Capitals offseason news and notes

By Sandor Roberts

It’s time to review the flurry of activity that has taken place over the past few weeks for Washington Capitals prospects and look ahead to training camp, scheduled to commence Sept. 13.

Training Camp

Unlike seasons past, the Capitals will not be holding the entire training camp at Piney Orchard Ice Arena in Odenton, Md. Their base of operations will move to Hershey, Pa., the home of the Bears, the Capitals new AHL affiliate for the 2005-06 season, for a few days near the end of the month. The highlight of their visit to Chocolatetown will be an exhibition game at the Giant Center on September 25th vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Hershey Bears, the former affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche, will be coached by Bruce Boudreau, who comes to the team from the Manchester Monarchs. The former affiliate of the Capitals, the Portland Pirates, will now partner with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

Washington prospects were slated to participate in the Traverse City tournament which got underway today in Michigan, but the organization backed out just weeks before the event.

Contracts

The Capitals locked up five recent draftees (four of whom were picked in the first round) from the 2003 and 2004 drafts, Eric Fehr, Alexander Ovechkin, Jeff Schultz, Mike Green and Chris Bourque. With the exception of Ovechkin, all are expected to start the season in Hershey.

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All agreed to entry-level deals, terms of which were not disclosed. In addition, some prospects who spent last season plying their trade with the Portland Pirates were re-signed: Jared Aulin, Jakub Cutta, Steve Eminger and Shaone Morrisonn.

Dave Steckel, a product of Ohio State and a first round draft choice of the L.A. Kings in 2001, was signed to a two-year pact. Steckel saw time last season with two Kings affiliates, the Manchester Monarchs (AHL) and the Reading Royals (ECHL).

2005 National Junior Evaluation Camp and Summer Challenge

Two 2004 draft selections participated in the three-country tournament held in Lake Placid, N.Y., August 9th-13th between the U.S., Finland and Sweden. Bourque, who played at the 2005 WJC, was one of nine returnees on the U.S. squad. Swedish rearguard Oscar Hedman returned to the Swedish team. Hedman was solid on defense and Bourque chipped in a few assists for Team White (one of the two US teams).

Ceska Pojistovna Cup

In the first of four EHT (Euro Hockey Tour) tournaments scheduled for the 2005-06 campaign, Frölunda defenseman Johnny Oduya was named to a very young and inexperienced Swedish squad. Oduya, who participated in the Hershey Bears Prospect Camp earlier this summer, spent the past two seasons as a member of Djurgårdens. Sami Lepistö, a 2004 third round pick, was selected to play for Team Finland, while Ivan Nepryaev and Alexander Semin (suspended by the Capitals for failing to report to the Portland Pirates for the 2004-05 season) played for Team Russia.

ECHL affiliation extended

After a highly successful agreement last season, the South Carolina Stingrays renewed their affiliation agreement with the Capitals, and will once again serve as their ECHL affiliate. Last season, the Capitals sent Maxime Daigneault, Justin Eddy and Jonas Johansson to the team. The Stingrays are coached by Jason Fitzsimmons.


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