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Caps Clinic provides players with different perspective

This past weekend, the participants who won the auction for the Caps Clinic were taught basic skills by Washington Capitals Assistant Coach Jim Johnson, and players Mathieu Perreault, Marcus Johansson, Dennis Wideman and Michal Neuvirth.

Perreault, who said he always seems to get signed up for these things, had a lot of fun and enjoyed joking around with the participants.

“It was fun. I always come to these things; they always ask me to do that and I always enjoy it,” he said. “I always have being out on the ice with people and show them a few things, chat around, so it was fun.”

What made the clinic unique was that there were players that were at different levels of skill. Not all of them had played hockey before.

“We had beginners out there, and it was fun,” Johnson said. “It was great to see our players get involved and help out in something like that with these guys that have aspirations of playing.”

But for the players, who aren’t used to being the coaches, this was something new that some, admittedly, had some trouble with.

“It’s like to coach skills and stuff like that is something that I’ve never done, so it’s not like running a practice and coming up with some drills, it’s basic skill stuff so it can be a little more difficult,” Wideman said.

According to Johnson, not only was this event good for those who participated, but for the Capitals players as well.

“It’s different, but it’s the same basic skills and working on the same fundamentals. That’s what’s so great about it and that’s what’s so fun about having the players involved,” he said. “I always say that when the players get involved in stuff like this, they become better players because of their attention to detail. But this was more of a fun thing for them to get involved with a group that donated to our charities from the Casino Auction Night.”

Wideman hoped that the participants got something out of it, but also noted that it did take years of experience to perfect the skills that were taught.

“We tried to teach them a few things here and there, but a lot of the stuff takes years of practice, but I think hopefully they took something out of it,” he said.

However, Perreault was much more confident that participants definitely learned and improved throughout his session.

“In mine they [improved] for sure,” he said. “They were working on the cycling, so they learned a few different things and I’m sure with a few of the other guys, too.”

But at the end of the day, the point was for the participants to have fun and learn at least a couple skills from the pros, who all said they had a great time and would gladly do this again if asked.

“Everyone needs to work on certain detail of the fundamentals, and that’s what we tried to pull off today and make sure that they had fun and got something out of it,” Johnson said. “That was the objective of it. You’ve got so many ranges of abilities out there, to make sure you give something to everybody and that’s what we tried to do.”

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