Another scrimmage and another scrap for Danick Paquette, the prospect Washington acquired when it traded Eric Fehr to Winnipeg who made waves this week when he compared himself to infamous NHL villain Matt Cooke.
In the first period of the final scrimmage at development camp Saturday, Paquette was hard to miss as he dished out multiple glass-rattling checks on almost every shift. He seemed to target anyone and everyone in an opposing jersey and earned seven penalty minutes – two for high sticking and five for a fight with defenseman Karl Stollery.
“That’s what we thought we were getting. You’ve got to keep your head up,” General Manager George McPhee said when asked if what Paquette showed this week was what the team expected of him.
In the middle of scrimmages in July where there’s often a desire to prevent players from being injured, Paquette’s aggressive presence stood out. Earlier in the week, Paquette fought Scott Wietecha and knocked local invitee Adam Mitchell out of a scrimmage with an elbow to the jaw.
“Well, you know what, it’s the good and the bad,” Coach Bruce Boudreau said. “It’s the way he’s gotta play to be effective and getting under people’s skin, and I think there’s a lot of guys that hate him – probably every game. It’s a tough way to make a living but that’s what you gotta do if you wanna play. He’s noticeable – every game he’s noticeable. Whether he does good or bad stuff he’s noticeable. That’s what he needs to be doing.”
Paquette did appear to dial his physical play back a bit in the second and third periods of the final scrimmage on Saturday, but the Montreal native said it wasn’t based on the instruction of any Capitals’ coaches.
“No, they just let me play the way I play,” Paquette said. “They just said play physical, and there was not opportunity to everybody in the second and third periods. I just played my game.
“I don’t have a line,” Paquette said when asked if he tried to keep himself in check during camp. “I just go the best I can and if I go too hard, then it’s never too hard for a coach. Coaches like a hard player, so I try to impress Bruce.”