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Capitals Group A: Eller, Ovechkin In Skate Tests; Oshie, Hagelin Absent



Washington Capitals

ARLINGTON, V.A. — The Washington Capitals hit the ice for their infamous skate tests on Thursday to open training camp, and a couple of names showcased their hard work over the offseason.

Washington’s training camp roster, which consists of 68 players to open the practices, was separated into three groups: Group A, Group B and Group C. Group A took the ice first, and mainly consists of the NHLers.

Here’s who was in Group A:

Connor Brown, John Carlson, Nic Dowd, Lars Eller, Martin Fehervary, Erik Gustafsson, Garnet Hathaway, Matt Irwin, Nick Jensen, Marcus Johansson, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Anthony Mantha, Connor McMichael, Dmitry Orlov, T.J. Oshie, Alex Ovechkin, Conor Sheary, Dylan Strome, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Darcy Kuemper, Charlie Lindgren.

Kuemper and Lindgren worked with goalie coach Scott Murray on the other rink during skate tests. And a couple of names stood out.

Lars Eller looked sharp, leading the group and pacing himself. He has worked with skating coach Wendy Marco over the offseason, and the effort that he put in showed. He was well ahead of others, stopping and starting quickly and on a mission with an improved stride.

The 33-year-old is coming off the “most challenging” season of his career that saw him test positive for COVID-19 twice and deal with lengthy quarantines. He also dealt with a lot of inconsistency and also had to move from center to wing at one point. Still, Eller finished the season with 13 goals and 18 assists for 31 points in 72 games. He also had three points in six playoff games against the Florida Panthers.

Alex Ovechkin was also digging in during testing, and per head coach Peter Laviolette, dominated his skate test.

Garnet Hathaway also stood out and showed a lot of speed and grit in skate tests. The 30-year-old also worked with Marco and, during informal skates, took part in skate tests and didn’t let up. He also stayed on the ice for extra work.

READ MORE ON WHN: Washington Capitals’ Carl Hagelin Out Long-Term With Injury Unrelated To Eye

Hathaway is coming off a career season in 2021-22 that saw him dish a personal high of 14 goals and 12 assists for 26 points in 76 hits. He was also among the NHL’s hit leaders with 250 hits.

In other news, T.J. Oshie and Carl Hagelin were not present for skate tests. Oshie had a procedure in the offseason to resolve an upper-body injury. Although he is good for scrimmages and practices, trainers elected to hold him out of testing. Meanwhile, Hagelin has suffered another injury unrelated to his eye. He will not take part in tests and is out long-term.

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Alex Ovechkin was also digging in during testing, though he wasn’t fastest in the pack.” i.e. he was last.

Realities set in. Coaches must think how to put their team in the best position to win, and I hope that Ovi’s success doesn’t persuade the coaches to give him more ice time than is wise, IF he’s a defensive detriment especially. As Ovi ages utilizing him in the best way possible isn’t an easy task for a coach. Ovi need’s to continue to work diligently on his skating.


From Coach in the next article: “He looks great. You wouldn’t know the difference from my time here from when I got here and the way he looked now. The skate test today, he knocks it out of the park and comes to camp in great shape. And watching the way he started last year, he was on fire,” Laviolette said. “That is just a credit to him and the way he trains and what he puts into it and how much this means to him.”

This is excellent to hear.

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