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Ovechkin looked good on Day 1 of camp, and Trotz is pleased about that

Ovechkin looked good on Day 1 of camp, and Trotz is pleased about that

Alex Ovechkin’s commitment to boosting his conditioning this summer did not go unnoticed by Capitals Coach Barry Trotz on Day 1 of training camp.

“To me,” Trotz said Friday afternoon, “he looked like it was easier for him. It was easier for him. When guys are going through that skate test, I can tell which guys are going to struggle with it and which guys aren't.”

Although Ovechkin told reporters that his weight is about the same as it was following the Caps' playoff ouster in May, Trotz acknowledged that the burly Russian’s fitness did indeed appear to be improved.

“Body composition, that’s probably the best way to say it than weight,” Trotz said of Ovechkin, who is still listed at 6-3, 239 pounds on the roster. “He’s gotten some of that gigantic strength and exceptional strength that he’s known for, he’s got some of that back. And that changes his body composition.”

Trotz added: “The weight is not necessarily [about] that, it’s more, are you fit? Are you a good athlete? Are you ready to go? I think he’s made a lot stronger commitment there, so that’s great.”

Over the summer, Trotz went to Russia to visit his son. While he was there, he met up with Ovechkin so that the two could talk about last season and what he wanted to see from Ovechkin going forward.

“I wanted to meet with him because he is the captain,” Trotz said. “I wanted to talk about last year because we really didn’t talk about it that much at the end of the year. We talked about a few things. One of the things was becoming an athlete again because that’s important in this business, especially with the way the game is going. It’s fast. You’ve got to be fit in this game to be productive. Some guys can get away with it [thanks to] a high skill set and a level. But at the end of the day, your foundation has to be fitness.”

Since arriving in Washington last month, Ovechkin has often been spotted around Kettler Capitals Iceplex with his personal trainer in tow. While Ovi didn’t divulge many specifics about his offseason training, the three-time league MVP said he did less weight lifting and added more running to his daily routine.

“This offseason my goal was just to feel very good on the ice, my breathing, so I can play longer, stay on the ice a little bit longer,” Ovechkin told CSN. “Be more faster, move a little bit faster.”

One of the challenges Ovechkin faces as he ages—he turns 32 on Sunday—is keeping up in a game that seemingly gets younger and faster every year.

“Right now,” he said, “I feel very good.”

Trotz, too, feels very good about what he’s seen so far from the Capitals’ captain, who’s looking to bounce back from his lowest goal output (33) in a non-lockout year since 2010-11.

“You always ask players to evolve [and] what can you add to your game that you haven’t added?” Trotz said. “In his case, the game is getting quick and he wants to stay relevant in the quickness aspect.”


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Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens

Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Canadiens will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington.

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


The Capitals (43-24-7) take on the Canadiens (27-36-12) Saturday, March 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Montreal.


The Capitals-Canadiens game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off on NBC Sports Washington with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Extra and Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. for postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals at Canadiens
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime


You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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Touted Prospect Shane Gersich signs with Caps, joins team immediately


Touted Prospect Shane Gersich signs with Caps, joins team immediately

The Caps signed University of North Dakota forward Shane Gersich, a fifth round selection in 2014 and one of the organization’s top prospects, on Friday morning, the team announced.

Gersich, a left shot who is listed at 5-11, 175-pounds, has already joined the team in Montreal, where the Caps play the Canadiens at Bell Centre on Saturday night.

His contract, which begins this season, carries an average annual value of $925,000.

It’s unclear when Gersich will make his NHL debut, but it could happen at some point in the Caps’ final eight games before the playoffs.


NBC Sports Washington has been told that the primary objective for Gersich in the coming weeks is to get his first taste of the NHL by observing—and practicing alongside—his new teammates in Washington. If the opportunity to get him into the lineup presents itself, then it’s possible he’ll suit up.

The 21-year-old just completed his third season at UND. Here are Gersich’s numbers from junior and college, courtesy of


At UND, the smooth-skating and skilled Gersich also produced this memorable goal vs. Denver:

Gersich has been assigned jersey No. 63 in Washington, according to the Caps’ website.

The addition of Gersich and subsequent subtraction of Travis Boyd, who was reassigned to Hershey on Friday morning, leaves the Caps with 14 forwards on the roster.

“I think he did a great job at rookie camp,” Caps GM Brian MacLellan said of Gersich in July. “He was one of our best players, if not the best player, at camp. Really happy about the way he’s progressed and where we picked him. I think Ross Mahoney did a great job with that pick.”