Washington prospects head to summer camp

By Jeff Charlesworth
Even though it’s the middle of summer, Washington’s prospects have already started the new season. From July 17th to 28th, the Caps held a summer mini-camp to help their young players get ready for training camp. Nineteen top prospects gathered at Piney Orchard Ice Rink in Odenton, Maryland to practice under the guidance of the NHL coaching staff.

More important than impressing the management, was the chance to learn several new techniques and skills. Nutritional counselling, boxing and jujitsu were on the schedule for the two week camp. It was all about making the players into more complete athletes and getting them better prepared for the long season. The boxing and jujitsu were not introduced to teach fighting skills, but to improve conditioning, balance and on-ice awareness.

Last year’s camp was the launching pad for Jeff Halpern’s sensational rookie season, and this time around it was Alexei Tezikov and Kris Beech who are looking to get a head start. A sprained ankle kept Beech out of the first week of camp, which consisted of daily workouts with Strength and Conditioning Coach Frank Costello. However, once the skating portion started, Beech was ready to go. Halpern himself opted to take part in the camp as well – as he couldn’t wait to begin the season.

In addition to Beech and Tezikov, camp participants included: Forwards Krys Barch, Kyle Clark, Chris Corrinet, Mark Murphy, Matt Pettinger, Jason Shmyr and Brian Sutherby, Defensemen Gerad Adams, Mike Farrell, Nathan Forster, David Johansson, Ross Lupaschuk, Stephen Peat, Mike Siklenka, Ryan VanBuskirk and Nolan Yonkman as well as Goaltender Rastislav Stana. The camp was meant to get new players better acquainted with professional practices, and only five of the nineteen played pro full-time last season.

Later this week Barch, Farrell, Peat and Yonkman will meet up with Glen Metropolit and J.F. Fortin in Finland as they practice with Elite League team IFK Helsinki. They will be there from August 5th to 13th to skate under the watchful eyes of Portland Pirates’ coach Glen Hanlon and Capitals’ Director of Hockey Operations Shawn Simpson. Defenseman Steve Shirreffs is currently skating with Finnish team Oulun Karpat, and is expected to play the 2000-01 season with them.

Prospects that are not taking part in Caps-run camps are: Defenseman Jakub Cutta, Forwards Michal Sivek, Charlie Stephens, Roman Tvrdon and Erik Wendell, as well as Goaltenders Sebastien Charpentier and Curtis Cruickshank. Sivek and Cutta are spending their summer at a tryout camp for the Czech WJC team, while Tvrdon is at home in Slovakia. Wendell – like other college players – have to pay their own way to camps due to NCAA rules, and chose not to make the trip. Stephens is still strengthening the ACL that he tore last winter, but will be ready for training camp. Also not attending were new acquisitions Todd Rohloff and Remi Royer.