With the Hershey Bears’ elimination from the AHL’s Calder Cup playoffs, the Capitals recalled goaltender Braden Holtby. They’re expected to bring up several other players as well, to serve as extra depth during their postseason run.
According to The Patriot News’ Tim Leone, Mathieu Perreault, Patrick McNeill, Steve Pinizzotto and Andrew Gordon, when he recovers from a high-ankle sprain, are slated to join Washington. By bringing the players up rather than letting them return to their offseason homes, the Capitals have an additional cushion already present should a player suffer an injury.
“Every team has done it through the dawn of time, almost, in hockey circles, because this is who we draw from in case of injuries,” Coach Bruce Boudreau said when discussing the call-ups. “The common term is the ‘aces’ and they come out and you never know, it might be the fourth round that one of them gets in, but the longer you go, the more chance that they’re going to play.”
In order to prevent an overcrowded practice session and locker room, though, Boudreau said the players brought up from the Bears will work out on their own until they’re needed.
“I think we’ll have two goalies on our ice, but if we bring anybody else up — and we’ll know today — then there will be guys practicing by themselves and working out while we’re on the ice,” Boudreau said. “It’s really difficult to practice with 30-plus guys on the ice, and if you want to have good practices before the games you’ve got to keep the numbers down.”
While the players’ presence in Washington gives the staff a chance to evaluate them more, it also exposes the younger players to the playoff environment, from the tempo of practice and workouts to the media pressure.
“I remember when I was young and I would get a chance to do that, and even if you’re watching from the press box, the only thing that goes through your mind is, ‘I can’t wait to be involved in this,’” Boudreau said. “It’s an inspirational thing as well as a motivational thing, I think.”