Patrick Wey arrived at the Capitals practice facility Saturday morning to a welcome surprise: his name was on the white board listed among the players that will suit up against the Nashville Predators at Verizon Center.
The 22-year-old defenseman will be the fourth player to make his NHL debut with Washington and the 12th blueliner to appear in a game for the Capitals this season. Wey’s task now, like that of any player preparing for their first NHL game, is to manage the jitters that come with the milestone.
“I’d feel worried if I wasn’t nervous but I play a pretty simple game,” Wey said. “I’m not going to try to do too much or take too much on my shoulders. I think the guys around me will support me and help me with that.”
Wey, who is in his first professional season after spending the past four years at Boston College, will be paired with Dmitry Orlov. The two overlapped in Hershey a bit this season but weren’t regular defensive partners.
Coach Adam Oates said he and the coaching staff will do what they can to help shelter the young duo, putting them on the ice in favorable situations when possible but knows they need to be ready to handle anything that might arise.
“He had good practices, he looked fine, nothing major. [General Manager] George [McPhee] watched him down in Hershey, had good reports and we just thought we’d put him in,” Oates said of Wey. “There’s going to be butterflies. We’re going to try to ease him into it but in saying that, you’re going to get on the ice with really good hockey players so you’ve got to be ready to play. We just try to make him relaxed before the game so he’s not too uptight, which is a hard thing to do.”
Wey’s family – his dad Steve, mom Mary Jane and sister Ashley — will be making the trip from New Jersey so they can attend his debut.
>> Braden Holtby gets the start against the Predators and if he has a strong outing, don’t be surprised to see him start Sunday night at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers. Oates said the Capitals have yet to determine who will start the second of the back-to-back games this weekend.
>> Healthy scratches are the same as they have been with Steve Oleksy and Alex Urbom both out.
>> Brooks Laich didn’t skate Saturday making it 10 days since the forward last took to the ice. He remains sidelined indefinitely by an injured right groin muscle.
>> Several Capitals prospects have been named to their country’s respective World Junior Championship camps. Defensemen Connor Carrick and Thomas DiPauli along with forward Riley Barber were named to the preliminary U.S. roster. Sweden has invited both Andre Burakovsky and Christian Djoos to their camp.
>> Projected lineups for both teams.
Colin Wilson-Mike Fisher-Patric Hornqvist
Craig Smith-David Legwand-Gabriel Bourque
Viktor Stalberg-Matt Cullen-Nick Spaling
Matt Hendricks-Paul Gaustad-Eric Nystrom
Shea Weber-Seth Jones
Roman Josi-Ryan Ellis
Victor Bartley-Mattias Ekholm
Marek Mazanec or Carter Hutton