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Caps' Justin Williams on training camp: 'You don’t want to be lagging behind'

Caps' Justin Williams on training camp: 'You don’t want to be lagging behind'

When the nine Capitals who are participating in the World Cup of Hockey return, they’ll come back in midseason form. 

And that, according to Justin Williams, is something the players who aren’t in Toronto, like himself, must keep in mind as training camp gets underway at Kettler Capitals Iceplex later this month.

“What you don’t want to be doing, with these guys over at the World Cup playing high-end hockey, is you don’t want to be playing catchup,” Williams said. “You don’t want to be lagging behind. To do that, you need to work hard right from the beginning. We’re going to put a big focus on that. I’m going to put a big focus on that.”

“Every drill you want to go hard at it,” he added. “They’re over there playing against the best of the best, and they’re going to be playing hard.”

Williams this week joined the growing group of Capitals veterans and prospects who are getting a head start on camp by participating in the team’s daily skates each morning. 

“For me, this is kind of same old story—you work hard during the summer, you spend time with your family, you work on your golf game a little bit and you come back refreshed and ready to start another season,” he said. 

Williams, who turns 35 next month, acknowledged that he’s made some adjustments to his offseason routine over the years as the speed of the game has picked up.

He also shed a few pounds this summer. Last season, the veteran winger was listed at 6 foot 1, 186-pounds.

RELATED: NINE REASONS TO GET EXCITED ABOUT THE WORLD CUP OF HOCKEY

“With the evolution of the game, it’s changed a lot,” said Williams, who has appeared in 1,000 NHL contests for the Flyers, Hurricanes, Kings and Caps.

“My first couple of years, they told me to put on some weight and work out with heavy weights.”

“Now I’m doing yoga, quick feet stuff, a lot of core. The game has changed and the way you train has changed, as well. It’s a speed game. I’m actually down a few pounds from where I was last year, and I kind of like that.”

“For me,” he added, “being over the 30 cusp, you have to be aware that it’s human nature and it’s natural to slow down. Even if it’s just a little bit, it’s impactful and it will be noticeable. My thing is just maintaining speed, maintaining quickness. Now, I’m not going to beat the fast guys off the gun from Point A to Point B, but I’m going to be quicker than them in the corner—and I need to keep that.”

Williams said he’s not sure exactly where he’ll he settle into Capitals’ forward group this year.

But after 16 seasons in the NHL, he knows this much for sure: playing time is earned, not promised.

“You earn your ice time with how you play,” Williams said. “Nothing is given to you, even [with] the length I’ve played in the league. You work hard, you earn your ice time. You play better, you’re going to play more. That’s the way it is.”

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Being an Olympic hero is not all T.J. Oshie has in common with 2018 U.S. Women's hockey team

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Being an Olympic hero is not all T.J. Oshie has in common with 2018 U.S. Women's hockey team

Four years ago, Capitals forward T.J. Oshie was the shootout king in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. This time around Gigi Marvin was one of the Americans who provided the extra-time heroics for Team USA at Pyeongchang, carrying the women’s hockey team to the gold medal.

Ironically enough, they both were the King and Queen of their high school’s dance back in 2005.

Marvin and Oshie both went to Warroad High School in Minnesota. They graduated from the same class in 2005. Nearly every high school in the country would wish for just one Olympian, this one got two legends in one class.

Oshie famously took the puck six times for Team USA in a shootout to beat Russia back in 2014. Marvin scored the first tally of the shootout in the gold medal game against Canada. The United States would go on to win the match in seven rounds.

Oshie would go on to congratulate his fellow Warroad alum after the match.

Whoever cast the deciding votes, must have known that these two destined for glory. One could now call them the King and Queen of Olympic shootouts.

RELATED: USA WOMEN WIN GOLD OVER RIVAL CANADA

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Caps prospect watch: Boyd dedicates 4-goal performance to daughter after week in the hospital

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USA TODAY Sports

Caps prospect watch: Boyd dedicates 4-goal performance to daughter after week in the hospital

It would have been understandable if Travis Boyd struggled this past week. Something more important was on his mind.

Boyd spent the week in the hospital with his daughter, Hayden, who had been experiencing pain in her throat. He spent the enitre week in the hospital, not leaving until Hershey's game against Laval.

Boyd turned this trial into something incredible as he scored four goals Friday in Hershey's 6-3 win.

Boyd spoke about the ordeal with Zach Fisch of the Bears Radio Network (transcription via RMNB).

“It actually started after the game last Sunday against Rochester," he said. "I went straight from the rink to Urgent Care and then from Urgent Care to the ER. Never left the hospital until Friday morning. We had a successful surgery on Thursday night. Basically just a bad infection in her throat that had to be surgically removed. They had to surgically go in and kind of remove the bacteria and drain out the fluids. Everything went well. She’s doing well.”

Following the game, Boyd dedicated his performance to Hayden.

A four-goal game at the AHL level would have been an incredible accomplishment on its own. The fact that it came during such a trying time for him makes this a truly inspirational story.

You can watch highlights of the game including all four of Boyd's goals here:

CHECK OUT THIS WEEK’S UPDATED CAPS’ PROSPECT RANKINGS HERE

Other prospect notes:

  • In the Bears' game Friday against Laval, Riley Barber dropped the gloves with Markus Eisenchmid.  Barber was given an extra minor and game misconduct for instigating the fight in the final five minutes of the game. That penalty carries with it an automatic one-game suspension which Barber served Saturday. Here's a look at the fight.

  • Liam O'Brien had a pair of two-goal games over the week, scoring twice against Laval Friday and then two more against Toronto on Monday. Of his four goals, three of them were empty netters.
  • As the Capitals prepare for their Stadium Series game in Annapolis on March 3, Annapolis mayor Gavin Buckley—a native of Perth, Australia—made a plea to see Nathan Walker recalled for the game.  “I’ll have to put a quick shout out to the one Australian that’s playing for the Caps now, Nathan Walker. If you could just bring him up for this game, that’d be great. Because an Australian being in a hockey game is like a Jamaican bobsled team. It doesn’t happen very often.”

  • Brian Pinho was honored Friday in Providence College's Senior Night. He has served as captain of the team this season and as an assistant captain in his junior year. He spoke with The Cowl on what being a leader on the team means to him. "I think being a leader of this team is a great honor, but also a huge responsibility. I try to keep everything fun at the rink, while also bringing some intensity and competing hard every day.” You can read the full story here.
  • Goalie Adam Carlson, who was on loan to the Indy Fuel of the ECHL, was reassigned to the Kansas City Mavericks also of the ECHL. He started two games for his new team and turned aside 42 of the 48 total shots he faced.

Who are the Caps' top 10 prospects? Find out here in his week's updated rankings.