Caps Prospects at USA Junior Camp


Caps Prospects at USA Junior Camp

By: Ben Raby

The United States will have a much different look at the 2013 World Junior Championships with only three players eligible to return from last years team that finished in a disappointing seventh place in Alberta, Canada.

With that in mind, 46 U.S. junior hopefuls are gathering in Lake Placid, NY, this week for an eight-day evaluation camp from Aug. 4-11.

The camp includes four Washington Capitals prospects- defensemen Connor Carrick and Garrett Haar and forwards Travis Boyd and Thomas DiPauli- who will all be looking to make their first World Junior team in December.

First-time USA Hockey head coach and former Caps defenseman Phil Housley told last week that he expects the camp to be wide open with plenty of unknowns.

There are a lot of pros and cons, Housley said of his working with many of these players for the first time.

Sure I havent seen a lot of them play in-person, but that could also be a pro because I think this is a great opportunity There are a lot of spots open, everybody is going to get a fair shake and it will be interesting to see how it plays out and thats one of the things Im looking forward to- seeing these guys play in a competitive environment.

There will be no shortage of competition in Lake Placid this week, with Team USA holding two scrimmages and four exhibition games (two each against Sweden and Finland).

In the opening scrimmage of camp on Saturday, Travis Boyd was the only Caps prospect to factor in on the score sheet as USA White beat USA Blue 5-2.

Boyd was centering Whites No.3 line and was flanked by first-round picks Tyler Biggs (Maple Leafs, 22nd overall, 2011) and Stefan Matteau (Devils, 29th overall, 2012).

Ive certainly seen Travis Boyd play for the University of Minnesota, Housley said, and I think hes a terrific player that can play at both ends of the rink. Hes a player thats really trusted upon by Minnesota head coach Don Lucia. Im also looking forward seeing to our defensemen, and when you look at Garrett Haar and Connor Carrick, theyre going to be part of a very strong group of defensemen.

Haar and Carrick were paired together for Team Blue at Saturdays scrimmage while Washingtons fourth-round pick (100th overall) at this years NHL Entry Draft, Thomas DiPauli, was centering Blues No.4 line and was flanked by Adam Reid (undrafted) and Brian Hart (Lightning, 53rd overall, 2012).

Check back on in the days to come for updates on USA Hockeys World Junior camp. The schedule of the camp is included below.

Aug. 4
USA Blue vs. USA White, 4 p.m.
Aug. 5
USA Blue vs. USA White, 4 p.m.
Aug. 6
USA Blue vs. Finland, 1 p.m.

USA White vs. Sweden, 4:30 p.m
Aug. 7
Finland vs. Sweden, 4 p.m.
Aug. 8
USA vs. Finland, 4 p.m.
Aug. 9
USA vs. Sweden, 4 p.m.
Aug. 10
Finland vs. Sweden, 4 p.m.
Aug. 11
USA vs. Finland, 1 p.m.

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3 things to watch in Caps vs. Panthers

3 things to watch in Caps vs. Panthers

The Capitals play their last home game of October on Friday as they host the Florida Panthers (7 p.m., NBC Sports Washington). Here’s what you need to watch.

Dmitrij Jaskin is back in

Todd Reirden has made one adjustment to the lineup for Friday’s game, putting Dmitrij Jaskin back in on the fourth line in place of Nathan Walker. Jaskin has yet to record a point since joining the Capitals, but that has a lot to do with where he was coming from.

“This team is based on being creative and it's probably something that I missed in the last few years,” Jaskin said following Friday’s morning skate.

In St. Louis, Jaskin was coached by Mike Yeo and, before him, Ken Hitchcock. Both coaches preach a hard-nosed offensive style based more on effort and being defensively responsible than skill. Coming to a team like Washington then, a team that encourages skill and creativity on offense, is a pretty dramatic change.

Jaskin has played a very safe style since coming into the lineup. It’s good to be defensively responsible, but not if it completely chokes the life out of the offense. Jaskin is hardly generating any offense at all thus far since coming to Washington.

After a few more practices, can it finally spark some skill and creativity from Jaskin?

Can the Caps get the bottom six back on track?

The Caps have gotten only two goals in six games from their bottom six and both came in the team’s blowout opening win against Boston. The third and fourth lines generated some chances on Wednesday, but afterward, Reirden stressed that the team needed to see more production from its depth forwards.

“We've got to continue to get scoring depth wise if we want to have success in this league,” he said. “That's where everything's headed is you can't rely on your top guys to come through for you every night and we'll continue to focus on finding the right chemistry with that third and fourth line to be able to give us some added offense there as well.”

Florida could provide a good opportunity for those players to get some points on the board.

Starting goalie Roberto Luongo is out with an injury and James Reimer will get the start on Friday. In three games, Reimer has a GAA of 3.62 and save percentage of .885.

As a team, the Panthers currently rank 24th in goals against per game with 3.50.

Two teams in need of a win

Florida is still searching for its first win of the season with a 0-2-2 record. It is still early, but this is a Panthers team with playoff aspirations and you don’t want to dig yourself in too deep a hole to start or it becomes very difficult to dig out.

The Caps, meanwhile, will be playing in their final home game of October. They leave Saturday for Vancouver to kick-off a three-game Western Canada trip. They then will face the Canadiens in Montreal on Nov. 1 before finally returning home.

Washington’s next home game will not come until Nov. 3. That makes Friday’s game a big one for the Caps as they try to secure two points before hitting the road.

“It's definitely a big game,” Reirden said. “We want to build on some of the things we were able to accomplish last game. It's difficult anytime you go out west with time changes and different stuff. We know that [Florida is] going to be a desperate team that hasn't had the start that they want and they're talented so it's an important game for us to go on the road on a winning note.”


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Redskins need to stop Cowboys' Cole Beasley to win in Week 7

Redskins need to stop Cowboys' Cole Beasley to win in Week 7

When the Redskins take on the Cowboys on Sunday in Week 7, there's one player NBC Sports Washington's resident GM Charley Casserly says they need to contain in this week's "Matchup to Watch."

The player: Wide receiver Cole Beasley

The comparison: Randall Cobb (Packers), Jamison Crowder (Redskins)

Who will cover him: Casserly's guess? Fabian Moreau

The key for the Redskins: Get physical with him. "Jam Beasley off the line of scrimmage," Casserly says, "reroute him and be physical with him."

Click "Play' in the video box above to watch Charley Casserly's full Redskins vs. Cowboys Matchup of the Week.