As the Washington Capitals begin to get reacquainted with familiar linemates or adjust to new ones during training camp, there's a good chance of seeing things that might not happen much in the regular season. Say, for example, captain Alex Ovechkin temporarily filling in at center during Tuesday's scrimmage at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.
Down a center because Andrew Joudrey had a doctor's appointment, Team A rotated through playing the position, with even Ovechkin, a prolific scorer on the left wing, taking a few shifts in the middle.
"I was surprised when [assistant coach Dean Evason] told me, 'You're going to play in center,' " Ovechkin said. "I was like, 'Okay.' I won one faceoff, so I was happy, but I think I didn't play well in the defensive zone . . . so that was bad."
Team A (which also featured Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Knuble and Semyon Varlamov) defeated Team C (which included Mike Green, Jason Chimera and Eric Fehr), 6-3, in the session, with Ovechkin adding the final goal of the contest with a shot straight off the faceoff.
But on an earlier goal that broke a 3-3 stalemate, Ovechkin was in another unusual situation.
After a turnover at the blueline, defenseman Dylan Yeo scooped up the puck and rather than feed it to Ovechkin, who was waiting unobstructed back door, shot it himself. Yeo's shot beat goaltender Dany Sabourin for a 4-3 Team A lead.
"Dean [was] on the bench, I heard him say that was a good decision," Knuble said. "It takes [guts] to blow off Alex when he's sitting there ready to shoot the puck."
RT @bmcnally14: Mike Knuble on Dylan Yeo ignoring wide-open Ovechkin, scoring himself: "It takes balls to blow off Alex when he's ready to shoot the puck."
Willsie and Nycholat 5 years ago helped Ovi and Green make the transition to NHL.
Willsie: "It's funny, wherever I went people asked me about Ovechkin, guys like Rob Blake..."
Ovi, Knuble, Beagle, Perreault, Sloan and Bruce speak about the intensity of the scrimmages