Washington Capitals Fans' Complete Guide to Surviving the Offseason
With the draft and free agent frenzy period behind us, the slowest months on the NHL calendar are officially in full swing.
For now, fans of the Washington Capitals will wait with anticipation for the 2013-14 season to get underway, in hopes that this year will be the one in which Alex Ovechkin and company vanquish their postseason demons.
But despite the lack of NHL action, there are still a number of ways fans in the Washington area can get their hockey fixes between now and when training camps open in September.
Here's a complete guide for Caps fans on what to watch for during the summer months.
The Development Camp
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Starting today, the Capitals will be holding their annual Development Camp at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va.
The camp, which will run through Saturday, will feature many of the team's top prospects, including 2013 first-rounder Andre Burakovsky, former No. 16 overall selection Tom Wilson, as well as a collection of less heralded young players.
One player to keep an eye on will be Riley Barber, a former sixth round pick who won gold with Team USA at the 2013 World Junior Championships and finished the year as the leading freshman scorer in college hockey.
Another intriguing offensive prospect to watch for is Caleb Herbert, who is coming off a pair of solid seasons at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and is among the better centers the Caps have in the pipeline.
There may not be the same number of star-caliber talents that we've seen at the last few editions of the camp, but fans in attendance will certainly be seeing a handful of guys who will be donning Capitals jerseys in the near future.
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Later this week, the Capitals will be hosting their annual FanFest at their practice rink, scheduled around the final scrimmage of the Development Camp.
In addition to watching what should be the most intense on-ice session of the camp, fans will be able to meet current Capitals defenseman Steve Oleksy, as well as all of the prospects in attendance following the game.
For those who actually lace up the skates themselves, the Capitals equipment sale is a must, as all of the team's gear left in stock from the previous year is up for grabs at great discounts.
Head to the Caps' official website for more details.
U.S. Olympic Team Camp
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Undoubtedly the most exciting hockey event of the summer will be the U.S. Olympic Team camp, which will be held in late August at the Capitals' practice rink in Arlington.
Details on how many players will be in attendance, or even how much of the camp will be open to the public, have yet to be announced, but it's conceivable that fans will be able to attend at least the in-camp scrimmages.
Given that the likes of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Quick, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter all figure to be on the ice in the D.C. area, the camp promises to be the most entertaining action available until the season begins.
There are a lot of spots on Team USA that remain up for grabs, so players will be doing everything in their power to leave an impression on David Poile and the rest of his management team.
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Technically this event is in the fall, but either way, the 2013 Capitals Convention is a unique opportunity for fans to interact with the entire squad.
This year, the convention will be held at the Washington Convention Center Sept. 21, the day after the team's first preseason game.
Every player will be available for autographs, as will a host of former Capitals greats, and with the event running all day, there will be ample opportunity to meet virtually every star in attendance.
Per the press release on the team's website, here's a quick look at some of the other main attractions of the convention.
The all-day event will feature the entire 2013-2014 Capitals team as well as Capitals alumni, who along with radio and TV personalities, coaches and team executives will participate in a variety of panel discussions that will give fans a look at behind-the-scenes operations as well as an insight into the lives of NHL players. There also will be interactive activities for adults and children, a display containing many of the NHL’s most prominent trophies, posed pictures and much more.
The event is sure to be packed, especially after last year's edition of the convention was cancelled due to uncertainty surrounding the new collective bargaining agreement, so fans will want to purchase tickets as early as possible.
Baltimore Gets NHL Hockey, Again
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Toward the end of the 2012-13 season, the Capitals announced that the team would be returning to 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore in September for an exhibition game against the Boston Bruins.
The game will mark the second edition of the Baltimore Hockey Classic and will feature two Eastern Conference heavyweights, each with a number of players who will be taking the ice with something to prove.
Though it's a preseason game, at the 2011 Classic, many of the game's best were on display, including Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green, as well as Nashville's Ryan Suter and Shea Weber.
With the amount of star-caliber talent on both of this year's teams, Caps fans located in the Baltimore area won't want to miss a convenient opportunity to see their favorite team play live.
Given that Baltimore hasn't had a professional hockey team of its own since the Bandits left town in 1997, the chances for hockey fans in the region to see high-level action up close are few and far between.