Sergei Bobrovsky (Photo by Ben Rothenberg/Broad Street Hockey).
ARLINGTON, Virginia -- Washington's Cody Eakin scored with just over a minute left in the third period to secure a 4-3 victory for the Washington Capitals' rookies over the Philadelphia Flyers' rookies at the Caps' practice facility, the Kettler IcePlex in Arlington, Virginia.
But this game (which the home team has won each annual edition of) is not really about the final score so much as it is about the standouts and notable performances, so that is what we'll discuss here.
- The two Flyer prospects generating the most buzz before the game were F Mike Testwuide and G Sergei Bobrovsky, with Testwuide delivering what should be considered the more impressive performance. Testwuide not only looked good himself, but also made his linemates look good. The biggest beneficiary of this was fellow collegian Ben Holmstrom, who was set up for several open rushes by accurate Testwuide passing, including one play that gave the Flyers a shorthanded tally in the second frame. Testwuide wasn't nearly as dominant as James van Riemsdyk was in last year's rookie game, but Testwuide also wasn't the #2 overall pick, so comparable dominance wasn't expected. Will he make the team straight out of camp? I would say no, especially with the arrival of Bill Guerin into the mix.
Sergei Bobrovsky has a lot of raw talent and skill, to be sure. He's incredibly quick on his skates, and is an incredibly explosive mover. But there's a lot of things that need to be improved before he can be considered NHL ready. He had a tough time in any sort of traffic or net-crashing situation, and generally seemed to play far too deep in his crease when the action was close in. Some bolder positioning would do him a world of good--it seems like the rest of the pieces are there. Dmitry Chesnokov (who holds the Russophone key to Bobrovsky) has a story on the young netminder in the pipeline for CSNPhilly.com, so keep an eye out for that.
Bobrovsky was relieved for the third period by BSH-interviewed Adam Morrison, who did fairly well despite playing in some of the ugliest gray pads I have ever seen. Really, those things were hideous. But he played pretty well despite them, and definitely looks to have the makings of an extremely competent AHLer.
Marc-Andre Bourdon also impressed. He wore the "C" for the Flyer rookie side, and really seemed to rise to that role admirably, leading by example on the ice and with some fairly audible rousing on the bench. He fired a nice wrister from the top of the circle to tie the game late in the third, which is definitely not a bad thing for a leader to do. I'm not sure he has the raw talent to become a leader on the NHL level, but he'll definitely be a huge asset for any team at a lower level in the near future.
- Not entirely surprising given the slapdash nature of the event, this Flyers team did not impress in the way of discipline. They took at least three times as many penalties as the Caps did, and could have easily been called for many more with some dirty stuff away from the puck. I guess that's how they think one impresses Flyers' brass. I don't like it, but I'm not sure they're wrong.
- I was impressed with how many of the Caps showed up to watch this JV game. I was less impressed with Alex Ovechkin's yellow Crocs.
- Peter Laviolette and Craig Berube were both in attendance, both wearing gray Eagles windbreakers. I did not see Paul Holmgren there, but I assume if Laviolette and Berube made the trip that Holmgren would have as well. (Update by Travis: Homer did indeed make the trip.)
- Travis correctly predicted that Trevor Bruess and Zac Rinaldo would throw down, which could be seen a long way coming for a long time. I was able to capture most of their brief scrap below:
That's all I have for now. If you have any other questions about a particular prospect, fire away in the comments and I'll do my best to answer.