Alex Ovechkin could join his teammates of the Washington Capitals on the ice for the phase 2 of the plan to return to the game of the NHL in the near future, said coach Todd Reirden Monday.
Ovechkin, tied for David Pastrnak Boston Bruins for the lead in the NHL with 48 goals in the regular season, has also benefited from training with his personal trainer, Pavel Burlachenko, who arrived in Russia shortly before the end of the season.
“He looks really good and excited to get back on the road and likes the chances of our team and know that it’s going to be very unpredictable, obviously,” said Reirden. “This is the first time that someone from the NHL going through a test such as this one. It is very well mentally and physically, and I think we were really lucky that his coach, to which I think a lot, Pavel, could spend all this time with him. ”
The Capitals, who will play the Bruins, the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Philadelphia Flyers at the tournament in the round of the Conference of the Stanley Cup playoffs, had four players participating in the training sessions of phase 2 in their training center in Arlington, Virginia, since June 11: goalkeeper Braden Holtbydefender John Carlson and before Evgeny Kuznetsov and Lars Eller.
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Reirden said that the ‘ goalie coach Scott Murray and assistant Blaine Forsythe will join them on the ice starting Thursday, and that more players from the Capitals, including potentially Ovechkin, are expected to return to the area and start to spin in the premises of the team in the week or next two weeks.
The NHL has announced that the phase 3, the training camps would begin on 10 July. A date for phase 4, which would be the beginning of the eight series qualifier among the five best and the round-robin tournament among the top four teams from each conference, has not been determined.
Although the training camp will look like almost from scratch for the Capitals, after a four month break since their last game of the regular season on 9 march, the possibility of reset could prove to be a good thing. Washington had a record of 26-6-5 and led the NHL with 57 points through December 22, but then got a record of 15-14-3, which 5-7-3 in their last 15 games.
“I had the impression that we’d come out in recent matches and, of course, we were not perfect at this stage, but I liked the direction our team was going to take and what we were going to do once we have clicked. on all cylinders, ” said Reirden. “Certainly, the beginning of the season and the training camp will be a reference point for us because of the way we came out of training camp and have started this year. I really liked a lot of things that our team has shown and how we played, and this will be the key for us to return there as soon as possible once we are back in phase 3 and phase 4. ”
There will be a lot of things to determine during the training camp, including a plan from the goalkeeper. Reirden said Holtby and the goaltender rookie Ilya Samsonov everyone will play during the round-robin tournament to prepare for the start of the playoffs of the Stanley Cup, but Holtby remains the number one.
Although Samsonov, who had a record of 16-6-2 with an average goals allowed of 2.55, and a percentage of stops, 913, had better numbers than Holtby (25-14-6, 3,11 GAA, the percentage of stops 0,897) during the regular season, he faded in the final straight, falling to 0-4-1 with a GAA of 4.34 and a percentage of stops of, 869 in its last five starts.
Holtby has a record of 5-3-2 with a percentage of stops of 2.75 GAA and 0,911 in its last 11 games, and he has the advantage of its experience in helping the Capitals to win the Cup in 2018.
“I think that to go there, it is the work of Braden Holtby to lose and I feel confident in him,” said Reirden. “I felt confident about the turn of events just before the break in regards to how his game was going, and I think he will have the first crack. “