With the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs less than 24 hours away, the Washington Capitals are getting used to life in the hub city bubble and gearing up for their first meaningful game action in over four months. On Sunday, members of the team spoke to the media, via conference call, on the start of the playoffs. For Center Evgeny Kuznetsov and Defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler, a seasoned veteran and relative newcomer to playoff action, game day is shaping up to be a big one.
Siegenthaler, who has only four playoff games under his belt (all coming last spring in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs), was asked about last postseason’s small sampling of experience being a help in what to expect this summer. Siegenthaler responded by saying that, “It’s still playoffs, it’s a different game…those couple games I had last year maybe help me a little bit be not that difference, but in the end it’s playoff hockey…in the end you want to win those games”.
When asked about life in the bubble, Kuznetsov responded that, “So far it’s been good. We’ve been busy training, trying to stay in the room and social distancing, to get as much rest as possible, because it’ll hopefully be a long run for us”. On the emotions of returning to meaningful game action, he responded, “For me personally, days are like a normal day, but I’m pretty sure tomorrow will be much higher emotionally, will be a new atmosphere and everything will be different. Today’s the last day of preparing for a deep run”.
Siegenthaler, who averaged the most Penalty Kill minutes (he averaged 3:11 of ice time shorthanded) during the regular season, commented on the Capitals’ PK being effective against the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Power Play, saying, ” We know they have a good power play. We know what we have to take away, what we have to pay attention to. I think we’ve watched enough videos, everybody knows their dangerous players, we just gotta take them away and do a good job”.
On the need to be aware of the officiating teams in exhibition games calling tight games, both Siegenthaler and Kuznetsov iterated the need to stay on task on the ice, with Siegenthaler adding that the Capitals “need to be skating, don’t take any penalties, and not take dumb penalties”.
The Capitals play their first round-robin contest tomorrow against the Tampa Bay Lightning at 4:00 PM EST on NBC Sports Washington (locally) or NBC Sports Network (nationally).
By Michael Fleetwood