On Sunday, Washington Capitals center Nic Dowd spoke to the media during the team’s 2022 breakdown day. He discussed his feelings after the first-round exit in the playoffs, his overall game this season, and fellow linemate Carl Hagelin’s eye injury.
The Capitals suffered their fourth consecutive first-round exit in the postseason, losing to the Florida Panthers 4-3 in overtime on Friday.
“It’s tough not to dwell on what could’ve been…most of us, including myself, have a family and kids to go home to, so it kind of eases the blow a little bit, but it’s tough to come back into the rink—like a day like today sucks because you come back in and gather all your stuff…it’s just a realization of not getting the job done.”
Dowd and his family will be heading to their summer home for the offseason.
“He put a lot more work into being ready to play than what people saw and a lot more than probably ninety percent of the guys in the NHL put in daily,” he said on fellow center Nicklas Backstrom. “Nicky put in a constant scale, so we needed him. Our team wouldn’t be the same without him, so we’re super appreciative that he does do that and does work towards being ready every day.”
He called his own season “a little rocky” due to being in and out of the lineup for several stretches. “You’re trying to get back into a rhythm and then when you’re two weeks in, you’re finally playing what you think is good hockey and then you find yourself with another injury and you’re on the sidelines again. It’s tough mentally for a lot of players, including myself. It’s hard to sit out in the NHL for x amount of games and jump right back in and be ready to play right away. Usually, it takes at least a game to get yourself back in that rhythm.”
Injuries and COVID-19 issues were setbacks the Capitals faced this season. Dowd mentioned playing with different players frequently, under those circumstances, became challenging. “Individually, I was happy with the season, obviously not happy with the outcome, but I think the great thing is every day we got to play with great players regardless of who was on our line or where you were in the lineup and I think that helps everybody individually to play on a good team,” Dowd said.
On November 14, the Capitals signed Dowd to a three-year contract extension that carries a $1.3 million cap hit. He could have become an unrestricted free agent on July 13. He said today, “I’m happy to be a part of this organization moving forward and give some stability to my family.”
“Honestly, it sucked,” Dowd said about Hagelin’s eye injury. “I still remember it happening…it was a tough thing to watch when it did happen, but as a hockey player, you don’t think of—you just don’t see that type of injury very much. When it did happen, it wasn’t something any of us assumed would be like this, but to his credit, he’s kept a really positive attitude, and honestly, it was really nice seeing him around the rink after the couple of weeks that we missed him. Personally, too, I’ve played with him. I’ve learned a lot from him, and I was really, quite honestly, sad and upset that we had to lose him from our line. We had a really great thing going…like I said, just having him around and seeing that he’s making progress…I’m happy to see him do that and hopefully, everything will continue to move forward.”
Additionally, Dowd said Hagelin’s positivity and determination throughout his situation have helped all the guys, reassuring them that Hagelin is still “a key part” of the team. “He’s got some energy, which you guys see when he plays, and that transfers off the ice as well to our team, so I’ll be excited to see how Carl comes back.”
By Della Young