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Vallorani earns himself a contract

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Vallorani earns himself a contract

Even from an untrained eye, one of the most noticeable players at the Capitals development camp last week was center David Vallorani.

The 5-foot-8, 181-pound center from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell was involved in nearly every goal in every scrimmage and on Monday the 22-year-old native of Hamilton, Ontario was rewarded with his first pro contract.

Vallorani and defenseman Scott Wietecha each signed contracts with the AHL Hershey Bears for the 2012-13 season, according to Bears president and general manager Doug Yingst.

Vallorani went undrafted four years ago, but recorded 10 goals and 19 assists in 38 games in his senior season for UMass-Lowell. In four years there he played every game and piled up 114 points 40 goals, 74 assists in 149 games. He graduated in May with a degree in business.

Because of his size, creativity and lack of interest from NHL teams, Vallorani has drawn comparisons to Lightning forward Marty St. Louis.

He doesnt look like a kid who lacks confidence, Capitals coach Adam Oates said. Hes a highly skilled player. It took Marty St. Louis a long time to make it to the NHL. He had to go to the minors and fight all the naysayers to earn his way. So it can happen.

Vallorani is more than willing to go that route, saying he simply wants a chance to continue his career as a hockey player.

St. Louis is definitely someone I look up to, he said. Hes a smaller player in the NHL and hes one of the best players in the NHL, so I model my game after him.

Vallorani has the ability to draw opposing players to him, then snap a pass to a linemate. Last week he centered a line with Riley Barber and Matt Bailey and the trio was one of the best lines in camp.

I try to do all the little things right, Vallorani said. Im a playmaker and I like to distribute the puck and create space for my linemates. I want to play at the highest level I can play. I just want an opportunity to show what I can do.

On Monday, Vallorani was given that chance.

Wietecha, 24, broke into the professional ranks in 2011, playing six games with the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL. He spent all of last season with the ECHLs Chicago Express, posting 27 points 14 goals, 13 assists in 54 games.

The 6-1, 201-pound native of Wolverine Lake, Mich., Wietecha played four years at Ferris State University prior to turning pro. In 126 games, Wietecha recorded 51 points 12 goals, 39 assists and a plus-16 rating.

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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.