they care about their body and there’s a reason why they have so much success. It’s good to be with them and to allow myself to be in that position as well.”
Rookie camp kicks off on Sept. 15. Training camp, meanwhile, will start on Sept. 22. Alex Ovechkin, per his agent, will return from Russia on Wednesday. Whether he takes the ice for informal skates is uncertain.