While the first period of the Capitals’ final development scrimmage was slogging along, one player stood out. It wasn’t top prospect Cody Eakin, who faded into the game; it wasn’t big Swede Mattias Sjogren, who later on imposed his will; it wasn’t speedy forward Stan Galiev.
It was 20-year-old goon Danick Paquette. Goon isn’t as much a negative connotation as much as it describes a role filled by certain players at each level of hockey. Paquette spent the first hitting anyone he could line up.
“That’s what we thought we were getting,” general manager George McPhee said. “You’ve got to keep your head up.”
Acquired along with a fourth-round pick from the Jets for Eric Fehr, Paquette makes no secret about his style of play. In 59 ECHL games last year he had 179 penalty minutes. Back in 2008-09 he had 230 penalty minutes in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Naturally, he had a fight in Saturday’s scrimmage, too.
“Yeah, it’s part of my game – I’m a good plus guy, be physical and if I have to fight I have to fight and if I can put some puts, it’d be good for my team,” Paquette said.
Fighting a free agent invitee like Karl Stollery is mostly harmless, but lining up fellow prospects and hitting them – some in borderline dirty fashion – might be a different issue.
“I don’t know where you draw the line,” McPhee said. “What we wanted most was a really competitive atmosphere because that’s when you find out what players are made of.”
Paquette, who earlier in the week compared himself to Matt Cooke, played a more tame style in the second and third periods, but he insisted it wasn’t because coaches told him to cool down. And about that “line” …
“I don’t have a line,” he said. “I just go the best I can and if I go too hard, then it’s never too hard for a coach. Coaches like a hard player, so I try to impress Bruce.”
Coach Bruce Boudreau was impressed with some things, and not so much with others – like a high-sticking penalty Paquette committed.
“You know what, it’s the good and the bad. It’s the way he’s gotta play to be effective and getting under people’s skin, and I think there’s a lot of guys that hate him – probably every game,” Boudreau said. “But it’s a tough way to make a living but that’s what you gotta do if you wanna play.
“He’s noticeable – every game he’s noticeable. Whether he does good or bad stuff he’s noticeable. That’s what he needs to be doing.”