Washington Capitals forward Carl Hagelin told the media on a Zoom call on Tuesday that “it’ll be a battle right away” when the team resumes play on August 3 against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Toronto. He said that it will feel like Stanley Cup Playoff hockey right away and that “will bring guys up to speed.” He felt like the first two days of training camp have been “more crisp now” than a regular training camp in September.
On being away from his family, Hagelin said he is focused on just “trying to get back into shape and get used to things.” His wife will be due for a baby on August 8, when the Capitals face the Philadelphia Flyers in the team’s second round-robin game. As a result, Hagelin will leave the bubble to care for her and the baby.
“She said as long as you come back when the kid is born, you’re more than welcome to go,” Hagelin said, adding that his goal is to win his third Stanley Cup. He won twice with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017.
After coming to the Capitals at the trade deadline last season, he believed that “system-wise, it’ll help [forward Ilya Kovalchuk and defenseman Brenden Dillon, who were both acquired before the trade deadline] a lot.” He felt like a full training camp will give them more time and definitely be good for the two. “It’s a reset for everyone,” Hagelin said.
On the NHL’s return-to-play format, Hagelin said, “if you’re in and you win it, you’ll feel as good about winning” in any typical year. He thinks it will be “a great experience.”
Hagelin feels like the rest will help as the Capitals are the oldest among the 24 teams resuming the season. “We’re a veteran team with guys that have a lot of experience,” he said. Hagelin thinks it would be beneficial to look back at what they did to win the Stanley Cup.
By Harrison Brown