While both Mathieu Perreault and Jay Beagle took a little time to celebrate their place on the Capitals roster for the start of the 2011-12 season, both know their jobs have only just begun. It’s one thing to make room for yourself on a roster, it’s another to make sure you stay there.
“It’s definitely a starting point. You’re obviously happy and very excited,” Beagle said. “But in another sense it’s just the start. The goal was to make the team and now it’s time to go and try to make an impact to help this team win games and eventually win the Stanley Cup.”
Beagle, like Perreault, managed to crack the NHL lineup out of camp for the first time in his career and is looking to spend more time on the ice than in the press box. In all likelihood, though, both will be competing to not be the 13th forward and to get more games instead of the extra bag skates that scratches partake in after morning skates.
Their true test lies when the hits are harder, the speed ratchets up another gear and all of the league’s star players are focused for games that matter when the season begins on Thursday (or Saturday, if you’re the Capitals).
“Because, let’s face it, there’s an awful lot of guys in preseason on every team in the National Hockey League that didn’t give it their all,” Coach Bruce Boudreau said. “But come Thursday the intensity and everything else is going to be ramped up an awful lot. So if that was the best they’ve got – whether it’s the best player on our team or the worst player – if that was their best, then it’s not good enough.”