Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson said “anything can happen” when you get to double overtime in Game 7. During Friday’s breakdown day, Wilson talked to the media about what went wrong in the Capitals’ 4-3 loss in Game 7 of their First Round series against the Carolina Hurricanes and his progression as a player from this season.
The Capitals led both in the series and the game, but their intensity fell short at times. Wilson commented that the “killer instinct” this time of year is to do what they need to do. Unfortunately, the Capitals did not seem to accomplish that this time around. Among everything that goes into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Wilson stated that you need to be “all in from Game 1” in order to get the job done, and there were times when the team was not.
When asked if there was anything different this year than last postseason when they won the Stanley Cup, Wilson answered with a yes. There is a desire and excitement to do it again: for the team, for the fans, for the city. Wilson did say there were expectations to repeat. They did not want to let anyone down even with the “pressure to get back where they were.” However, it featured different feelings than years past, according to Wilson.
The forward missed 16 games at the beginning of the regular season due to a suspension. A hit to the head of St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist cost Wilson a 20-game suspension. It was later reduced to 14 games by a neutral arbitrator in which he was eligible to play in the Capitals’ next game but the decision was made after Wilson already sat out for 16 games. Wilson said that as a player there were ups and downs but he does not want to dwell on the past and just continue on. “It’s going to be a goal to pick up where I left off.,” he said on his offensive consistency from this season and for beyond.
Plagued by the suspension and numerous injuries, they did “a good job” and “managed the season” as individuals and as a team, Wilson added. He was happy to be out on the ice, bring the physical impact, and help the Capitals wherever and whenever he could. Wilson never set goals or milestones; he wanted to support the team offensively.
It is never easy to see your teammates leave but it is important to do what is best for the team and for the individual. “The business part of the game seems to take over at this time of year.,” Wilson said in reference to players potentially not coming back next season. It is hard for guys “on the move” and for guys who are not. Whoever is on the ice in September is “the team we’re going to go to battle with”.
After coming off of their Stanley Cup win last June, typically the coach will come back but that did not happen for the Capitals. Former head coach Barry Trotz left the organization after a contract dispute with the Capitals’ management and signed a five-year contract with the New York Islanders three days later. Wilson said it was “weird,” but overall a “smooth transition” on Todd Reirden becoming the new head coach. He ended by saying there is room for improvement and it is back to the drawing board to see what the Capitals can do differently for the 2019-20 season.
Wilson posted 40 points (22 goals) in the regular season and five points (three goals) in the Capitals’ short run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
By Della Young