It seems like it’s been forever since I’ve been to Kettler for a practice. Actually, it’s been since the fall, so I was a happy girl this morning when I drove up that spiral ramp to the top of Ballston Mall. Imagine my surprise when I arrived to find Dmitri Orlov on the ice with our boys. (I must say I seem to have some kind of sixth sense for going to watch practices. As infrequently as I go, I just happened to be there for Chris Clark’s last day, and I was also there the day the investigators were there when that doctor debacle hit the proverbial fan. Anybody want advice for stocks or lottery numbers?)
After the win in Pittsburgh and a day off, the guys seemed to be in great spirits. I don’t think I’ve seen so many smiles, playful joshing, and all around fun at a practice in a very long time. Yeah, they worked hard, as always; but the energy was high and it was a fun practice to watch. Ovi and Sasha both seemed to enjoy having Dima out there with them and I noticed several times where both of them seemed to be either giving him advice or interpreting for him. Nicky seemed no worse for having a broken thumb and Hendy had the biggest grin of all of them.
The coaches worked the boys hard and Dima got a good taste of the NHL, albeit in friendly surroundings. Hershey should be very happy when Dmitri gets on the ice at Giant Center; he’s looking pretty good. But, when he gets a chance to practice with the Caps again, he needs to learn how to play and win at Juice Boy. That was probably not what he was expecting after his first NHL practice with the team he hopes to join as soon as he can. Welcome to DC, Dmitri!
Here’s a few shots of today’s practice. More can be found here.