Quick Links

Caps' Justin Williams on training camp: 'You don’t want to be lagging behind'

Caps' Justin Williams on training camp: 'You don’t want to be lagging behind'

When the nine Capitals who are participating in the World Cup of Hockey return, they’ll come back in midseason form. 

And that, according to Justin Williams, is something the players who aren’t in Toronto, like himself, must keep in mind as training camp gets underway at Kettler Capitals Iceplex later this month.

“What you don’t want to be doing, with these guys over at the World Cup playing high-end hockey, is you don’t want to be playing catchup,” Williams said. “You don’t want to be lagging behind. To do that, you need to work hard right from the beginning. We’re going to put a big focus on that. I’m going to put a big focus on that.”

“Every drill you want to go hard at it,” he added. “They’re over there playing against the best of the best, and they’re going to be playing hard.”

Williams this week joined the growing group of Capitals veterans and prospects who are getting a head start on camp by participating in the team’s daily skates each morning. 

“For me, this is kind of same old story—you work hard during the summer, you spend time with your family, you work on your golf game a little bit and you come back refreshed and ready to start another season,” he said. 

Williams, who turns 35 next month, acknowledged that he’s made some adjustments to his offseason routine over the years as the speed of the game has picked up.

He also shed a few pounds this summer. Last season, the veteran winger was listed at 6 foot 1, 186-pounds.


“With the evolution of the game, it’s changed a lot,” said Williams, who has appeared in 1,000 NHL contests for the Flyers, Hurricanes, Kings and Caps.

“My first couple of years, they told me to put on some weight and work out with heavy weights.”

“Now I’m doing yoga, quick feet stuff, a lot of core. The game has changed and the way you train has changed, as well. It’s a speed game. I’m actually down a few pounds from where I was last year, and I kind of like that.”

“For me,” he added, “being over the 30 cusp, you have to be aware that it’s human nature and it’s natural to slow down. Even if it’s just a little bit, it’s impactful and it will be noticeable. My thing is just maintaining speed, maintaining quickness. Now, I’m not going to beat the fast guys off the gun from Point A to Point B, but I’m going to be quicker than them in the corner—and I need to keep that.”

Williams said he’s not sure exactly where he’ll he settle into Capitals’ forward group this year.

But after 16 seasons in the NHL, he knows this much for sure: playing time is earned, not promised.

“You earn your ice time with how you play,” Williams said. “Nothing is given to you, even [with] the length I’ve played in the league. You work hard, you earn your ice time. You play better, you’re going to play more. That’s the way it is.”

Quick Links

Capitals vs. Canucks: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

USA Today

Capitals vs. Canucks: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Washington Capitals (3-2-2) head to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada after an overtime/shootout loss against the Florida Panthers last Friday. 

The Caps are determined to avoid the devastation they felt in the first period when they gave away four goals to the Panthers. They will need to focus in the power plays and avoid penalties at all costs.

Many fans were looking forward to the reunion with former player Jay Beagle, who is now centerman for the Canucks, but he is unfortunately out on injury. However you can look out for Caps Nic Dowd, who will have his own homecoming game against his former team. 

Here is everything you need to know about Capitals vs. Canucks which takes place at 10:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Washington.


What: Washington Capitals vs. Vancouver Canucks, Game 8 of the 2018-19 NHL Regular Season

Where: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

When: Monday, October 22 at 10:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: The Capitals vs. Canucks game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports Washington Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Capitals vs. Canucks on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Caps 24/7 Radio, 106.7 The Fan FM


9:00 PM: Caps Faceoff Live
9:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live
10:00 PM: Capitals vs. Canucks
12:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live


Lars Eller, F, Capitals: In his last game, he had a three-point night with three assists. He is a messaive help and shined within the trio of Vrana and Connoly on Friday.

Tim Schaller, F, Canucks: He was struggling in the preseason but came back with a vengeance. He assisted with a penatly kill and is a key component in fourth line. 


Quick Links

What is a back-up goalie’s job during a game?


What is a back-up goalie’s job during a game?

At the end of every bench in the NHL is a goalie sitting in full pads and a hat. What is his job during the game?

Friday’s game between the Washington Capitals and Florida Panthers was one of the rare games that featured four goalies. Braden Holtby and James Reimer started, but both were ultimately pulled in what was a high-scoring affair. In stepped Pheonix Copley and Michael Hutchinson.

And yet, despite being little more than an afterthought in the team’s preparation for the game, both Copley (one goal allowed on 19 shots, .947 save percentage) and Hutchinson (one goal allowed on 11 shots, .909 save percentage) stepped in and out-performed the starters giving both of their respective teams a chance to win the game.

“It's easier in some aspects,” Holtby said of coming into a game off the bench, something he has done at various points of his career despite being the primary starter for Washington. “I think that's why you see a lot of guys go in and have success right away and have good games because you don't have that day or two days to be getting rid of your thoughts and that kind of thing.”

At the end of every bench in the NHL is a goalie sitting in full pads and a hat. Every team dresses two goalies on the roster for a game. One starts and one sits on the bench as the backup in case he is needed because of injury or because a coach chooses to make a goalie switch. That backup is tasked with being ready at all times to step into the game knowing full well that, if all goes according to plan, he will not get to play at all.

Holtby and Reimer had prepared for Friday’s game knowing they were going to start. Both players took warmups in order to prepare them to play a full game while Copley and Hutchinson had little reason to think they would see any action at all.

By the end of the second period, however, both Holtby and Reimer had been replaced. Copley at least had an intermission to prepare as he came on at the start of the second period while Hutchinson had to step in midway through the second period.

“I guess it can be a little challenging,” Copley said, “But I feel like as long as you’re kind of paying attention to the game and your mind's kind of in that hockey mindset then if something happens, I'll be ready to go.”

Professional athletes are creatures of habit. To have to step into a game unexpectedly with little to no warning or preparation and be expected to perform at the highest level is an incredibly tough mental challenge.

And yet, in many ways, it can be easier than starting.

“The whole thing about mental preparation is so that you go out there not thinking about anything, not worrying about any of that,” Holtby said. “When you're forced in with a matter of 30 seconds, there's no time to think about anything. You just go in and play.”

For goalies, not starting does not mean having the night off. Both coaches and teammates alike can lean upon a backup netminder as an extra set of eyes.

“Sometimes they'll ask a question like did it look like I had room there?” Copley said. “Was it a shot or missed? Did you see what happened on this play? So I just try to be there and watch.”

Some coaches even give goalies assignments in game, though that practice seems to be on the decline.

“I know [Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock] makes them look at faceoffs or something,” Holtby said. “It's pretty archaic. There's guys that do that now that are better than the backup goalie at looking at things.”

In truth, there is no defined in-game requirements for most goalies in the NHL when they sit as backups and that is true of the Caps’ tandem. That makes the job of a backup a very simple one.

“I just try and be ready if I have to go in,” Copley said. “Make sure I'm physically and mentally ready and be a good teammate.”

Holtby put it even more succinctly as he said, “Don't do anything stupid.”