Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson is excited to get back to the ice after losing in the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs to the Carolina Hurricanes. The team is set to begin on-ice workouts on Friday. He talked with the media to discuss the Capitals’ offseason moves, goals for the 2019-20 season, and the next step in his development on media day.
Wilson told the media that it’s “fine by me” if the emphasis is on defense to start the season as all of the Capitals’ moves over the offseason had a theme of improving defensively. “[You] always want to be a hard team to play against. You want that identity. I think we added some weight.,” he said.
Regarding whether the moves made over the offseason will change his playing style, Wilson said that “I haven’t changed my game over the years depending on who’s in the lineup or who’s out. I try to play to my identity as best [as] I can. As a player, the goal is to help the team win. If that means getting into a fight at that time, I’ve been doing that since day one. I’ve always tried to fuel up the game. With that being said, it’s nice to have some guys that are willing to play that style. It’s always nice to know that the team has your back. Those are guys that have done it in the past, and that’s earned the respect of their teammates pretty quick. I’m excited to get on the ice with those guys.”
On goals for the season, Wilson said that “I go into every game trying to play the best I can the goal of trying to help the team.”After a career year last season, Wilson stated that his “offense still has to be there” and cannot dip especially if he is playing on the top line with captain Alex Ovechkin. He told the media that the next step in his development is to become more consistent.
Regarding center Evgeny Kuznetsov, Wilson said that there is “not too many bad days with a guy like that.” He told the media that the team is always there for Kuznetsov and the team has his back after he met with commissioner Gary Bettman to discuss why the IIHF suspended him for four years for testing positive for cocaine.
On physicality in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Wilson noted that “there’s an intimidation factor there” and it is important to play that way. “We want to make Capital One Arena a tough place to play in.,” he added.
Wilson said that he had more time to process last season than he did last year after winning the Stanley Cup. “Summer’s very important to rest.,” he told the media. He said that he never used the short summer as an excuse last year.
Over the past few weeks, Wilson has participated with center Nicklas Backstrom and goaltender Braden Holtby in the “So Kids Can” initiative, going to schools to spend time with young students. “All of us feel like it’s home.,” he said. Wilson added that he thinks it’s important to help out and give back.
By Harrison Brown