Newcomer Mike Ribeiro, who has watched wingers switch sides throughout his career, isn’t worried about Ovechkin making the move.
“It will be an adjustment for him. A lot of times if he’s on the right side he won’t be able to come through the middle and take that shot in the middle so he may have to more often go wide and beat his guy wide. It’s just an adjustment. He needs to get used to it and find other ways to [get] open ice,” Ribeiro said. “But if you’re well-positioned defensively then offensively guys with skill will always find ways to create or score. So I think defensively it might help him more along the boards and with chipping it out, but he’s so good that he’ll figure it out and find a way to figure it out.”
With a 48-game regular season, Oates expects Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth to play a lot. Who starts at Tampa Bay seems obvious, even if the Caps coach wouldn’t go so far as to confirm it would be Holtby.
“I would say that I would think that the guys expect Holts to be in the net based on last year, for sure,” Oates said.
Holtby put up a 1.95 goals-against average and .935 save percentage in helping the Caps get to within a game of the Eastern Conference finals.
Tom Wilson appears to be a long shot to make the Caps’ opening night roster, given that he’s just 18 years old and his game is pretty raw. But 6-foot-4, 210-pound first-round pick is in camp and is an injury or two away from making the team.
Given that Brooks Laich will very likely miss at least the start of the season, the Caps have 14 healthy forwards and could go with 12 to 14. Wilson was a late addition to camp, but now he has a chance to make an impression.
“You watch and then the players make the decisions for you,” McPhee said. “We have a pretty good idea who’s going to be on this club, but you never know.”
Defenseman Tom Poti scored a power-play goal in the first game of his American Hockey League conditioning assignment Sunday night with the Hershey Bears. It was his first game action since Jan. 12, 2011.
“I watched some highlights, I had a chance to watch a little bit of it and good for him, it’s been a long time, a long time without playing,” Oates said. “I’m sure he was glad to be back and get some competitive time.”