Cody Eakin was watching the movie In Time, a political film in which the aging process ends at age 25, when he received the phone call he'll never forget.
The Capitals were ready to see him make his NHL debut.
"I ddn't expect the call," Eakin said before Tuesday night's game against the Anaheim Ducks. "But I'm happy I got it."
Eakin, 20, has been one of the Capitals' top forward prospects since they took him in the third round (85th overall) of the 2009 NHL draft. He failed to crack the club's roster in training camp, but went right to work in Hershey, where he recorded three goals and five assists in 10 games.
"We thought he had a chance to make the team in camp and it didn't go as well as he would have liked," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. "He's got great speed, great hands and he was an integral part of Team Canada's junior team last year. Now that he's playing pretty well in Heshey we want to take a look at him to see if he's got a little of the confidene he was lacking in training camp."
Eakin is expected to take Jeff Halpern's spot on a fourth line with Mike Knuble and Matt Hendricks.
Halpern, who has no goals and three assists and is a plus-2 in nine games, confirmed Tuesday he is a healthy scratch.
"I don't like using the word message," Boudreau said when asked if he was sending one to Halpern. "Weve got 13 forwards right now and we wanted to take a look at Cody. Thats the way it works out."
Intended or not, Boudreau has driven home the message of accountability this season and reiterated what general manager George McPhee said during training camp: that players who play well will be rewarded.
"No matter what contract status, if you're good enough to play on this team we'll make room for you," Boudreau said.
Eakin stayed on the Capitals' roster until the final cut of training camp and said he was left with the messge that the amount of time he spent in Hershey would be dictated by the way he played.
"I tried to work hard and get the systems right and I'm lucky to get the opporitnbity," Eakin said.
As for his advice for the red-headed native of Winnipeg, Boudreau offered this, "Go get 'em. ... Enjoy it, have fun and do what comes natural to you. He's going to be pumped up, there's no doubnt in my mind."