A decent bit of news from Caps rookie development camp on Wednesday, Team Red and Team White played to a 4-4 tie in an entertaining intrasquad scrimmage. Russian Evgeny Kuznetsov scored two goals and had an assist as he continues to make a good first impression in his North American debut. The 18-year-old did tweak his ankle late in the scrimmage, but said he’ll be fine to practice again tomorrow.

That’s not the case for defenseman Zach Miskovic, who landed awkwardly against the boards in the third period and is out for the remainder of camp with a knee injury. It certainly didn’t look good at the time for the 25-year-old, who is slated to see playing time at Hershey this season. He was helped off the ice by head trainer Greg Smith and some teammates. But while Miskovic left Kettler Iceplex wearing a neoprene brace on his left knee and carrying a bag of ice he also was smiling and cracking jokes so the injury doesn't appear that serious.       

Other news and notes: This won’t make some fans happy. But general manager George McPhee acknowledged he is done with the free-agent market for the summer. Not sure if that also includes someone like Eric Belanger, who played for the team at the end of last year and is currently entertaining other offers. More than likely McPhee means he’s done with the market as it is currently constructed. And that still doesn’t rule out a trade of some sort, either. So stay tuned there.

As for Kuznetsov, he redirected one shot, roofed another and had a nice feed on a goal by Sean Wiles. All in a day’s work for the team’s first-round draft pick last month. Few players came to camp from as far away as Kuznetsov – he played last season in the KHL for Chelyabinsk Traktor - and yet no one else appears as comfortable here, either. He even celebrated his first goal with a fist pump, bringing a smile to coach Bruce Boudreau’s face.

“It just so happens I’m the kind of person I don’t have any complexes when I’m around other people,” Kuznetsov said – with a much-appreciated translation from Dmitry Chesnokov. “I just try to be who I am and it’s the same when I’m out there on the ice. I just try to play my game. That’s the way I am.”

There was a scrap in the third period between defensemen Joe Finely and Anthony Pisano. Not much of one, mind you. More like two big guys grappling. Finley came out on top.

“We don’t condone it. I said before [the scrimmage] that I don’t want guys going out there saying ‘Let’s go.’ This is not 1980, where rookie camps and development camps would have 20 fights in two periods,” Boudreau said. “But I also said ‘If something happens and you guys are competing we’ll get it and break it up and let bygones be bygones.’ There’s some guys – let’s be honest, they’re not going to impress anybody by stickhandling and scoring goals. They have to be physical.”

Meanwhile, center Marcus Johansson, the team’s first-round pick in 2009,  didn’t necessarily stand out during the scrimmage. A bad sign for a player expected to fight for a roster spot at training camp? Not really. If you remember, Nick Backstrom didn’t look all that great at his rookie camp, either. Within a few months he was the team’s No. 1 center. Johansson didn’t produce a point in Wednesday’s game. Boudreau said he talked with Johansson afterwards about the smaller rink size in North America compared to Europe and how to deal with that change. 

“It’s a big adjustment for some guys,” McPhee said. "It's an orientation for them to get used to the North American game. He'll come along."

Earlier Wednesday afternoon, McPhee announced the signing of forward Brian Willsie to a one-year contract. The 32-year-old will almost certainly play at AHL Hershey. He has appeared in 380 NHL games in his career, including two seasons with the Caps. Willsie actually served as Alex Ovechkin’s first roommate in 2005-06, helping the then-19-year-old to learn English. Willsie actually scored 19 goals for the Caps that season and had 22 assists. He has split the last four years between the Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings organizations.

The scrimmage ended up tied thanks to a sweet goal by forward Eric Alexander, a Ferris State product who actually scored on his own college teammate, Taylor Nelson. Both players are non-roster invitees. Alexander jumped into the play, made an inside-out-move on a defenseman to drive the net all alone and then flipped the puck past Nelson with about 1:40 left and his White team down 4-3. It's all about impressions at this kind of camp. That was a pretty good one.

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