With the Duchesne Cup on the line, Alexander Ovechkin’s group A team took on group B in the final scrimmage in the Caps internal three day round robin tournament named after the former Washington Capitals grinder from the 1980’s. The Great #8’s group would fall on this day, 4-3, to a very energized group B that received some good goaltending from Michal Neuvirth, but as a result of notching the most tallies (10 goals in two contests), group A won the Duchesne Cup.
Today’s tilt was quite sloppy but the intensity was up, especially from a group B team that was pasted by group C, 5-0 on Sunday, and subsequently lectured by Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau. Group B was seen throwing the body around most of the scrimmage in an attempt to make up for being outmatched skill wise by an Ovechkin led team that also sported Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Knuble, Karl Alzner, John Carlson, and Semyon Varlamov. Afterwards Alzner talked about the contact involved in the final scrimmage and the impact he thought it had on him in preparing #27 for the preseason schedule, which starts on Wednesday night in Columbus against the Blue Jackets.
“[Group B] came pretty hard today, they wanted to avenge the shutout they had last game. It was nice to get another game like situation and I am just looking forward to finally playing an NHL exhibition game, that’s the big time and something I am looking forward to,” started the man with two AHL Calder Cup titles, who also will turn only 22 on Friday (September 24th). “No, it wasn’t bad at all, the one was a normal hip check that you would throw, but not in an intrasquad game, I’m not going to throw any hip checks on guys but [Matt Hendricks], he’s pretty sturdy, so maybe I should have leaned into him a little more, it was my mistake,” finished King Karl when discussing the hits he was taking and dishing out in the final period of Tuesday’s scrimmage.
Overall the outing was uneventful except for one play, by guess who??!! Alexander the Great, at the end of a long shift, skated down into the left wing circle with a Caps defender close by and as quick as you can say “Jack Robinson,” the Russian superstar snapped a wicked wrister top shelf by a stunned Neuvirth. It was one of those goals where you go “Wow!”, even if it was in an intrasquad game on day four of training camp. Afterwards I caught up with Ovie to get his take on the play.
“I don’t know, it’s again a lucky goal, it was just a quick wrist shot so it goes up,” started the Great #8, “Yes, I was tired,” finished Ovechkin when asked if he just fired the puck on goal on a play and tally that was the highlight of the scrimmage and the main reason that 18,000 plus seats are filled night in and night out at the Verizon Center for Caps hockey.
Caps Sign Poti
Press Release from the Caps Media Relations Department:
The Washington Capitals have signed defenseman Tom Poti to a two-year contract extension, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today. In keeping with club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Tom has played very well for the Washington Capitals and has been a key part of our success since he joined the team,” McPhee said. “We are pleased that he has made the commitment to remain a Capital.”
Poti, 33, recorded 24 points (four goals, 20 assists) and 42 penalty minutes in 70 games for the Capitals last season. In addition, he registered four assists and five penalty minutes in six playoff games. The 6’ 3”, 198-pound native of Worcester, Mass., ranked fifth among NHL defensemen and third among team defensemen with a career-high +26 rating during the 2009-10 campaign. He ranked second on the team with 121 blocked shots while averaging 21:24 of ice time.
Poti, who signed with the Capitals as a free agent on July 1, 2007, has appeared in 787 career NHL games with Edmonton, the New York Rangers, the New York Islanders and Washington, recording 318 points (67 goals, 251 assists) and 578 penalty minutes. He has also registered 19 points (2 goals, 17 assists) and 29 penalty minutes in 51 career playoff games.
Poti was originally drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the third round (59th overall) of the 1996 NHL Entry Draft.
COMMENT: Poti, who will make $3.5M this season, signed for $3M in 2011-12 and $2.75M in 2012-13 according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie. The 33 year old d-man is clearly the best offensive defensemen that shoots left on the current roster and he had a super playoff series against Montreal, playing alongside Carlson, until he injured his eye in game six (he missed game seven due to the injury). Clearly the Caps think he will continue to play at a high level in his mid-30’s and therefore did not want him to test the open market. Poti also wanted to stay a Capital and that, combined with his age and the amount of wear on his tires, helped him take a lower salary for the future. The Capitals are gambling a bit that he remains injury free and near the top of his game over the next three seasons.
Notes: The Caps sent nine players to Hershey today (goaltender Todd Ford, forwards Ashton Rome, David de Kastrozza, Anton Gustafsson, Jake Hauswirth, Nikita Kashirsky, and Dmitry Kugryshev plus defensemen Patrick Cullity and Joe Finley). Finley told John Keeley (On Frozen Blog) and I afterwards that he tweaked a groin and hopes to get it back on track in Chocolatetown. Washington also returned five players to their junior teams (goaltender Philipp Grubauer, defensemen Samuel Carrier and Brett Flemming plus forwards Stanlislav Galiev and Garrett Mitchell). Galiev’s Saint John Sea Dogs have a chance at winning the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) and automatically qualifying for the 2011 Memorial Cup, which will be played in Buffalo next May. The Caps also signed goalie Brandon Anderson to a three-year entry-level contract, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today. Anderson, 18, is a 6’0”, 176-pound native of Langley, British Columbia, who currently plays for the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the Western Hockey League (WHL). Finally, after the Duchesne Cup was awarded, several members of the media, including Jill Sorenson of Comcast SportsNet, took to the ice for a little media game in a battle for the Ewell Cup, named today after the originator of the contest, Washington Capitals Vice President of Communications, Nate Ewell. On Frozen Blog’s DCSportsChick posted pictures of the event here. Also look for a writeup on the event from John Keeley over at On Frozen Blog sometime soon.