Forward Carl Hagelin said on Monday that the Washington Capitals‘ locker room, which is full of veteran players, has “been good.” He thinks that defenseman Zdeno Chara has “got a great mind” and is good at calming things down in addition to speaking up.
On playing two consecutive games in the same city this season, the 31-year-old told the media that “I like it a lot. … Overall, it definitely helps. … [It is] definitely good for us as an older team.”
Hagelin told the media that he spoke to goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who announced that he will not play this season on December 17 after signing a one-year contract with the Capitals and before undergoing an open-heart procedure, “a lot before he went to Cleveland [for surgery]” but not a lot after. Hagelin added that Lundqvist is doing well and is hoping to talk to him and keep him up to date on the team when Lundqvist gets to New York. The Capitals are scheduled to play the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden for the first time on Thursday, February 4.
After the Capitals took five minor penalties in each of the past two games, Hagelin said that “We’re a team that needs to play aggressive and be physical. … We need to play five-on-five” and the easiest way to learn a new system under a first-year head coach is to play five-on-five.
Hagelin told the media that he is never ready at beginning of the year after playing three games in four days. “Your body is tired after yesterday’s game (a 4-3 shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins), nothing out of the ordinary. … We’re all feeling good,” he said.
Hagelin and the Capitals face the Penguins at PPG Paints Arena again on Tuesday (7 PM ET, NBCSN nationally, NBC Sports Washington).
By Harrison Brown