On Saturday afternoon, Washington Capitals defenseman Nick Jensen spoke to the media on a Zoom call following today’s scrimmage on the fifth day of training camp in Phase 3 of the NHL’s Return to Play Plan. He discussed how important it will be finding that intense level of hockey again and why he never considered opting-out.
“Personally, I felt like I was starting a good stride,” Jensen said in reference to playing some of his best hockey of the season right before the NHL Pause. The 29-year old defenseman picked up eight points (all assists) prior to the four-month stoppage. He “doesn’t know what it’s going to be like” when the league resumes play soon, but it’s all about getting back to that “peak” quality of play.
He called today’s scrimmage “a little bit looser obviously than a game”. Jensen felt “pretty good” personally and said the guys “didn’t miss a step” during the first 5-on-5 action. He believes players will continue to improve and get stronger as training camp continues.
Jensen acknowledged how difficult it will be “looking forward”. The NHL Pause lasted four months, teams opened up training camps this past Monday for two weeks at their home practice facilities before they depart to their respective conference’s hub city for the final week of camp, and exhibition games are right around the corner before the “hardest form of hockey” begins.
He noted that every team is going through this, but said the team that quickly gets back to “playoff mentality” will be the most successful. Jensen said the Capitals have a good plan going forward.
“As long as we have a deck of cards,” Jensen said about what he would like to have for fun during downtime in the bubble. He believes most guys will bring an entertainment system to play video games on when able to. “We’ll find ways to keep entertained. We kind of always do.”
Jensen explained how he and wife, Jenner, discussed the NHL resuming play and their personal lives, especially with a newborn in the house. The couple welcomed son and first child, Lorenzo Luck Jensen on March 17. “I don’t think there was ever a moment where we even thought about opting-out.”
“This is my lifelong dream playing in the playoffs,” he said. Jensen noted that his wife would “never want me to miss an opportunity to be able to do that.”
By Della Young