On Friday, Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson spoke to the media following today’s morning skate in Boston. He discussed playing physical games against the Boston Bruins and playing hockey one year into the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You know the type of hockey you’re going to play,” Wilson said about playing that physical, gritty game against the Bruins. “That’s something that they’ve done for a long time and something that we’ve been [trying] to have in our game…play that playoff brand of hockey.” He mentioned the team will “expect that tonight” as the Capitals faceoff once again at TD Garden (7 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington, and NHL Network).
Wilson believes the physicality in games is why “everyone loves hockey”. “There’s hitting, there’s fighting, there’s emotion. That’s what is great about our game. When it becomes a skill all-star game and no emotion, I think that is when people go to sleep.”
On if Bruins players were trying to throw top Capitals players (captain Alex Ovechkin) off their game in Wednesday’s 2-1 shootout win, Wilson smiled and said, “I don’t what you’re talking about.” After a laugh, he called it “weird” and felt as if “it was the other way, there probably would have been a lot more attention drawn to it” if a Capitals player targeted someone on the Bruins.
“I like to give him the benefit of the doubt…young guy coming into the league dropping the gloves with a star…I think Ovi can more than handle himself. He’s a machine.” On Thursday, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety fined Ovechkin $5,000 for spearing Bruins’ forward Trent Frederic in the groin in Wednesday’s clash. Frederic cross-checked Ovechkin before getting speared. Ovechkin was given a minor penalty for slashing on the play.
It’s been roughly a year since COVID-19 forced the NHL to suspend play but later return in the summer for the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs in the “bubble cities” of Toronto and Edmonton. “It’s weird, it’s crazy…everything that’s happened since then,” he said, adding, “At this point, we’re lucky to be playing hockey…we just got to keep moving forward and hopefully with the rest of the world.”
“It was a different year anyway and anybody who says it was the same…it just wasn’t,” Wilson said about the playoffs. “Each team adapted differently. I think we could have done a better job.” He noted they are focused on their game now as they near the halfway point in this condensed season.
The Capitals’ defense has been strong over the last few weeks. He said “accountability” has been the key to a successful defense. “If you’re a team that can defend, you’re going to frustrate the opponents… get in front of shots, playing hard, playing together, and playing structured as a five-man group is very important.”
By Della Young