- Ann Coulter takes up ‘Mitt Romney for President’ chant again
- Mount Everest avalanche kills a dozen Sherpa guides
- Vice principal saved from South Korean sinking ferry found hanged
- ‘I Am Alive’ app gains popularity in terror-ravaged Lebanon
- Gun giveaways gain popularity among Republican candidates
- S.C. hospital worker slapped with $525 federal fine for refilling $0.89 soda
- Teen from ‘Jihad Jane’ plot becomes youngest ever to serve time on U.S. terror charges
- Iranian woman forgives son’s killer at the gallows
- Nebraska principal sorry for ‘don’t tattle’ flier
- Illinois readies to spend $100M for Obama museum in Chicago
For U.S. development program, hockey business is grooming
In the interview room at Consol Energy Center on Day 2 of the NHL draft last month, Thomas Di Pauli and Austin Wuthrich shared a hug and brief congratulations. Taken seven picks apart, it was fitting that the teammates with the U.S. National Team Development Program got to see each other in matching Washington Capitals jerseys.
“I asked [our scouts], ‘Are we drafting the whole team? What are we doing here?’ ” general manager George McPhee said jokingly. “But they said of all the teams they’ve seen, that team was the most close-knit. They really liked the way they were coached and the way they played together.”
Like fellow USNTDP product Travis Boyd, who was a standout last year, Di Pauli, Carrick and Barber will try to impress this week at the Capitals‘ development camp, another step on the road to the NHL.
That weekend in Pittsburgh was a banner couple of days for the program. Ten U.S. Under-18 national team players were taken in the draft, including three in the first round.
“Obviously, the under-18 world championship is our big goal as a team, but once that’s over then the guys kind of turn to the draft,” said Danton Cole, who coaches all four Caps picks with the Under-18 team. “That’s every young man’s dream is to get drafted and then hopefully play in the NHL. For us, it’s just fun watching the guys, watching them get drafted. They’ve earned it, and I think it validates the work that they’ve put in for a couple years and their efforts.”
The Caps didn’t go in specifically targeting USNTDP talent; it just worked out that way. But it was no accident that Di Pauli, Wuthrich, Carrick and Barber were popular among the team’s scouting staff.
“They’re winners,” director of amateur scouting Ross Mahoney said. “Talking to the people in that program, they said it was the best group of kids they’ve ever had, and they’ve had some really good young men come through that program. We think they’re all good athletes and good players and plus, they’re winners.”
It’s highly competitive just to make the U.S. team. Di Pauli called just earning a USA jersey “the first step to accomplishing one of my dreams.” But the battles for ice time and prominent roles helps, too.
“You know you’re obviously phenomenal players, you play with them all year long,” Carrick said. “But the hard work is paying off.”
“It’s almost like an elite group of players within the U.S.,” Mahoney said. “You’re on the ice practicing every day and you’re working out off the ice with kind of an elite group of athletes, which is only going to make yourselves better. And then they play in the international tournaments. I think it speeds up their development as compared to maybe some of the other young players their age.”
The U.S. National Team Development Program has produced the likes of Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane, Toronto Maple Leafs forwards James van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel and Anaheim Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler. With 21 players selected in the past two drafts, more prominent names are sure to be added to the list of those who make it to the NHL.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- WHYNO: Tomas Vokoun gets unexpected Stanley Cup shot with Penguins
- Brandon Meriweather, Redskins' secondary ready for bounceback year
- Kirk Cousins embraces role as Redskins' offseason starter as RG3 rehabs from injury
- Capitals notes: Realignment won't prompt roster remake
- Despite Caps' first-round playoff exit, Adam Oates' first season as coach left a positive taste
Latest Blog Entries
- Redskins injury updates (5/23): WR Pierre Garcon, CB Josh Wilson each had labrum surgery
- Capitals 'love' Matt Hendricks, but how much?
- Wojtek Wolski signs in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League
- Tom Poti won't return to Capitals, plans to continue his NHL career
- Is Tom Wilson ready to be a regular for Capitals?
By Tammy Bruce
Team Obama's bizarre behavior helps Gitmo terrorists foil justice
- Harry Reid blasts Bundy ranch supporters as 'domestic terrorists'
- CBO shows it's Paul Ryan 4, Obama 0 on budget targeting
- PRUDEN: When a bored president just 'mails it in'
- Joe Biden's biggest gaffe: VP blowing his 2016 head start
- Inside China: Marine's comment on islands draws sharp Chinese response
- BOLTON: A 'three-state solution' for Middle East peace
- With pot and e-cigarettes, Big Tobacco is just waiting to inhale emerging markets
- Golden Hammer: Easter candy bitter taste for taxpayers?
- Obama taunts GOP, takes nationally televised victory lap on Obamacare
- Atheists rush to stage Easter display: 'Jesus Christ is a myth'
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.