The #CapsDevCamp skate test
Jakub Vrana was selected 13th overall by the Washington Capitals in the 2014 NHL Draft. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound left wing split the 2013-14 season between the senior team and junior club of the Swedish Hockey League.
Vrana, a native of Prague, Czech Republic, notched two goals and three assists in 24 games at the senior level and he added an additional 25 points (14g, 11a) in 24 games with the junior team.
After the Caps drafted the 18-year-old, Vrana travelled to Arlington where he stayed for the duration of #CapsDevCamp.
Now that you’ve had some time to reflect on your draft experience, what was the most exciting part for you?
To see the people here and the fans and the teammates and to meet the coaches. It was really nice to have my parents there, I’m happy that I could show them America. They have never been here, so that was really nice for them.
Was this your first time in America?
It is my second time. I was in Michigan for some national team tournaments.
Compared to the Czech Republic, what has been the biggest surprise about America?
The biggest difference is that you have big buildings and everything here is much bigger. Other than that, it’s kind of the same, but you have a different culture.
What did you think about the July 4th fireworks display in Washington D.C.?
That was really nice. It was amazing to see, the people are so happy and proud, and the fireworks, that was really nice.
In the 2014 World Junior tournament, since you were the leading scorer, what did you take away from that tournament?
That was a pretty good experience for me. we went to the final and it was great experience that I got.
What was the biggest challenge playing for the Linkoping senior team?
I did my best. All I could. I take the positive part of that, learning and the experience so that helped me a lot.
Do you have any hobbies besides hockey?
I like to play other sports. For example, ping pong and football (soccer).
Your English is very good, how did you become so fluent?
Everybody in Sweden speaks English and on TV everything is in English with a Swedish subtext.
What Motivates you to succeed?
I think everybody get a chance to do what you love. I’m doing that. I’m trying to have fun and I think that motivates me that I get that chance.
— Deborah Francisco (@NHLgirl)
Hold on to your hats… It’s a rain delay at Nats Park.
#CapsDevCamp invitee Jimmy Schuldt is especially disappointed with the delay.
The Minnetonka, Minnesota native is a huge MLB fan. He played baseball and hockey throughout high school before choosing hockey full time at age 16. He currently plays for the Omaha Lancers of the USHL.
The 6-foot, 205-pound defenseman notched 25 points (6g, 19a) and 99 penalty minutes in 57 regular season games.
He eventually settled on hockey because it was a better fit for his athletic style, but in the meantime he is ready for the Nats to “play ball”
Andre Burakovsky is an Austrian born 6’1”, 178-pound left wing from Sweden. He was selected in the first round (23rd overall) of the 2013 NHL draft by the Washington Capitals. He spent the 2013-14 season with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League where he notched 87 points (41g, 46a) in 57 games with the Otters, including 15 power-play goals and 10 game-winning goals.
What was the hardest part about leaving Sweden last year to play in the OHL?
Of course it was hard to leave family and friends, and just move (to North America). It was a huge step because they are so far away from each other, so, that was really hard. And lifestyle, like how you play hockey over here, is a huge difference and that was a huge difference for me.
What is the first thing you do when you go home to Sweden?
I spend some time with my family and friends and just hang out with my friends.
What is your favorite food?
What is a favorite memory you have with your dad (former Ottawa Senator, Robert Burakovsky)?
I don’t know that I have a favorite memory, I just know that my dad has always been there for me and he has always supported me and always helped me because he got a lot of experience from hockey so he can help me a lot and that’s what he has been doing.
Is he the one that taught you how to skate?
When I was younger, he was more helping me and told me what to do and all that. Now, he is just telling me if I played good and what I can do better when I play a game. When I was a kid it was more like, “you have to do it like that and that,” and all that stuff. He was hard on me when I was a kid because he knew what it takes to be an NHLer.
What is your greatest hockey memory?
It was when I got drafted last year and when I was playing in the Verizon Center for preseason last year. That’s probably one of the biggest memories that I have. World Juniors were pretty cool too.
At most of the practices this week, you’re usually one of the last players off the ice, why is that?
I just love to be out there and I love to play and I’m trying to get better every day. I’m trying to focus on small stuff like shooting, and skating around with the puck and making some moves. I’m just trying to focus when I’m not really practicing with the team I’m just trying to do myself better every day to do small stuff.
— Deborah Francisco, @NHLgirl
CSN’s Brian Mitchell sits down with young Capitals Andre Burakovsky and Nathan Walker as Capitals Development Camp opens.
#CapsDevCamp Profile: Shane Gersich
Shane Gersich was drafted by the Capitals in the 5th round (134th overall) at the 2014 NHL Draft. The Chaska, Minnesota native plays left wing and recorded 16 points (8g, 8a) and four penalty minutes in 26 games with the U.S. National Under-18 Team of the USHL in 2013-14. Shane is committed to play at the University of North Dakota in 2015-16.
What was the highlight of the 2014 Draft?
Hearing your name called is the most exciting part. You wait there for a little bit but it’s definitely worth it, especially sharing it with my parents. I had my mom and my dad out too so it was great.
Where you surprised to be selected by the Caps?
I talked with them at the combine but you never know who is going to call your name. To hear it by the Caps, it was definitely an honor.
Who is your hero?
I like watching Zach Parise play. Ever since he came to Minnesota I watched him a lot more, and he also went to University of North Dakota too, that’s kind of a coincidence, but it’s cool.
What is the best advice you’ve received?
Enjoy going to the rink everyday. Work hard. Your work ethic can take you a long ways but just enjoy hockey. It’s a fun sport and work hard every day.
Who was your most influential coach?
My old high school coach, Noel Rahn, he coached me AAA growing up and then he went to a high school, and I went to the high school that he coached at, so for sure him. He’s helped me all along the way.
What’s your favorite off-ice activity?
I like to stay pretty active — golf is my favorite thing to do off the ice.
What is the best golf score you’ve earned?
I shoot in the 70s quite a bit.
Why did you choose the University of North Dakota?
I have a lot of family blood lines with Minnesota but it was pretty much up to me, just going there and touring it, it’s obviously second-to-none facilities and the coaches are so professional. To make it to the next level you have to keep learning and their coaches are second-to-none at teaching that.
— Deborah Francisco
#Caps third-round draft pick Nathan Walker made the journey from Australia to Washington and is at Kettler Capitals Iceplex to practice and for #CapsDevCamp. Hear from Walker about his journey to becoming the first Australian to ever be drafted into the NHL right now on the Monumental Network: http://www.monumentalnetwork.com/videos/rinkside-update-nathan-walker-7-2-14
NEWS: The #Caps have signed Matt Niskanen to a seven-year contract: http://capitalstoday.monumentalnetwork.com/2014/07/01/capitals-sign-matt-niskanen
NEWS: #Caps re-sign center Michael Latta. http://capitalstoday.monumentalnetwork.com/2014/07/01/capitals-re-sign-michael-latta
NEWS: #Caps sign two-time Olympic defenseman Brooks Orpik to a five-year contract. http://capitalstoday.monumentalnetwork.com/2014/07/01/capitals-sign-brooks-orpik
More from Mike Vogel: http://dumpnchase.monumentalnetwork.com/2014/07/01/caps-ink-orpik