The fun was back at Capitals practice Saturday. It was a light workout that featured a red vs. white scrimmage – and, at the end, a shootout.
“We had a tie game. We had to go to something,” coach Dale Hunter said. “It would’ve went on forever maybe.”
When the red team won, the celebration was a bit off the charts. Troy Brouwer grabbed a red bucket from the locker room and skated around the ice with it like the Stanley Cup. As one of just two Caps players who have won it, he mimicked it rather well.
“We were just having some fun,” Brouwer said. “We had a little bet for lunch and [Jason Chimera] came in here and you can see all the water all over, spraying the water like we won, too.”
It’s a celebration all players dream of, and Saturday was just a small preview of what the Caps hope will be a bigger one in June – or some June in the near future.
It was perhaps an over-the-top celebration because of the little bet. But Brouwer said the white team wasn’t going to pay since the result – Cody Eakin’s game-winner – was in dispute.
But no matter the ending, it was the continuation for Hunter of a shootout competitions he started when coaching the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League.
“It’s great practice for the young players in junior because a lot of games are decided by shootout,” he said. “So it’s just practice.”
And it could have a practical impact in real-life NHL games.
“It’s a big part of the game now and it’s always nice to have that confidence in guys and you know guys try some moves that they’ll never try in the game out there,” Brouwer said. “But guys step up and score a few goals here – that just gives Dale a better idea of who he’s going to put in the shootouts. I’m going to say later on in the shootout because the first three are usually predetermined no matter what.”