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Joe Snively Ready To Be More Than ‘Little Caps’ Alum For Capitals



Capitals prospect Joe Snively

ARLINGTON, V.A. — Joe Snively knows that his road to the Washington Capitals follows the perfect storybook structure, making for fun stories about the local kid who made it to the big leagues with his hometown team. This year, though, the 26-year-old wants to show the organization he’s much more than that.

The Herndon, V.A. went through the ranks growing up, often playing at MedStar Capitals Iceplex as a member of the “Little Caps.” Eventually, it brought him to Yale, where an impressive college career led to him signing with his hometown club. And now, as he fights for a full-time role in the lineup, he’s determined to put the past in the rearview and show the league that he’s more than a headline.

“It’s a cool story,” he said of his DMV roots. “But I just want to play hockey.”

Snively made his big league debut last season and had an impressive 12-game stint up in D.C., notching seven points. However, a nagging wrist injury and subsequent surgery ended his run early.

“It does feel like a long time ago, but I’m excited to be able to play again,” Snively said.

He came back for this year’s training camp hungry and cracked the opening night roster, but as an extra. And now, with Connor Brown out long-term, he is ready to make his statement and fight for a full-time role.

“I’m pretty jacked up to play,” he said, adding, “It’s terrible to see him get hurt. It’s kind of the next man, but someone’s got to come up and play. Teams need somebody.”

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When it came to staying in game shape, Snively often stayed long after practice ended for extra work. He admitted that sitting out was a bit of a challenge, especially when it came to keeping up with his usual routine. However, he stayed ready, knowing his time would come.

“It was a little new [sitting out], but coaches do a really good job of getting us extra work. And I think it’s just kind of need to prep yourself physically, mentally, keeping with your habits,” Snviely said. Not playing, it’s kind of easy to get away from that. I just think [you] keep preparing like you’re gonna play every game.”

Snively made his regular-season debut on Thursday in a 5-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators, where he drew in on the second-line wing with Dylan Strome and T.J. Oshie. There, he logged 15:16 minutes and also got power-play time while registering two shots on goal.

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He will remain in the mix on Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings, where he will play on the fourth line with Nic Dowd and Garnet Hathaway. He played there in the preseason, and in that spot, he thinks he can expand even more on his game.

“They both have a ton of chemistry together, they work hard, they’re tenacious players, so hoping I can fit in there,” Snively said. “They’re defensively responsible too, so that’s something I’m gonna be focusing on.”

Snively knows that playing with his hometown team is an opportunity that doesn’t come every day, and the work doesn’t stop at making the cut. So in the end, he’s focused less on his backstory and more on the future.

[The NHL] is awesome. It’s the ultimate challenge right now,” Snively said. “You have little goals in your career. Right now, mine’s just to establish myself as an NHL player.”