The Washington Capitals have started their 2020-2021 campaign on the road and will have played four away games before taking home ice, but coming home after a long road trip might not have the same effect on the team as it might have in years past.
Typically, during a normal National Hockey League (NHL) season, teams are playing in a different city every night. It’s part of “the grind.” This season however is a little different.
“The schedule…it actually makes it, I don’t want to say easier, but it makes it…I think better,” said Capitals first year head coach, Peter Laviolette.
This year the NHL has reconstructed its divisions as a way to limit traveling across the United States and Canada due to the coronavirus pandemic, and in turn, has created an additional benefit for teams.
“Typically you might play a back-to-back scenario where you might play Buffalo, but then the next night you might play in Boston. So that has to do with travel and late entry, and guys not getting to bed at a normal time,” explained Laviolette.
The Caps played a back-to-back in Buffalo to open the season, and then went right to Pittsburgh where they will have played another two after Tuesday night’s contest, allowing the team to “set up camp” for a couple of days, if you will, rather than picking up and having to be in a new city and play a game the next night.
“Here it was a much easier process to come back to the hotel at a somewhat reasonable hour -same as the opposition -have something to eat…they go to bed, try to get some rest, they pick up at normal place that they’ve been and they’re settled…so I kind of like that. It takes the grind out of it a little bit”
The Capitals will open up their home schedule Friday, January 22nd at 7:00 p.m. against the Buffalo Sabres.