During last week's NHL Draft, the Washinton Capitals used their second- and third-round picks on two players that know each other very well.
Forward Brett Leason and Aliaksei Protas were linemates for the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL in Canada. Now, they're in the same organization once again.
"It feels great," Leason said on getting drafted. "It was one of those days, you want to get drafted, and you just keep waiting and waiting. Being picked by the Capitals means a lot, it was a special night."
During the latest edition of the CapitalsTalk Podcast, NBC Sports Washington's Rob Carlin and Brian McNally were joined by Marc Habscheid, the head coach of Prince Albert.
Throughout the podcast, Habscheid offered valuable information, both on and off the ice, about both players that should make Capitals fans very excited for the future.
In Protas, the Capitals have a young player who Habscheid said has the hockey intelligence to play in the NHL right now.
"If it was just based on hockey IQ, he could play right now," he said. "He's that smart."
He also has a very cool nickname that the Capitals fans will learn to love: 'The Viper.'
The story of how he got his nickname is also legendary.
"It's a Don Cherry night where we had to where Don Cherry themed jerseys," Habscheid said. "Part of the thing was to put your nickname on the back. He didn't really have one, we just called him 'Alex.' But his [hockey] billet just decided to put 'Viper' on there. He was like 'what is Viper?' He didn't know, but he was such a good sport about it. Just a good guy. As good of a player as he is, he's just an awesome kid. He's a special kid, he really is. He's a good kid. He's a really good teammate; he fits in with the guys. The guys loved him. he fit into the dressing room really well, and that says a lot about him."
On the ice, he's a natural center, but has developed into a player that can play both wing positions as well.
"He can play left wing, he can play right wing, he can play center," Habscheid said. "He will play wherever the Caps want him to play. Instead of vying for four spots, he's vying for 12 spots."
But as a resounding theme to the interview, Habscheid could not say enough about how good of people both Leason and Protas are.
"I think Washington did a good job of doing their homework on both these guys," he said. "These are two really good people. Leave the hockey out of it, you'll see on the ice what they're all about. They're really good people. they're good citizens of the community. They care about their teammates, they're really good teammates. When you do that, you're always going to give yourself a chance to play."
Take Habscheid's word, and the Capitals have two prospects to be very excited about.
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