The Capitals were scheduled to practice Friday afternoon at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, but after arriving in Toronto late following a 4-1 loss to Winnipeg Coach Bruce Boudreau decided a day away from the ice might do them more good.
“I think they’ve been on the ice a lot and with the travel and all that sometimes, just getting away with total rest – it’s not a question of you’re in Toronto and there’s a lot to do. I just want them to take the time off and rest,” Boudreau said. “With games Saturday, Monday, Wednesday it just seems never ending.
“There’s not a chance sometimes [to rest] – with us getting in at 3:30 [a.m.],” Boudreau continued, “I didn’t think a practice would really accomplish a lot. Sometimes not being on the ice, last week we skated them really hard this week you try a different tactic.”
Washington held team meetings at the arena before opening up to media availability. Players talked about a desire to be tougher to play against, avoiding the mental lapses that have led to the implosion of recent games and so on.
The general mood of the players suggested that they weren’t surprised at the lack of a practice on Friday but many seemed to think it was a good decision to rest up in preparation for Saturday’s tilt against the Maple Leafs.
“I think some of the guys are feeling tired, some guys are a little under the weather,” Karl Alzner said. “Mentally it’s good more than anything. Getting back on the ice and being around hockey for another day would just be a little more draining. So now just forgetting about it all, we talked amongst ourselves it’s just good now to mull it over and come back tomorrow, new day.”
Said Troy Brouwer: “Sometimes you need to take what you learned from the last game have a mental rest, physical rest and just come out and we’re going to have a good hard pregame skate tomorrow morning. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a little bit longer than normal just to make sure guys are going, guys are into it and we can have a good refreshed look on tomorrow’s game.”