ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM) – It may only be preseason, but the Washington Capitals, who faced an early season COVID hiatus last year, are already enjoying the feeling of being back to some sense of normalcy.
“It’s refreshing to have things back to, I guess, back to normalcy,” Capitals second year head coach Peter Laviolette said. “Is what I said in the introduction at camp to the players.”
Caps general manager Brian MacLellan said Thursday that the team will be fully vaccinated on Saturday. With NHL COVID restrictions much more loose than last season, it will bring sellout crowds back into arenas and allow players to bond off the ice.
“That’ll be a big difference for us and I think it will help us out a lot,” Capitals forward T.J. Oshie said. “You know I think you guys saw it with, I know the team is different from 2018, but you saw the way that we celebrate together and everyone was together, that’s how we were during the year as well and these last couple of years, we just haven’t been able to do that.”
The Capitals will welcome back their home fans at full capacity on October 13 for the regular season opener, hosting the New York Rangers.
“That first warmup, when fans will be there, that’s, you know that’s a special feeling too,” Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov said. “Because when you go there, there is no people and you feel like there is no one to perform for, you know? And it just turns from hockey excited game, to just a job.”