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The Official Site of the Washington Capitals

12-14-09: Behind the Bench

by Staff Writer / Washington Capitals
We are 30,000 feet in the air right now flying over half of the United States to get to Denver so we can play the Colorado Avalanche tomorrow night. We travel on a charter jet and the accommodations are all first class. The plane is pretty much divided into three parts, and the players sit at the front of the plane. There is a group of them that plays cards, another group that watches movies on their computers and a third group that likes to relax and take a nap.

The coaches and most of the front office staff sit in the second section, while radio voice of the Capitals Steve Kolbe joins Joe Beninati, Craig Laughlin and the rest of the Comcast SportsNet television staff in the third section of the plane.

There are eight seats dedicated to the coaching staff, but the most we use on any trip is five. Sometimes we use only four if Arturs Irbe is not traveling with us. He is with us on this trip and sitting in his normal window seat next to Bob Woods. The seating arraignment for the coaches is pretty similar to a dining room setup in your home. There is a table on each side of the aisle and there are two chairs on each side of the table. That means that two people – Dean Evason and Blaine Forsythe – travel with their backs to the front of the plane. I sit on one side of the aisle and share a table with Blaine, while Dean, Bob and Arturs are on the other side of the aisle. It is a nice setup and allows us to communicate easily with one another. I don’t know why each coach sits in his particular seat. When I got here, I was told where to sit and have sat there ever since.

There is always plenty of food on the plane. There are appetizers when we first walk on and there are always three entrée options. I typically do not eat on the plane, but if I do then I am going with the steak option almost every time. There are two things that I will have on every flight and they are a Diet Coke and a glass of chocolate milk.

After every game, we turn our computers on when our flight attendant says we can and start watching video from the game we just played. Some coaches will start taking notes and going over things that we feel we need to address at our next meeting. I like to just watch the game on the flight home and then go over it again the next morning with a fresh mind. I do that because sometimes I will be mad at a certain player after a game, and I don’t want to be too critical of him because I am watching the game so soon after it just ended.

There is only one player that will come back to our area and ask to watch video from the game we just played and that is Alex Ovechkin. He likes to watch the goals for and against that he was on the ice for and he does this almost after every game.

Other than our two trips out west this year, our flights are pretty short and uneventful and filled mostly with work because they are only an hour or two to play a team in the Eastern Conference.
Sometimes I will close my eyes for 15 minutes on the flight and take a nap to recharge because I know I am going to be in the office early the next day. I don’t travel with any headphones, so I never watch a movie on the plane.

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