On Friday afternoon, Washington Capitals head coach Todd Reirden spoke to the media on a Zoom call following the group practices on the fourth day of training camp in Phase 3 of the NHL’s Return to Play Plan. The Capitals are set to play their exhibition game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday, July 29 in Toronto, the Eastern Conference hub city for the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Reirden will continue to adhere not to disclose information regarding player injuries or illnesses during the 2020 playoffs to protect a player’s medical privacy. This is important to bring up since backup goaltender Ilya Samsonov and defensive prospect Alexander Alexeyev have missed their fourth straight day of training camp. Reirden made no comment on the players’ timeline for return but will provide an update every day.
He had nothing but positive comments on defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler. “He’s a young player on the cycle of maturing as a defenseman.” He explained the 23-year old Swiss native is getting more confident and has “really grown” on using his stick to defend. Today, Siegenthaler was paired with Nick Jensen and Reirden explained how he’s “finding the right pairs for success for the team.” Overall, he needs all players to help out and be ready at any given time if situations arise.
The final week of training camps will be held in Toronto and Edmonton and teams depart to their respective hub cities on Sunday, July 26. Reirden mentioned how it’s going to “be different for everyone” —players, staff, and families— and how there are a lot of sacrifices that factor in.
The Capitals will be staying at the Hotel X, along with the other top-five teams in the Eastern Conference. “This will be a whole new experience for sure,” the bench boss said about having the team’s closest rivals in one place. He doesn’t expect players to get physical but noted there could very well be some “stare-downs”.
“My computer,” Reirden said in reference to what he is going to bring to the bubble, “That’s all I need.” He also included a book and his phone for “constant contact” with family. Reirden said the team is “a group that enjoys being together” and will have fun when there is downtime such as playing cards, video games, and ping pong that the hotel will provide for them.
He called the quality of play after the four-month stoppage “interesting”. Reirden said speed will be “at an all-time high” that is going to “force the intensity level up”. He knows this is going to be competitive, but indicated it’s going to be an “exciting and unpredictable” hockey season.
By Della Young