Cam Schilling had been hoping to make the Washington Capitals out of training camp, but that dream ended Tuesday as the defenseman was sent back to the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League.
Schilling was brought to camp as one of eight defensemen. But with seven other NHL blue liners around and Tom Poti around, the 24-year-old had an uphill climb to make the roster.
“Why would I be here if I didn’t think I could make this team?” Schilling said Monday. “But I can only control so much, so I can just play and do as much as I can, but other than that it’s just trying to get better every day.”
Even with this setback for Schilling, he’s likely the first call-up from Hershey if and when the Caps have an injury on the blue line.
“Especially with the shortened season, there might be more injuries,” Schilling said. “You don’t know. But I just try to stay away from thinking about that kind of stuff and try and play numbers games because that [can take you off] your game.”
Schilling had the advantage of learning Adam Oates’ system with the Bears earlier this season.
“It’s helped a lot actually, just being able to do the same drills, same system, stuff like that. It’s made the transition a little bit easier because I didn’t have to learn all new stuff,” he said. “It’s basically the same thing. There’s little tweaks here and there, but overall it’s the same system. I think they want to have their minor league team do the same thing, so if guys are called up or sent down, stuff like that happens, they don’t have to learn a whole new system.”
That should make the adjustment back to the Caps easier if Schilling gets the call at some point this season.