Saugus’ Mike Vecchione Comes Closer To Home To Skate For Washington Capitals Organization
Mike Vecchione turned pro in April 2017 with the Philadelphia Flyers. For the past four years, Vecchione has also played in the St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche organizations. He is now on the move again after signing with the Washington Capitals earlier this month on August 5. He will report to camp on September 22.
Vecchione is training at his home in Saugus right now, and has also been on the ice with other area hockey professionals to prepare for the season in less than two months. Despite his busy schedule, he still found time to answer the following questions for announcer Saugus and Wicked Local Saugus in the following text.
What are your plans for the coming season and explain your decision to go with the Capitals?
A few weeks ago, I signed a two-pronged contract with the Washington Capitals. This means that I will be going to NHL camp with the Capitals starting September 22 in hopes of making the team. Otherwise, I’ll be assigned to the Hershey Bears, which is a familiar place for me to have played there several times when I was with the Phantoms.
What drove me to this decision was the opportunity they offered me, as well as being back close to home. They have a solid roster and are a (perennial) playoff team. They told me that they are looking for a little more depth in the organization, and I hope to be a part of that discussion.
How was your summer preparing for it? Where have you worked and with whom?
This summer has been busy, but also back to normal at last.
I worked with other local pros in Woburn at Mike Boyle’s, and I skated three times a week in Tewksbury at the Will O’Neil Hockey Factory.
Our group is made up of guys like Ryan Scarfo, Ryan and Casey Fitzgerald, Jimmy and Nolan Vesey, Brian Pinho, Danny O’Reagan, Alex Kerfoot, Joel Hanley, Brendan Yip and Matt Felipe, and our coach is none other than the stallion Saugus Vin Talutto.
It’s a good group, because we’ve all grown up together, whether we’re rivals on the ice or teammates, but the local bond we have is much bigger than what happens on the ice. We all push each other every day in the weight room and on the ice so I couldn’t ask for a better group every summer.
Does it seem like a more normal year with the season starting in October, and how difficult has the past year been to deal with with pandemic protocols and delayed start?
This year, it looks and looks like everything will be back to normal in October. There will be supporters in the stands, and if you are vaccinated, there will be no quarantine session a week before arrival at camp or a mask warrant around the rink.
Last year has been extremely difficult for the reasons I just mentioned above, as well as all the other hurdles we had to overcome in order to travel and legitimately stay in our house, besides going grocery shopping. or just go to the ice rink.
We were basically locked out which made it difficult, but I think the late checkout was the hardest thing to get over. As athletes, we had to be ready for the playoff bubble that happened in September, just in case you were called to go, and then we had to be ready for the start of the season on January 5th. I trained and skated for nine straight months not really knowing if we were even going to play, so it was very difficult to determine when to peak and when to give the body a break.
What was the experience with the Avalanche organization?
Although it was only a five month stay with the organization, I felt like I was getting the most out of my time there.
The camp was very different, because of the COVID rules, so it was shortened and split up, but when I got to Loveland with the Eagles (Colorado) that’s when things really started. They were very detail-oriented and we took full training days, which we called “skill days,” where we split the ice into five sections and just worked on little tools to help you get there. cock on both sides of the washer.
What I liked was just the change of pace. Instead of always repeating the same exercises in practice, they took the time to focus on the little things that you tend to forget during a busy season.
I felt I came out of it as a better hockey player, thanks to the things they taught me. They also filmed every workout, and we were watching clips the next day, so there weren’t any days off or even exercises, and they wanted to focus on the guys working on the details and techniques on which we trained during these “days of competence”. It was truly a great experience and I am happy to have been there.
When you signed with the Capitals, did they say anything about their plans for you this year?
When I signed with the Capitals I got a congratulatory phone call and they were happy to have me on board. They told me that they’ve seen me a lot since I was in Lehigh, because we play the Hershey Bears 12 times a year, so they know exactly what kind of player I am and how they play. could use me at best.
You never know exactly what their plans are for you until the season begins. They might have a few ideas, but they usually don’t actually show you their hand. But I know it’s up to me to go to the camp and make my own statement. I’m the new one in the organization, so I have to make an impact, and just play my game and the rest will work out.
What are your goals for this year and in what areas have you improved since last year?
My goal for this year is to be a part of the big club at some point in the season, whether at the end of training camp or as a booster at some point in the season. I don’t really have any other goal than that.
I’m entering my fifth year as a pro now, and I know what I’m capable of at the AHL level, but that’s not why I wanted to be a professional hockey player since I was little. I want to be in the NHL, and it’s up to me to play well enough that they have no choice but to put me in the big club.
I have improved a few different aspects of my game since those “skill days” I mentioned earlier.
On the offensive side of the puck, I really worked on the cuts, the reverse hits and the protection of the puck to create more time and space to make plays and create more offense for myself.
On the defensive end of the puck, I learned different techniques to tie up guys or at least throw them off balance, so I can create loose pucks or push pucks out of a player’s stick.
We also did a lot of different drills without sticks to help stay straight with an opposing player, so that you’re always on the defensive end and they don’t hit the net in front.
Finally, a few small tweaks and hints in the face-off circle like body positioning, drop timing, and stick positioning, which will obviously help win more face-offs, while also increasing your possession time while on the ball. throughout the game, and allows you to play more offensive rather than defensive.