Some observations from the Capitals’ intrasquad scrimmage (three 25-minute periods, running clock, with shootouts in between) today at Kettler Capitals Iceplex:
Dynamic duo: Team Red linemates Andre Burakovsky (23rd overall in 2013 NHL draft) and Jakub Vrana (13th overall, 2014) were a handful for Team White defensemen, with Burakovsky using his size, strength and speed to win pucks along the walls and Vrana darting in and out of holes without getting hit. Vrana and Burakovsky also buried their chances on shootouts, as did their linemate, 25-year-old Jan Urbas, a 6-foot-3, 216-pound forward who played in Germany last season.
Burakovsky, who played left and right wing in Erie last season, played center between Vrana and Urbas.
“I don’t care where I play,” Burakovsky said. “I just want to be out there playing. I don’t care if I play D or center. I just go out there and do what I do best.”
Burakovsky said he enjoyed playing alongside Vrana for the first time.
“He’s got great speed and great hands and he can pass the puck,” he said. “We played really good together out there and made it really hard for players to defend against us.”
Eyes on Boyd: Team Red center Travis Boyd (177th overall in 2011) was all over the ice in the first period, showing off his slick puck handling skills. He set up linemate Kevin Elgestal (194th overall in 2014) with a nice pass and was stopped by Team White goalie Phoenix Copley on another chance.
Big hitter: Team Red right wing Marcus Basara (free agent from University of Alaska) was the biggest hitter of the scrimmage, nailing just about every Team White player in his path.
Son of an owner: Miles Koules, invited to development camp as a free agent, also scored in the shootout. Koules, 20, is the son of former Tampa Bay Lightning co-owner Oren Koules, who also produced seven “Saw” movies.
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G’game, mate: Nathan Walker (89th overall in 2014) showed some competitive Australian spirit, exchanging cross-checks with hulking Slovakian defenseman Michal Cajkosky, a 6-foot-4, 229-pounder from Slovakia signed as a free agent by the Hershey Bears. He also showed a nose for the net scoring a goal for Team White in the second period.
Slick skater: Team White right wing Riley Barber (167th overall in 2012) played well on a line with Walker and center Chandler Stephenson (77th overall in 2012), scoring from in close in the second period.
Grizzly awards: Team White defenseman Eliot Antonietti, a 21-year-old free agent invited to camp from Switzerland, is the Caps’ biggest prospect at development camp at 6-foot-6, 236 pounds. He also has the best beard, which he says he began growing as a bet with a friend. Not to be outdone, Team Red defenseman Ben Woodley, another free-agent invite from the Brampton Beast of the CHL, is the only Caps prospect sporting dreadlocks.
Next up: The Caps will conduct their next rookie scrimmage game on Friday at 10:30 a.m. at Kettler.