This season's Washington Capitals saw their first action Tuesday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in a scrimmage against their ECHL affiliate, the Reading Royals. As one would expect, the game was lopsided as the Caps skated away with an 8-0 victory. Jay Beagle scored twice and Alex Ovechkin, John Carlson, Matt Hendricks, Marcus Johansson, Nicklas Backstrom and Wojtek Wolski provided the rest.
The story of the game was a first-period collision involving Ovechkin and Johansson. The two ran into each other in the neutral zone and both men were down on the ice for about a minute as the capacity crowd fell silent. Johansson made it to his feet first and returned to the bench, while Ovechkin followed shortly after. Ovechkin, however, retreated to the dressing room for about 10 minutes before returning to the game near the end of the first period. Within the first minute of the second period, Ovechkin rifled a shot past Braden Holtby, assuaging any fears.
"My mouth was bleeding so I had to go to [head athletic trainer Greg Smith's] room and check it out if I lose more tooth or not," Ovechkin said, sporting a large cut on his chin.
"It was nothing special," Johansson added. "It happens, unfortunately. It's something to laugh about now, I guess."
Ovechkin blamed the incident on adjusting to his new position on the right wing; he has spent his seven-year career playing on the left side.
"Just situation when I was on the right side and you know it’s kind of something new for me, crossing [at] different angle so I don’t know whose fault it is but I don’t feel pretty good after that," he said. "There was not lots of physical game out there. We just get used to the system and try to play best that we can.”
As for the rest for the scrimmage, the forward combinations were the same as they have been since training camp opened Sunday. Ovechkin and Johansson flanked Backstrom on the first line, while Wolski, Mike Ribeiro and Troy Brouwer comprised the second line. A combination of Jason Chimera, Beagle, Joel Ward and 2012 first-round draft pick Tom Wilson made up the third line, and Hendricks, Mathieu Perreault, Joey Crabb and Eric Fehr functioned as the fourth line. In Ovechkin's short absence, Fehr filled in on the top line.
On the defensive end, Mike Green did not participate in the scrimmage. According to head coach Adam Oates, Green was under the weather, but would not have played even if he was feeling well. In his place, Jack Hillen skated with Roman Hamrlik on the Caps' second defensive pairing for the first two periods.
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