The month of November is a busy one for the Capitals, who know this is also the time that they can begin to pull away from the rest of the Eastern Conference. Washington enters tonight's game against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden sitting atop the conference standings with 20 points and 10 wins and four games in the next six days.
"I think it's important that this time early in the year, that you put distance between yourself and the people behind you," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Because there's going to be times that you're going to go through rough stretches, whether it's through injuries or just the ups and downs of a season. When you have the opportunity, you've got to be able to focus and concentrate and win each game."
For some of the Capitals' younger players, as was noticed with goaltender Michal Neuvirth last week, the strain of playing so many games in a short period of time can be an adjustment to prepare for both physically and mentally. So how they fare through one of the first tough stretches of the schedule this season, with games nearly every other day in November, could have a large impact.
"It's definitely a lot tougher to play with one day off only in between," Karl Alzner said. "It's nice in the American League when you have four days or so just practicing, to work on anything or do what you want as a person. But although it's going to be difficult to play games nonstop, it can help us get into a rhythm if we're playing good."
I'm on a train en route to New York and will have more updates from practice, which is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.
FROM THE POST
Don't forget that today at 12:30 p.m. I'll be hosting a live video chat from Madison Square Garden, if the asbestos doesn't get me first. Send in your questions about the season, the morning skate, and more then save that link for the chat itself.
Mike Green is back to playing at or near 30 minutes for the Capitals, and the team is on a four-game winning streak. Coincidence? Probably not.
If you haven't heard Mike Knuble's interview on Elliot in the Morning from Monday, you should listen to part 1 and part 2. Or you can head over to the D.C. Sports Bog where Dan Steinberg has some excerpts including, among other things, the right winger considering sacrificing a goat to break his scoring slump.
AROUND THE WEB
Original Capitals play-by-play radio voice Ron Weber was honored with the Foster Hewitt Award by the Hockey Hall of Fame Monday and you can check out a Q&A with him on the Caps' website.
Former Capitals forward Dino Ciccarelli was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame as well and his speech from the ceremony is below. Be sure to check out some of Alan May's stories about being Ciccarelli's teammate.