Capitals’ Joe Snively ready to move past ‘cool story,’ establish himself in NHL
Caps’ Snively ready to move past ‘cool story,’ establish himself originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
ARLINGTON, Va. — Through the Capitals’ first two preseason games, no skater has seen more time on the ice than forward Joe Snively.
The 26-year-old is one of only three Capitals players that have suited up for both of their exhibition contests and he’s taken advantage, scoring a goal Sunday against the Buffalo Sabres and firing off two shots in Wednesday’s win over the Flyers. He led all Capitals forwards with 19:35 of ice time in Philadelphia and his line’s play that night stood out to head coach Peter Laviolette.
“I thought his line was good,” Laviolette said at training camp Thursday. “I thought all three of them were excellent. They brought speed and tenacity, they possessed the puck, they made good decisions, they punted the puck in the offensive zone, they turned things over, they stayed there and so I thought they were very good. Joe was good.”
Snively, who played on the top line alongside offseason additions Dylan Strome and Connor Brown as they stole the show, is hoping to crack the Capitals’ 23-man roster when they break camp ahead of their season opener on Oct. 12. He signed a two-year extension with the team in March on the heels of his first NHL stint; Snively scored four goals with three assists in 12 games before a wrist injury sidelined him for a few weeks.
He returned before season’s end and finished the year in the AHL, setting new career highs in goals (15) and assists (23). Though just reaching the NHL was a success story for the Herndon, Virginia, native who played for the Little Caps in middle school, Snively feels ready to turn the page and establish himself at the highest level.
“I want to be judged on my abilities as a hockey player,” Snively said. “I think that’s a really cool story that I’m from the area but in the end, right now, I’m just battling to be in the NHL.
“Coming when I did with the Caps, getting a few goals and some ice time under my belt, was huge for my confidence. You never know, when you’re in the AHL, if you can make it in the NHL, but it’s nice when you can get there and you have an impact and it’s huge for my confidence.”
Of course, it’s impossible for Snively to completely ignore his local roots. After all, he’s playing for the team he idolized his entire childhood and many of his friends and family members still live in the area.
But with a deal in hand and the team giving him ample opportunities to prove himself this preseason — Snively is listed on the roster for Friday’s preseason tilt against the Red Wings as well — he’s looking to build a new reputation as a contributor for the Capitals.
“Being a solid-two way forward who’s responsible within the system,” Snively said of what he’s trying to show his coaches. “The NHL game and especially the Caps’ system, it’s very disciplined and structured. So, I think proving that I understand the systems, I can execute the systems and then also just providing some offense. Creating offense, providing energy, using my skating to attack and pressure the other team.”
Source: Yahoo Sports