Braden Holtby got the official call-up Tuesday morning, the first of the Capitals’ “Black Aces” from the Hershey Bears.
But he won’t be the only one, Bruce Boudreau confirmed. That much was assumed Monday, but the coach said it only makes sense to have the extra guys around.
“Every team has done it through the dawn of time almost in hockey circles because this is who we draw from in case of injuries,” he said. “The common term is the ‘aces’ and they come out and you never know, it might be the fourth round that one of them gets in but the longer you go the more chance that they’re going to play.”
Those extra guys will be forwards Mathieu Perreault, Steve Pinizzotto and Andrew Gordon (when he’s healthy) and defenseman Patrick McNeill, as reported by Tim Leone of the Patriot-News.
Boudreau said the “Black Aces” (a term that started 70 years ago with Eddie Shore) will skate separately from the rest of the Caps.
“It’s really difficult to practice with 30-plus guys on the ice and if you want to have good practices before the games you’ve got to keep the numbers down,” he said.
Beyond just having depth guys around in case of injury, there’s a substantial benefit to calling young players up from the minors during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“ I remember when I was young and I would get a chance to do that and even if you’re watching from the press box, the only thing that goes through your mind is ‘I can’t wait to be involved in this,’ ” Boudreau said. “It’s an inspirational thing as well as a motivational thing, I think.”
And to no one’s surprise, Hershey GM Doug Yingst told the Patriot-News that the Caps’ affiliation with the Bears has been extended through next season. It’s no secret the Caps love having Hershey as their AHL team.