While no one will place too much emphasis on the Capitals’ preseason opener, given how much the poor ice conditions impacted the play of both teams, there a few takeaways from the contest:
— Stanislav Galiev is going to be fun to watch. On Tuesday morning, the Russian prospect sat in the Capitals’ dressing room, staring intently at nothing in particular until a member of the team’s training staff gave him an encouraging nudge on the shoulder and told him not to worry, just have fun.
The Baltimore Hockey Classic was Galiev’s first-ever NHL preseason game, and he stood out to Coach Bruce Boudreau and others. He even threw his body around a little bit, making sure to finish checks, including one against former Capital Tyler Sloan. There was no real doubt that Galiev would be heading back to the QMJHL — the Capitals returned him to St. John’s Wednesday — but it will be interesting to see what happens when he turns pro in a year.
— Michal Neuvirth looked sharp. Neither of the Predators’ two goals were the goaltender’s fault, and he managed to combat the slip-and-slide nature of the crease rather well most of the night. Even assuming veteran Tomas Vokoun gets the bulk of the starts, Neuvirth will see a share of games in the regular season, and he is already reminding everyone watching to not count him out just yet.
— Expect to see more previews of the final roster in the preseason. Boudreau told reporters last night that the established NHLers would play more games — four, five or six as opposed to three and four — than they have in the past. That’s also part of the reason the team has cut 24 from camp already. In the past, more might have remained until Hershey’s camp opens this weekend, but Boudreau has made it clear he wants to get the NHL lineup assembled as quickly as possible.
— Jay Beagle continues to work hard. The forward is one of two players (along with Chris Bourque) to appear in both of these first two preseason games. His hustle was evident in Baltimore, and he has an even greater chance to stand out tonight in Columbus when lined up with what may be two-thirds of the fourth line in Matt Hendricks and Jeff Halpern. If Beagle can develop chemistry with those two in the preseason, it will help him stake a greater claim to a roster spot.