Capitals’ Tom Wilson on Bubble Life in Toronto: “They Made It Feel As Normal As Possible”

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On Wednesday, Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson and defenseman Radko Gudas spoke to the media on a Zoom call from Hotel X in Toronto.

The Capitals play the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday (4 PM ET; NBC Sports Washington locally, NBCSN nationally) in the second round-robin game for seeding. “Philly’s always a big rival of ours,” Wilson said. He mentioned it will be a “tough” game, but the team is “ready for it and excited to get back out there.”

“I think there’s a lot of things we can learn from the games we played against them,” Gudas added. The former Flyers blueliner also said “it’s a new season” and “everybody has to get ready for the main part.”

On Todd Reirden, Wilson said the head coach’s second full year has been “positive” and Reirden is a “detailed oriented coach”. Gudas agreed, saying, “He [Reirden] wants everybody to be on the same page, and be as positive, and believe in themselves…it’s a great key to success.”

On the latest episode of forwards Nic Dowd and Garnet Hathaway’s podcast, Between Two Blue Lines, Hathway calls Gudas the “mayor of the bubble”. When asked about it, Gudas said, “There’s a lot of faces that I recognize.” The 30-year-old defenseman not only played for Philadelphia but also the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are staying at Hotel X along with the Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Capitals. “It’s weird. You see guys you’ve done battle with, you see a guy you’ve played with and it’s strange, but it’s fun at the same time,” Wilson added.

“It’s definitely met expectation, maybe exceeded,” Wilson said about the testing and health/safety protocols inside the Toronto bubble. He said the team feels “lucky” and compliments the league and players’ association for putting all of the protocols in place and “making us feel safe”. Wilson said, “They made it feel as normal as possible.”

On the impact of playing without fans, Wilson said it feels “pretty normal” since the focus is on creating plays, but did admit there are times when it feels “weird”. “Conversations with the other team are a little easier,” he mentioned. Wilson and Gudas both thrive—as many players do— off of the crowd’s noise and energy.  Gudas added that the “communication of the team is more important” and they will eventually get used to it.

On July 28, Bruins forward David Pastrnak tweeted Wilson is the “best goal scorer in the league”. It was rather random but turns out the two forwards made some kind of bet to which Pastrnak lost, resulting in the tweet. When asked about it, Wilson said, “That’s accurate. I guess he’s a man of his word. I guess it’s just funny. He’s obviously a character. We’ll see. Maybe I’ll give him the follow after that compliment. It was nice of him to say.”

However, Wilson did not elaborate on what the bet actually was.

By Della Young

About Della Young

Della Young is an aspiring novelist and screenwriter who earned a BFA in Creative Writing from Full Sail University in 2021. She comes from a family of big Capitals fans and became inspired to start writing for hockey in 2019. In her spare time, Della enjoys traveling, cooking, and working on both sides of the camera. Follow Della on Twitter: @dellayoung
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