As he recovered from shoulder surgery this offseason, Troy Brouwer’s goal has remained to be ready for opening night of the 2011-12 regular season. So far, he is on schedule to do just that.
Brouwer, who had a tear in his right shoulder repaired at the conclusion of last year, was cleared for contact on Saturday and hasn’t had any hiccups or setbacks in his rehabilitation.
“I’ve been on pace all summer to be ready for the start of the season and nothing’s changed as of now,” Brouwer said. “For me, [the goal] has always been the start of the season. I don’t want to miss any games. It’s an important season for this hockey club and I want to be a part of it all of the way.”
Brouwer said he’s excited to start training camp, when the drills will be a little more intense and allow him to keep testing his shoulder and elevating the amount of contact he faces.
“You have to test it out to see what it can handle and how well it handles it so you do everything in practice, get a little contact there, make sure that’s okay and slowly evolve into battle drills and things like that,” Brouwer said. “Hopefully I’ll get an exhibition game or two in, too. Our hope is I’ll be ready and playing full games before the season even starts.”
Brouwer arrived in Washington last week and received a warm welcome from captain Alex Ovechkin once the star left wing returned from the NHL media tour in New York. A group of Capitals, including Ovechkin, Brouwer, Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green, John Carlson and D.J. King, went out for lunch on Saturday after a workout.
Ovechkin is “a character; that’s for sure,” Brouwer said. “You hear stories and stuff, but when you get to talk to him and get to know him a little bit better, he’s just a good guy. First time I saw him in the room, he came right over and talked to me for five, 10 minutes. He’s a little tough to understand sometimes, but you can tell he’s a friendly guy and how excited he is.”