The conclusion of the first on-ice practice session of rookie camp is traditionally a grueling bag skate, and Sunday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex was no different. As the Capitals coaching staff sent the first group of players through the sets of multiple sprints, though, one thing remained constant – Cody Eakin was the first player to finish each heat.

At the end of development camp in July, Eakin expressed disappointment in his showing and admitted that he wasn’t in the best shape. Eakin’s season didn’t end until late May with an appearance in the Memorial Cup, but the 20-year-old forward didn’t offer it as an excuse for himself.

In the six weeks since development camp, Eakin got back to his regular five-days-a-week training routine.

“Obviously, it’s a different kind of training before development camp,” Eakin said. “Since then, I’ve had as long as anyone [to train] and so it was a good summer. I worked hard, had some fun and I think I did pretty well in testing.”

Coach Bruce Boudreau said that while he hasn’t yet talked to Eakin, he noticed the 2009 third-round draft pick’s showing in the on-ice conditioning tests and noted that there’s a different sense of urgency from the young forward.

“Here’s a guy who went to the Memorial Cup and you don’t finish playing until the end of May and you probably take a few weeks off — boy it’s hard to get back into it in early July,” Boudreau said. “It wasn’t his draft year, he knew he was turning pro but he knows that it counts now — July 10 it didn’t count — and he’d been through three [development camps]. You can see a little bit more determination on his face. I think it will show.”