Bob Woods and the coaches are probably the only ones who liked all of today's Capitals practice at KCI, which featured plenty of drills down low in the zone and was capped off by a timed mountain-skate. The players had to skate blue line back, red line back, far blue line back and goal line back all in under 45 seconds -- or they had to do it again in 50.
"They know it's not much fun when the stopwatch comes out," Woods, a Caps assistant coach, said with a laugh. "But when they're in shape they can do it in about 42."
But for all the groaning afterward, the players didn't mind the tough skate too much and most beat the mountain on the first try.
"It was a little harder out there than I think a lot of us expected, there were a lot of 3-on-3s and some disguised bag skates, disguised down and backs," Mike Knuble said. "The mountain, it sucks. You hit center ice and you hear 42, your legs are stinging but at least he only did it once. ... It's kind of a necessity. It's things you have to do to get you in that frame of mind for games."
There are 41 players left in training camp and the group likely won't be that large for long. Hershey's camp opens on Tuesday, and the first day of on-ice sessions is Wednesday. So it's probably safe to guess that there will be a round of cuts between the Nashville game and then.
Based on the workouts, here's who will likely face off against the Predators Saturday. Once again, Coach Bruce Boudreau said, the goaltenders will each play half the contest. Boudreau added that the players not traveling to Nashville will likely play in the first home preseason contest next Tuesday against Boston.
Forwards: Keith Aucoin, Nicklas Backstrom, Jay Beagle, Francois Bouchard, Cody Eakin, Eric Fehr, Matt Hendricks, Marcus Johansson, Mike Knuble, Brooks Laich, Grant McNeill and Steve Pinizzotto.
Defense: John Erskine, Mike Green, Brian Fahey, Lawrence Nycholat, Tom Poti and Jeff Schultz.
Goal: Michal Neuvirth and Dany Sabourin.