On Thursday, Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson spoke to the media following the first day of the 2021-22 training camp at Medstar Capitals Iceplex. He discussed the return of a normal season from getting to know head coach Peter Laviolette more, to travel, and to the excitement of seeing fans again.
Wilson said the morning skate tests went “good” and he “got through it.” “Most of the boys have done a great job…that’s all they ask of us-show up and crush the skate test and keep moving forward.”
The Capitals entered the 2020-21 season with a condensed training camp, no preseason games, and a new coach behind the bench. With this season returning to some normalcy, Wilson explained the team is looking forward to getting to know Peter Laviolette better. “There’s a lot of people he didn’t get to meet last year…new teammates, wives, significant others,” he said, adding, “That bond you can create with a group was a little more difficult off the ice, and on the ice as well. It was a weird year. It was a lot of ups and downs and adversity. He noted there is “that hunger, that excitement” to have a more normal year.
Wilson is anticipating the travel this season instead of playing in the same seven cities within a realigned division. “Having the fans back in the rink will be amazing. I think that’s one of the best parts of what we do is coming out into a sold-out Capital One Arena and having that place rocking and getting a win on home ice…That’s a huge part of our energy and our game.”
“It’ll be good. Those are going to be all high-caliber teams,” Wilson said about the first five matchups of the regular season. The Capitals kick-off a three-game homestand hosting the New York Rangers on October 13, the reigning Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning on October 16, and the Colorado Avalanche on October 19. The team will visit the New Jersey Devils on October 21 before hosting the Calgary Flames on October 23. “Those points at the beginning matter as well, especially against the divisional opponent like the Rangers, so it should be good. I think people are excited for that one.”
“It’s been such a cool adventure…ride since I got to D.C.,” he said about approaching the decade milestone since being drafted in 2012. “I’ve said it before, the leadership group here is really second to none…we’re really fortunate just to have that core group [who’re] accountable…they’re hungry, they’re competitive beyond all get out and they want to win. That’s an identity and a mentality we’ve had and it doesn’t change.”
By Della Young