“He looked great out there, he skated great, he looked like one of the guys and sometimes I didn’t realize it was him,” Oates said.
In training camp, it’s hard for the 6-foot-3, 205-pound forward to be physically imposing.
“Part of his game is being physical and we asked the guys to tone that down, and he looked very sharp out there,” Oates said. “I was very impressed. Very different than rookie camp.”
Scrimmage stokes fire
No one was surprised when the Caps beat an ECHL team 8-0 in a scrimmage Tuesday, but the point of the game wasn’t the result as much as getting some competition before the season starts Saturday night at the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“You can try to replicate that in practice, but until you get into a game and you see what your linemates and teammates do under pressure and in a game situation — obviously that’s beneficial,” forward Joey Crabb said. “It was nice to get out there with some shifts with some guys that we might be playing with.”
Players don’t have the aid of even one exhibition this week. That’s why many NHL teams planned a scrimmage against a minor league affiliate.
“It was good to get out there and just be able to run through our systems, see how they work against an opponent and also take 45-second shifts,” said forward Jay Beagle, who scored twice. “The guys that have been playing have, but the guys who haven’t been playing are used to being out there practicing for four months. It’s definitely weird to have that shift change.”