The Morning Roundup makes its triumphant return to Capitals Insider today, with a few tweaks -- including a new logo. The regular feature will be less of an exhaustive list of links and more of a conversation starter to kick off the day, but it will still include links to notable stories from the Post and around the web.
Two years ago, defenseman Karl Alzner and center Mathieu Perreault were vying to leave an impression on the Capitals brass in a rookie game like the one scheduled for 3 p.m. today at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, where the Washington and Philadelphia prospects will face off.
In the interim they've grown up, occasionally in Washington, but primarily as members of the back-to-back Calder Cup winning Hershey Bears. Now they are two of several players facing a key juncture in their careers with the opportunity to prove that they're ready for the NHL full time beginning when training camp opens on Saturday morning.
Perreault spent the summer bulking up, paying close attention to his diet and health while working out "more than ever before" in the previous offseasons. The speedy 22-year-old is expected to compete with Marcus Johansson for a chance at making the opening-night roster.
"It's pretty much the biggest year for me," Perreault said. "There's finally room up here for centermen and this is my chance to make the team. It's a big training camp for me but I'm ready for it. Last year I was really high the first 10 games or so, and my goal if I'm here all year is to have that consistency to play 80 games."
General Manager George McPhee said last spring that Alzner was "a guy we expect to be in Washington", but the 21-year-old isn't about to take anything for granted after he spent the past two preseasons with plenty of speculation that he might stick with the Capitals.
"Everything I get I need to work hard for, it doesn't matter what's been said or how things look. It's never that way," Alzner said. "My first year was a great example...for me it's just about working hard. I know I can do things out there, create and make plays.
"I got a little taste of this. Being in this room can make you think about what's possible. Just a few weeks here, everything can change for a lot of us in here."
The Globe and Mail's Erik Duhatschek catches up with Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green during their time at the NHL's media tour in New York City.
Corey Masisak takes a closer look at defensive prospect Dustin Stevenson, who hopes to play in Hershey this year.
Find out how 2010 sixth-round draft pick, defenseman Samuel Carrier is handling Caps rookie camp this week.