- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Olie Kolzig arrived 90 minutes early, goalie equipment in hand, vainly searching for any Washington Capitals teammates to help kick off the start of the informal training camp.

Finally Brent Johnson, Kolzig’s backup, arrived at the Ashburn Ice House, just down the road from Redskin Park, followed in varying intervals by five skaters.

It was the beginning of the annual scrape-off-the-summer-rust skates, usually five a week for about two hours a session. The actual team-sponsored training camp starts Sept.15 at the same location. The Caps’ first preseason game is Sept.20 against Tampa Bay at Verizon Center.

Kolzig and Johnson were joined yesterday by defensemen Brian Pothier and Shaone Morrisonn and forwards Dainius Zubrus, Chris Clark and Stephen Werner. Kolzig, the elder statesman at 36, appeared to be in the best shape of the lot.

Morrisonn and the two goalies had skated last week at the team’s former training facility, Piney Orchard Ice Arena in Odenton, Md., but moved to the club’s temporary headquarters yesterday. The Caps will use Ashburn and Grant Center in Hershey, Pa., as well as Verizon, as training sites while waiting for their $43million facility in Ballston Spa to be completed.

Star left wing Alex Ovechkin was attending a press conference in Toronto yesterday to announce his joining Right To Play, described as an international humanitarian organization designed to bring sports to children in disadvantaged areas. Caps left wing Matt Pettinger also was named an ambassador in the organization, which includes Wayne Gretzky on a board that is filled with former Olympic athletes.

Ovechkin also will miss today’s skate to be in New York to take part in a Sports Illustrated photo shoot with Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby.

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