Caps prospect Zach Sanford is back in D.C., and he’ll be here through the weekend.
Whether he gets into a game, though, depends on the health of “a couple” of his banged up teammates in Washington, Coach Barry Trotz said. The Caps host the Red Wings on Thursday and the Ducks on Saturday before hitting the five-day bye week.
“For us, we want to make sure that we get through the next two games—we got a couple of guys that have just little nicks,” Trotz said after Wednesday’s practice.
“And Hershey’s not playing,” the coach continued, “so we wanted to get a look at him, sit down and talk, see where he is. He’s gone from a college schedule to [a pro schedule]. So we brought him back up to practice with us. It was a good time for it.”
Sanford was recalled prior to the Caps’ 5-0 win over the Hurricanes on Tuesday, so the ailing players to which Trotz referred were preseumably nicked up prior to that game.
Sanford, meanwhile, arrived in the first period of the Carolina game and was the first skater on the ice for Wednesday’s practice in Arlington.
“It’s good to be back, get back out here, see the pace and how they’ve been doing,” Sanford said. “They’re on a roll here and it’s the same way in practice.”
Although Sanford is focused on helping the Bears in their playoff push, he’s kept a close eye on the Caps’ recent run of ridiculous success.
“It’s crazy,” Sanford said. “They had a little bit of struggle in the beginning of the year and now every game seems like it’s 5-1 or 6-0. It’s good to see for the organization.”
Sanford has a goal, an assist and six shots on net in his last four games with the Bears.
“I’m working on a lot of the little things [like] my strength and my skating,” he said. “So far down there, it’s gone pretty well.”
Even if Sanford doesn’t play in a game and all he gets in are two practices and a couple of morning skates, the 22-year-old says there’s plenty to be gained from the call-up.
“There’s a lot to gain,” he said. “Seeing the older guys who have been doing it for so long, maybe down in Hershey there’s not as many of those guys. So seeing a guy like [Justin Williams] or [Evgeny Kuznetsov] doing little tricks he does, you just kinda pick up on those things. And maybe try them out yourself, and if they work, you stick with them.”
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