Monday, September 19, 2011

Miskovic ready to take on new role

photo by Caps in Pictures
At this time last summer, Zach Miskovic wasn't having such a great training camp in Washington. In fact, he wasn't having one at all. In last year's July development camp, Miskovic sustained a hit by the massive Joe Finley during an intersquad scrimmage, and Miskovic injured his left knee.

The injury didn't require surgery, but it meant that Miskovic didn't even set foot on the ice again until he'd already been sent down to Hershey's training camp in late September 2010. He played in 58 games with the Bears last season (missing some time due to a different, unrelated injury mid-season).

After a healthy summer this year and a new one-year contract to extend him through the 2011-2012 season, Miskovic has renewed focus. Finally getting in a normal off-season training routine during the summer was "really exciting" for Miskovic. He says he feels good and is ready for the season, and is looking forward to see how Hershey's recent changes pan out.

Thinking of new players on the Bears roster like Christian Hanson, Ryan Potulny, and Jacob Micflikier, Miskovic said, "I think the team's looking great. Obviously Washington and Hershey want to put together the best team there that they can and I think they brought in a lot of skilled players that can bring a lot to the table. I'm looking forward to start."

Last year, Miskovic had said that his sophomore season greatly benefited from having defensive veterans like Brian Fahey, Sheldon Souray, and Lawrence Nycholat as mentors. Now with those players leaving Hershey, Miskovic, 26, has to become somewhat of a veteran himself.

"I've talked with [Hershey head coach] Mark French and [assistant coach] Troy Mann about [taking a mentorship role] and they expect me to step in and be more of a leader on the back end and help some of the younger guys that are coming up, since I know the system. I think I can be that," Miskovic said. "I'm excited for that potential role and we'll see how it plays out. We've got a lot of good defensemen that have come in and I'll work hard to be in that [leadership] position."

In particular, Miskovic may serve as a mentor to Dmitri Orlov, with whom Miskovic was paired during Sunday's drills. It's a pairing that has the potential to be a real game situation for the Bears. Already Miskovic has chemistry with the Russian rookie, despite the obvious language barrier. 

"It's fun to play with him," Miskovic laughed. "Obviously communication's a little difficult at times, but he knows how to play the game. It's just reading off one another and see what happens."

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