Spencer Carbery joined the Junkies shortly after he was named Capitals head coach this summer, and he was the first Capital to join the guys on Day 1 of camp at the MedStar Capitals Iceplex in Arlington!
And the first thing the guys noticed is that the 41-year-old Carbery is still in better shape than they are!
“I run, and I always have, and it’s less about the physical activity and more about it being my mental time,” Carbery said. “I usually try to do it for an hour in the morning, because otherwise I won’t get it done. If I have time and it’s light I’ll go outside, but it can get dicey in some places if it’s dark and you don’t know the route.”
He’s found some good routes to run in DC already, and as he’s staying in shape, training camp will hopefully get the Caps in shape for a return to the playoffs next spring – and Coach Carbs has been watching Hard Knocks to see how the Jets ran training camp this year.
And maybe, he found some things there he can use on the days where his first gig as an NHL head coach isn’t going so well.
“There’s going to be some dark days, but that’s part of coaching, so you just have to re-set it and refocus and try to get better the next day,” Carbery said. “I’ve worked at that a lot because I am extremely competitive, and I’ve learned over time that if you let things wear on you, it can spread, so I’m very conscious of talking to our staff about it. Our energy, every day, they feed off of how we do things, so it’s important that we are setting the tone for the environment, and we need to be cognizant of it every day.”
He’s done that sort of thing as an assistant, and he’s had some superstars in Toronto – and he thinks veterans like Ovi, who is only a few years younger than him, will see his coaching the same way.
“What you might think is interesting is those guys want coaching; they’re not like they have it all figured out, they want coaching, and what to know what you see,” Carbery said. “It’s no different for these guys, who are extremely talented and have accomplished so much, but they’re also looking for little edges that can help them score goals and win games.
And, the accountability component will come in, and the criticizing and the praising will both come into play at times.”
Coach Carbs sees himself as good at seeing things on the fly, and good at bringing a balance between being demanding and pushing players out of their comfort zones yet being supportive, ‘and they will know that at the end of the day, I want to help them and see us win.’
And it all began in earnest on Thursday as the Capitals begin what Coach Carbs says is the most difficult week of the year in the NHL.
“It’s the most difficult time of the year – if you ask any coach in the league, this first four or five days is the most difficult from a time standpoint,” Carbery said. “Days are long with three separate practices, and there’s a ton of prep. You’re trying to evaluate players and your systems and structures, so it’s a lot before we get down to some manageable numbers and get some games rolling.”
Take a listen to Carbery’s entire segment with the Junkies, which included a couple young names to watch, above!