Coach Adam Oates didn’t get on the ice with the rookies during camp, preferring instead to observe while the Hershey coaching staff ran practices. He won’t be behind the bench Monday afternoon when the Capitals and Flyers rookies face off, either.
But Oates is looking forward to seeing the young players in a live game, with full contact and an unfriendly opponent, to have a better idea of where they all stand.
During development camp scrimmages, Oates told players he didn’t want to see fights. While he’s eager to see how players react to full contact Monday, his stance on fighting in what amounts to an evaluation stage remains the same. Still, Oates knows there will likely be a scrap or two.
“The league has changed a lot, but obviously that’s still an element to a lot of guys’ games,” Oates said. “Guys are trying to impress, so they’re going to want to do what they can to impress the boss. If that’s part of their skill set, it’s hard to say don’t do that but that comes from a maturity level from the top.”
Oates said he expects Capitals General Manager George McPhee and Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren to set up guidelines for the contest so that the game doesn’t devolve into fight night.
“You don’t want someone to get hurt; this is an evaluation game,” Oates said. “You want contact, you want intensity, but let’s not let it turn into a rodeo. There’s no reason for that.”
The rookie game between the Capitals and Flyers prospects is 3 p.m. at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Monday. The game is free and open to the public.