Kettler Capitals Iceplex was a ghost town this morning, just hours after Wednesday’s marathon triple-overtime loss to the Rangers.
A handful of Capitals arrived at the team’s Arlington practice facility around 10 a.m. and received medical treatment. A few extras and spare goalies hit the ice for a low-key practice session. (Injured netminder Tomas Vokoun skated briefly, too.)
For the most part, though, Coach Dale Hunter wanted his players to stay away home, rest, hydrate and think about things other than hockey. And they obeyed.
“It’s good for the guys, especially with their legs,” Hunter said about the handful of players who came for treatment. “They just relax today. No video, no nothing. So after a long game like that, it is tiresome on your mind and this way you can rest your body and your mind.”
Asked if he managed to get any sleep, the coach cracked, “Oh yeah, I slept. The game is gone. Got to do the next one.”
A few other notes and quotes from a quiet day at KCI:
*Asked about the big minutes some of the Rangers’ defensemen skated Wednesday, Hunter said: “They did play one guy too much. We basically played six D. ...You just want to finish your checks on their D and hopefully tire them out.”
Hunter was not specific, but he was likely referring to Ryan McDonagh, who skated a game-high 53:21. Dennis Wideman, by comparison, led the Capitals in ice time with 41:40.
“He’s one of our best conditioned athletes,” Rangers Coach John Tortorella said in a conference call with reporters, referring to McDonagh. “He did play a lot of minutes but he could have gone on for more.”
*The other Capitals to hit the ice were backup goalie Michal Neuvirth, third stringer Dany Sabourin, prospect Cam Schilling and spare defenseman Sean Collins. Goaltending coaches Olie Kolzig and Dave Prior directed the workout.
*Hunter on whether he thinks the Caps have become mentally tougher in recent weeks: “We had to play some tough hockey to get into the playoffs. By playing playoff hockey, you have to be [able to] come back, bounce back, be tough during the game. If something happens on the ice, you go down a goal like last night, you just have to keep battling and good things will happen.”
*Like the Capitals, the Rangers also had the day off from practice. Asked if a win like Wednesday’s can have a galvanizing effect, Tortorella said: “Any time you win a game in the playoffs, you create momentum your way. Is it galvanizing? I don’t think our team needs to be galvanized; it is. I don’t think teams that are playing this time of year don’t have that. We found a way to win a game last night. We have momentum on our side, now we just have to go about our business tomorrow and keep it on our side as long as we can.”
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