Based on the NHL’s current schedule arrangement, teams may only play in a non-conference foe’s home arena once every two years. For the Capitals, trips to western Canada are usually the most infrequent ones. The last time they were in Edmonton was Dec. 19, 2009, and the most recent visit to Vancouver was on Dec. 18 that same year.
Those scarce trips are why there seems to be a bit more excitement to Washington road games out here, something I experienced firsthand in Calgary last season. There’s the increase in media members and hordes of kids in red jerseys that rarely get a chance to see their heroes.
Alex Ovechkin told reporters about the team going out for dinner after arriving in Edmonton Tuesday and being recognized by those working in the restaurant. And Coach Bruce Boudreau admittedly dated himself a bit by describing the atmosphere around the Capitals when they make not-so-frequent visits to certain Canadian cities.
“It’s every two years since I’ve been here; they don’t get the chance to see Alex too much, so it’s usually the buzz,” Boudreau said. “When we were in Vancouver [in 2009] — I’m old — but it was just like the Beatles hit North America. It was crazy. It’s pretty fun just being in your home country and seeing how much they love hockey and how much they go for it.”