Capitals prospect Patrick Wey was so eager to get into a scrimmage at development camp that he couldn’t get a nap in Wednesday. He and the rest of the guys at Kettler played like it too, with Bruce Boudreau saying the first scrimmage of this camp was a more physical affair than normal.
“The thoughts were is they played hard,” Boudreau said. “I think there was a lot more physical contact than the last two development camps, at least early on for the first game.”
At the end of the day, the red team – the one with Stan Galiev and Mattias Sjogren – beat the white team 4-2. Caleb Herbert (a 2010 fifth-round pick), Galiev (’10 third-rounder), Travis Boyd (’11 sixth-rounder) and Aaron Schmit (free agent invitee) scored for red; Andrew Cherniwchan (free agent invitee) and Garrett Mitchell (’09 sixth-rounder) scored for white.
The players noticed a little more grit in this game.
“It was a good physical presence out there, a good fight,” Wey said. “I thought it was definitely physical.”
Cody Eakin, the Caps’ top prospect in this camp, was pushed around a lot by Sjogren – especially in the faceoff circle. With those two battling for a roster spot in September, the coaches got a chance to see them battle on Wednesday. Look for that to continue all week and into the fall.
“Mattias is a little bit older, he’s stronger and he’s a big guy. I kinda had to adjust my game a little bit in the zone and in the faceoff circles,” Eakin said. “It took a little bit to adjust but I think after a little while it was back and forth.”
Eakin at times tried to go around several defenders at once. He had moderate success doing so, but admittedly he needed some time to get into a groove.
As did goaltender Philipp Grubauer, who experienced his first game action since February. The 19-year-old left his junior team in Kingston of the Ontario Hockey League five months ago with mono and hadn’t really been on the ice since.
“You play so much over the years and you get a feeling, and I kinda lost that feeling over those five months and it’s slowly coming back,” he said.
Grubauer got a barrage of shots early on, allowed two goals in his 30 minutes of play but overall had a good showing. And he drew a favorable comparison from Boudreau after talking to goaltending coach Dave Prior and associate goaltending coach Olie Kolzig.
“I don’t wanna compare him to anybody but the way he smothered the puck like Michal Neuvirth – when Michal is on how he just absorbs it was Olie’s words, and he did that three times,” Boudreau said. “When young guys can control the rebounds I think it’s a stepping stone in the right direction.”
A few young guys “jumped out” in this scrimmage, Boudreau said, but he will wait until the end of camp to make a judgment.
“Again, it’s the first day – July  – so I don’t think guys are gonna make or break the team today,” he said.
Injury notes – Prospect Taylor Stefishen and free agent invitee Wade Epp each left the scrimmage with injuries. Stefishen appeared to injure his right knee, as he was wearing a brace on it walking out of the locker room. Epp took a nasty fall into the boards and skated off favoring his left arm. A team spokesman said both will be re-evaluated Thursday.