Washington Capitals Coach Barry Trotz tried to get every member of his roster into a game through the first five games of the season. Yet he was more patient in considering defenseman Taylor Chorney.
Chorney isn’t a new addition, having played 55 games with Washington last year, and it’s possible it didn’t seem right to upset the blue-line’s chemistry when the unit had allowed just four even-strength goals through five games.
But as the Capitals embark on their first extended road trip of the season this week, Trotz said Chorney is likely to make his season debut sometime in the next four games after being a healthy scratch in every contest to this point.
“We talked as a coaching staff that we’d like to get him in this trip somewhere for sure,” Trotz said. “I think it’s important. Taylor’s a real good pro and has been in this role a little bit and been with us, but at some point in this road trip, I think you’re going to see Taylor Chorney.”
Trotz was anxious to rotate depth forwards Zach Sanford and Brett Connolly into the lineup early in the year because with both being new to the Capitals, he wanted them to find familiarity. He didn’t have such reservations about Chorney, who acquitted himself well when stepping in for an injured defense last season. Chorney agreed that he’s more than comfortable with the Capitals in his second season with them, but he’s still understandably excited to crack the lineup soon.
“No matter what, you want to play. I think that goes without saying,” Chorney said. “We’re all competitors who want to get out there and play. At the same time, I’m pretty confident in the way I played last season. I got to play in some big situations, and I think I held my own. I’m sure they know that, and I think they probably trust that when the time does come, I’ll be able to do my job.”
Chorney scored one goal with five assists last season, and he was plus-eight, averaging 13:11 per game. When Washington’s third pair was plagued with inconsistent play in the postseason, he was called on, appearing in seven games as a reliable option. As a scratch this season, he’s watched games with the video coaches, enjoying the different angles and abundant replays. He said it’s helped him to see what plays the staff is marking for review later, whether it be a zone entry or line rush to defend, so he knows what Washington’s coaches are looking for, good or bad.
It’s unclear which game on the Capitals’ four-game trip Chorney will make his season debut in, or who he’ll spell in the lineup, though it’ll likely be either Nate Schmidt or Brooks Orpik on the third pairing.
“The one thing that can be tough is that the schedule is so condensed, so practice time is kind of at a premium,” Chorney said. “So for a guy like me, not playing all of the time, your practices are essentially your games. You’ve got to be able to go out there and treat it kind of like a game because you know that when the time comes there’s nothing worse than not being ready, and you only really have yourself to blame for that. So for me, I just have to make sure that, you know, I don’t know when it’ll be, but I’ve got to make sure that when that time comes, I’ll be ready to go.”