ARLINGTON, VA–The Washington Capitals held an informal practice today, no coaches allowed, as General Manager George McPhee, Head Coach Adam Oates, Captain Alex Ovechkin and goalie Braden Holtby spoke to the media for the very first time as they finally prepare for the 2013 season.
McPhee pointed out that he can’t talk about the “fitness or health” of any player, besides guys who were playing the AHL. Because of that, McPhee couldn’t speak about the neck bruise Nicklas Backstrom suffered December 26th in the KHL. In face, the Caps doctors aren’t even allowed to examine him until the CBA is ratified, which should come sometime this weekend. Alex Ovechkin, who was Backstrom’s teammate, did speak about him briefly.
“I think he’s doing well,” Ovechkin said on Backstrom’s health.
Backstrom was at Kettler Iceplex today, but didn’t skate.
One player George McPhee could talk about was Dmitry Orlov, who was injured a month ago during the AHL game at Verizon Center and hasn’t played since.
“Starting to work out again,” McPhee said on Orlov. “Feeling better. Could be a little bit longer, but as soon as he’s ready he’ll be here.”
McPhee added that Orlov would “probably not” be ready to when the season starts.
When the season starts is still up in the air, but McPhee said at first he was told they would start on the road, now at home, but all that could change. McPhee also said they are hoping to start training camp on Saturday. McPhee was blunt though on how he thought this 48-game compact season could turn out.
“It’s going to be like 48 playoff games…but I guess that’s what’s going to make it exciting.”
New Head Coach Adam Oates is preparing training camp like it’s just a break in the middle of the season.
“To me it’s more like it’s in the middle of the year when you had a five-day break and you got to play.”
Ten players skated, including Alex Ovechkin, Jack Hillen, Braden Holtby, Jason Chimera, John Erskine, Mike Green, Matt Hendricks, John Carlson, Jay Beagle & Mike Ribeiro.
More players are expected to skate tomorrow.
Listen here to what George McPhee, Adam Oates, Alex Ovechkin & Braden Holtby had to say following practice today.
George McPhee Practice Audio
Adam Oates Practice Audio
Alex Ovechkin Practice Audio
Braden Holtby Practice Audio