The players who did not suit up in Chicago on Friday night were on the ice this morning ahead of today’s Caps Convention.
Here are a few notes before I head over to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center:
*Marcus Johansson did not practice today, 12 hours after the second-year center left the game in Chicago with an illness. Boudreau said Johansson caught a cold and was feeling dizzy on the ice “without getting hit.” So they’re resting him.
*The main thrust of today’s practice was neutral zone coverage and, more interesting, shooting to score. Boudreau has felt that his players haven’t been focusing enough on putting the puck in the net when they’ve been shooting in practice, and he wanted to nip that before it formed bad habits.
In three preseason games, the Caps have scored five goals.
“We’re working really hard but we’re not getting the scoring results right now,” Boudreau said. “A lot of times you see players shooting pucks but they’re not focusing on shooting at corners. After you warm the goalies up, you want [skaters] to focus on shooting to score. The goalies want you to shoot to score because it’s the only way they get better. We also wanted them to go to the net, find rebounds and people in front. It’s the habit of keeping going and not playing on the perimeter.”
*Boudreau on being 0-2-1 so far in the preseason: “In the scheme of things, the results don’t [matter]. Personally, I want to win everything I take part in. That’s why I get mad and call timeouts and get [ticked] off in a preseason game. I cheat at cards with my wife.”
*One of today’s drills was a breakaway competition that involved players being divided into two teams. One by one, players hopped off the bench, picked up a puck at the blue line and raced in on a breakaway. The losing team had to do additional skating.
“It’s a real good conditioning drill for the goaltenders,” Boudreau said, referring to Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth. “The goalies got tired. They must have taken 50 shots.”
At least one thought he got cheated, too. Mathieu Perreault scored the game winner on Holtby, but only after the puck hit Holtby, ricocheted off Perreault and trickled into the net. Holtby contended it was a “double-shot” and therefore, the coaching staff shouldn’t have counted it.
Boudreau cracked: “Holtby should stick to goaltending.”