On Tuesday afternoon, Washington Capitals defenseman Brenden Dillon spoke to the media on a Zoom call following Group Blue’s practice from the second day of training camp in Phase 3 of the NHL’s Return to Play Plan. The Capitals are set to play their round-robin opener against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday, August 3 in Toronto, the Eastern Conference hub city for the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Dillon did not consider opt-outing as several NHL players have chosen to do so with family and personal matters as top priorities. He will respect his teammates’ decisions if it comes down to that. Dillon is “excited” and says it’s going to be a “fun time to have a schedule and get back into the swing of things” with a “full-strength” team.
The Capitals acquired Dillon from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a 2020 second-round pick and a conditional third-round pick in 2021 on February 18. The Sharks retained 50% of his $3.27 million cap hit for the rest of the season. Since July 1, Dillion is a pending unrestricted free agent.
“I’m happy with being a Washington Capital,” the 29-year-old defenseman said. He likes the fit with the Capitals and has felt that way since day one when the trade with San Jose occurred. Dillon is fond of the system and overall chemistry the team has and praised training camp for getting “more acclimated” with the Capitals.
“I think over the last couple weeks, months, I’ve definitely gotten a lot closer with a few of the guys,” Dillon said in reference to having a chance to bond with his fellow teammates, “Bought myself an Xbox…having a couple tee times with a few of the guys during the weeks.” He’s created conversations with the guys during the recent informal skates (Phase 2) to get to know them better and feel comfortable.
He called the health and safety protocols “the new normal” and also credited the staff workers at MedStar Capitals Iceplex for an “unbelievable job” at disinfection and sanitation procedures along with making players feel safe. “If we get a chance to play hockey, we’re going to do whatever we can to make it work,” Dillon mentioned and also added, “If you take care of yourself, you’re going to take care of the rest of your teammates and you’re going to put yourself in a good spot.
Dillon was all smiles discussing how much the Capitals team is an “awesome place to be”. He praised the guys for making him feel welcome since the February trade. As mentioned, Dillon is a pending UFA. “Mutual talks amongst my agents and Brian [GM Brian MacLellan] are confidential with them…for me as a player, and being part of the Caps, it’s been awesome, and hopefully I can be here.”
“I think over the last couple weeks, months, I’ve definitely gotten a lot closer with a few of the guys. Bought myself an Xbox, having a couple tee times with a few of the the guys during the weeks.”
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) July 14, 2020
By Della Young