With two days of practice before they departed for Edmonton Tuesday afternoon, the Capitals sought to slowly acclimate themselves to the time difference they will be playing with this week against the Oilers (Mountain time) and in Vancouver (Pacific time). That’s why the team pushed its practices to 11 a.m.
Washington has tried the same in the past, such as preparing for games at noon or games with special circumstances, like the Winter Classic.
“We don’t know if it works or has any effect or whatever, but we’re going to see,” Coach Bruce Boudreau explained. “Body rhythms, body clocks and everything else — it’s been known that it works. If we can get it ready, it’s not like we’re playing Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday, so you have an opportunity to do something like this with later practices.”
The Capitals are also leaving a day earlier than they do for most trips and arrived Tuesday night for a game that won’t be played until Thursday. In addition to giving players another day to adjust to the two-hour time difference in Edmonton, Boudreau and the coaching staff will get to watch the Oilers faceoff against the Canucks at Rexall Place this evening.
While he likes to get the first-hand look at opponents, Boudreau admitted he’s not sure it provides any real advantage.
“Sometimes we’ve won, sometimes we’ve lost. I don’t know if it’s an advantage or a disadvantage,” Boudreau said. “You always think it’s great to watch a team play but it’s what happens when you play on the ice with them. They’ll have a day off before, so we’ll see.”