As he worked through drills Thursday morning Karl Alzner embraced the familiarity. He knew where he was supposed to be and what was expected of him. It’s a new phenomenon for the Washington Capitals who for the first time in four seasons will play the same brand of hockey in successive campaigns. There’s consistency in the coaching staff most of the roster and how it all fits together. “What a luxury that is. It feels great just to go out there and I remember everything that I’m supposed to do so that’s kind of nice” Alzner said after the first training camp practice in Arlington. “It makes for easier meetings and guys are a little more relaxed. Easier to go out there and just play the game get in shape.” With so many members of last year’s squad returning only a few new faces will start from scratch learning Coach Adam Oates’s system. Players hope their overall awareness and understanding of how they will function as a group in Oates’s second season help them get off to a running start. After opening the lockout-shortened season with a 2-8-1 stretch beforeclimbing out of the league basement to reach the postseason the Capitals want to have the opposite showing out of the gate this time around. Being ahead of the curve with team chemistry and how to execute the game plan can’t hurt. “There’s not too many new faces besides [free agent acquisition Mikhail] Grabovski when he gets here” Mike Green said. “It’s just important for us to jell quickly and get off to a good start this season and keep that tempo all year.” Thanks to the lockout this is Oates’s first chance to run a full training camp and work through a preseason schedule.
Capitals hope to thrive on the familiar in Coach Adam Oates’s second season
Washington Post | Sep 13