UPDATE 6:30 PM
Can Tom Wilson be more than just a fighter? We should find out this season because he won't be buried on the fourth line anymore.
UPDATE 5:45 PM
When Nicklas Backstrom returns to the ice, how will the Caps' forward depth play out? Ice time may be at a premium for Derek Roy, Brooks Laich and Jason Chimera when that happens.
UPDATE 4:45 PM
The Caps will be without a key piece to their power play this season with the loss of Mike Green. John Carlson knows he needs to step up on the man advantage this season.
UPDATE 2:15 PM
Brooks Orpik underwent surgery in late July to the surprise of pretty much everyone. Now he tells us why it took so long:
UPDATE 1:15 PM
Have you ever gotten a ship for your birthday? Ovechkin did. Or was it a sheep?
UPDATE 12:00 PM
Nicklas Backstrom did not take part in practice, but did skate earlier in the day. Afterwards, he stopped to talk to the media about his recovery from hip surgery:
Alex Ovechkin and the rest of the Capitals arrived at Kettler Capitals Iceplex bright and early on Friday for the first – and possibly most grueling – day of training camp.
Ovechkin, Justin Williams, Evgeny Kuzetsov and Jay Beagle, defenseman Nate Schmidt and goaltender Braden Holtby were among the Caps veterans in the first group (Group Blue) to hit the ice.
Center Nicklas Backstrom (offseason hip surgery) and defenseman Brooks Orpik (offseason wrist surgery) were not assigned to groups and are not expected to be available for the start of the Caps’ seven-game preseason schedule, which begins Monday night against the Carolina Hurricanes.
A 45-minute practice was followed by a fitness skate that had players hunched over in agony. Ovechkin started strong in the fitness skate, but fell back to the pack, while Beagle, a fitness enthusiast, led wire to wire.
Barry Trotz’s fitness test is one of the most difficult in the NHL, requiring players to do hockey’s version of basketball suicides – length of the ice, goal line to offensive blue line, goal line to center ice, goal line to defensive blue line – within a mandatory time frame. Players who cannot make the desired times must do the entire skate again.
The Capitals’ Group White squad, consisting of T.J. Oshie, John Carlson, Marcus Johansson, Derek Roy, Michael Latta and Andre Burakovsky, is scheduled to hit the ice at 11 a.m.
Group Red, with Matt Niskanen, Brooks Laich, Jason Chimera, Karl Alzner, Tom Wilson and Philipp Grubauer, is slotted to begin its skating session at12:30 p.m.
Stay here for continued coverage of today’s first day of training camp.