- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Andrew Gordon knows there is one benefit of being in the same professional organization as Andrew Joudrey — he doesn’t have to worry about chasing his childhood friend on the ice anymore.

“He was one of the guys that I always had to mark. We played on opposing teams until we were about 15,” said Gordon, a seventh-round choice by the Washington Capitals in the 2004 draft. “He’s always been a little better skater than I have been, so it is a lot easier watching him go and wishing him the best than having to turn and chase him down.”

The truth is Gordon, who is 17 months younger than Joudrey, always has been following his friend. They grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and played on opposing teams up through the bantam level before joining forces in midget (ages 15-17).

Joudrey left Halifax to play for the Notre Dame Hounds of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, and Gordon made the trek west a year later. Both players decided playing college hockey was the next step in their development, and one year after Joudrey went to Wisconsin, Gordon joined conference rival St. Cloud State.

Joudrey, the Caps’ eighth-round pick in the 2003 draft, won a national championship with the Badgers as a junior in 2005-06 and was the team captain last season. Gordon quickly became one of the Huskies’ top players, scoring 20 goals as a sophomore and 22 as a junior before deciding to skip his senior season and turn pro last spring.

After years of following in Joudrey’s footsteps, they are now at the same point — working out with the rest of the Caps’ draft picks at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in preparation for their first full season as professionals.

“[That part] really has been a good chase for me,” Gordon said, “It seems like wherever he goes, I go. I look forward to continuing that.”

Both players signed pro contracts after the NCAA season ended and finished the season with Hershey in the American Hockey League. Joudrey played in five regular-season games and 10 playoff games for the Bears, while Gordon practiced during the playoffs with a group of players not on the active roster called “The Black Aces.”

Both are expected to be regular contributors for the Bears this season. Each made major strides in their development during their college careers, and both look like they could make it to the NHL someday despite where they were drafted.

“I guess you can’t go wrong with the bluenosers,” general manager George McPhee said. “[Joudrey] has outstanding character, [he is in] great shape and he’s a great leader. He came from a winning program, and he stepped in and did a really nice job for Hershey in the playoffs last year.

“[Gordon] has developed really well at the college level — well enough that we thought he would plateau with another year at that level. We encouraged him to turn pro, and I don’t think he’ll regret it.”

Notes The Caps’ rookies scrimmaged for three 25-minute periods yesterday. There were three newcomers on the ice. Two — defensemen Karl Alzner and Josh Godfrey — were expected after they returned from helping Canada to a 7-0-1 mark at the Super Series against Russia. The third was quite a surprise. The Blue team, which won 5-3, was short a wing, so Donald Brashear volunteered to skate with the group. He even chipped in with a power-play goal in the second period.

Washington’s rookies will travel to Voorhees, N.J., today to play Philadelphia’s rookies in an exhibition game.

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