ARLINGTON, VA —When Ivan Miroshnichenko makes his second appearance on NHL ice, he’ll once again do so opposite Alex Ovechkin. The pair first joined forces on the top line with Nicklas Backstrom last week against the Detroit Red Wings. Miroshnichenko impressed in his NHL preseason debut, notching two assists and earning second star of the game.
Head coach Spencer Carbery confirmed that he would reunite Ovechkin and Miroshnichenko against the Columbus Blue Jackets, this time with centerman Hendrix Lapierre.
As Miroshnichenko begins his transition to North American hockey, Ovechkin has taken the the 19-year old forward under his wing and has often served as a translator both on and off the ice. Carbery highlighted the benefits of Ovechkin’s mentorship last week.
“[Miroshnichenko is] just constantly getting little tidbits of information and help,” he said. “Whether he’s helping him understand or hear things that coaches are reiterating or stuff he’s seeing on the ice, I can only imagine that it’s helped him tremendously and feel more comfortable not only playing tonight but just through Training Camp.”
Ovechkin even translated Miroshnichenko’s postgame interview after his debut and remarked how Miroshnichenko had grown up watching his career.
“I was drafted (by the Capitals) when he was one,” Ovechkin said. “Jesus, I’m old.”
Head coach Spencer Carbery has tried several players between Ovechkin and Miroshnichenko at practices during Training Camp, most recently Connor McMichael. Though McMichael will play center on Thursday for the first time this preseason, he’ll do so lower in the lineup. Instead, Lapierre is set to make his third preseason appearance.
After two exhibition games in a smaller role, Carbery was eager to see how Lapierre performs on the team’s first line.
“I want to see Hendrix,” Carbery said Thursday. “Want to showcase him. Want to see (him) playing in a real prominent role. Want to get a look at what that looks like, how he responds, what his game looks like in that role.”
After a six-game stint in Washington in 2021-22, Lapierre spent all of last season with the Hershey Bears. He proved vital in the team’s Calder Cup run, scoring the game-tying goal in Game Seven against the Coachella Valley Firebirds.
With just over a week before Opening Night, Carbery will send a prospect-heavy lineup to Columbus as he takes one more look at the Caps’ young players.
“Tonight I would say the objective is some young players to get some final opportunity to showcase number one, their skill set, but two, their ability to integrate things that we’ve talked about over the last couple weeks Their competitiveness, all of that, another crack in the National Hockey League to play an exhibition game to put that on display to coaching staff, to management, to themselves,” Carbery said. “And then our Saturday game will look very close to our opening lineup.”
Carbery will have plenty of opportunities to evaluate both Lapierre and Miroshnichenko Thursday night. The Caps will then have one final game at home on Saturday before locking in their Opening Night roster Monday.
Headline image: Katie Adler/RMNB
RMNB is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.