Training Camp - Day I

So it begins. Today was day number one of the Capitals' 2007-08 season as training camp kicked off in earnest, and I, as has become my custom for the past week, made the trek down to K-Plex née KCI. Unfortunately, do to some ill advised consumption of some very tasty Jameson the previous evening, I wasn't able to get there in time for all the "pregame" festivities. I arrived just as the actual practice was starting and was immediately overwhelmed by it all. The Caps had somewhere in the neighborhood of sixty hockey players spanning two full size ice sheets, not to mention all the other attractions like the Vezina, Selke, Norris and Calder Trophies upstairs, or the new jerseys (finally) for sale in the team shop. So I'll go ahead and leave any sort of in depth analysis of the first day of camp to the experts (check out OFB's liveblogging, plus updates from Tarik and Corey). I will, however, quickly note that Victor Kozlov appeared to take a puck to the face towards the beginning of the scrimmage and was not seen or heard from again for the remainder of practice. Hopefully that will prove to be nothing significant. (UPDATE: Corey Masisak strikes again.)

The most interesting part of the day, for me at least, was the "Town Hall" style meeting with Ted Leonsis and Chris Clark (Olie Kolzig was also advertised, but he didn't show). Now I'm not a fan of town hall meetings (link is to The Onion and is hilarious), but I had nothing better to do. I'm glad I went because, as it turns out, Chris Clark is a glorious fountain of great quotes. One of the people in attendance asked Clark how much he, as captain, has input into personnel decisions. Clark responded by saying that the only thing management ever asks him about is what a particular player might be like off of the ice, explaining that there are some guys who are really talented who are complete knuckleheads away from the rink. Immediately, a lady in the back asked Clark to spill the dirt on which guys he's played with were the knuckleheads and Chris, after diplomatically responding that he has been very lucky in his career, finally gave in and said "I think you guys had one here right before the lockout." He stopped just shy of adding "*cough*jagr*cough*". The comment drew immediate laughter and applause from everyone in the room.

Some other highlights from the meeting:
-Chris Clark comparing Milan Jurcina to the cast of the film 300, in response to a question about which player showed up to camp in the best shape. He went so far as to say it might be a good idea to have Milan walk shirtless past the opposing team's dressing room as a scare tactic.
-Clark talking about why his offensive numbers wouldn't necessarily go down moving to the third line, explaining that, when on a line with Ovechkin "you're always up against Chara" versus the checking line playing against some of the more defensively suspect players opposing teams have to offer.
-Clark admitted that the team had probably not taken the shootout seriously enough in practice last year and said it was something he thought they would spend more time working on this year.
-In response to a question about low attendance at home games, Clark said "we need to steal some of those Redskins fans", which garnered enthusiastic applause.
-The only thing of note that came out of Ted's mouth was some additional information about the "Rivals Package" they've set up to try to keep games against the Penguins and Flyers et. al. from turning into de facto road games. Apparently, the plan is to market these rivals plans for awhile and then jack up the price of single game tickets to the games the package applies to, thus further discouraging opposing fans from making the trip (or profiting handsomely off of them should they still decide to come). So if you aren't a season ticket holder, or at least a partial plan holder, you may want to seriously consider going in for one of those packages, if only to avoid getting gouged.

I've got a ton of pictures from today's festivities, but I'm also pressed for time and I won't be able to post them today, but I promise that I will, barring any technical difficulties, have them up for you by tomorrow morning. I'm still not sure if I'll be able to make it out to the Plex tomorrow, so I can't say whether I'll have any more updates for you over the weekend.

No comments: