Scott Hannan took part in the typically grueling scratches skate run by the Capitals' assistant coaches during his first day with the team. It's a scenario the veteran defenseman hasn't usually found himself in over recent seasons, as he's missed just two regular season games since the 2008-08 season.
But although Hannan will spend tonight watching his new team take on the Blues and soaking up as much of the Capitals' game as possible, he's not worried about being able to adapt to Washington's system.
"I don't know if there's a tough way or if you've just got to read the play. I think that's one of my strengths, being able to read the play," Hannan said. "You can have your systems, you can have your things, but sometimes when you get out there, things break down and you've got to be able to read and see what goes on on the ice.
"I think I'll be able to fit in pretty good as far as any system. We used to play a system similar in San Jose at times, in Colorado it was a little bit different...but I can learn quickly."
Hannan said when the Avalanche approached him to waive the no-trade clause in his contract Monday night, he and his family took the night to mull over the option but decided it was time to move on from Colorado. His wife and 10-month-old son, Gage, will be joining him in Washington as soon as possible.
Several questions in today's live Q&A asked whether Hannan, nearly 32, could still carry the load that he did as a younger player.
Hannan averaged at least 20 minutes of ice time since 2000-01, but through 23 games with Colorado this year saw that number drop to around 18 minutes per game. Although he no longer fit with the Avalanche's plans, Hannan believes he can still be relied upon to play 20 minutes or more a night.
"I feel like I can still play a lot of minutes, play a lot of tough minutes against top lines," Hannan said. "It's what I've been doing my whole career, I look forward to that challenge every night and it's something that I want to be put in that position."
With the Capitals flying to St. Louis shortly after news of the trade for Hannan broke Tuesday, the first time Coach Bruce Boudreau had a chance to talk about the move was this morning just as the team hit the ice here.
"You look at what our goals are -- and who knows if we can achieve them; we're going to try -- but you need depth on defense," Boudreau said. "We just think that this is a solid defenseman, a defender that can play, and if you want to go far in the playoffs you need those kind of guys. It gives us great depth at a position I don't think we had great depth at."
This trade was a personal one for Boudreau, who was close with Tomas Fleischmann after having coached the Czech forward either in Washington or in Hershey since the 2005-06 season.
"It got fairly emotional in there," Boudreau said of his discussion with Fleischmann after he was informed of the trade. "He was the main factor that helped us win the Calder Cup that year. He came from a team the year before that he didn't get much ice time [on], didn't produce to a team where he was the best offensive forward, maybe in the American Hockey League. He helped carry the Cup. Ever since then, we've had a great relationship, been able to talk to each other and all of these things."