In between Washington’s 4-1 loss to the Florida Panthers on Saturday and the Caps’ next practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Thursday, most Capitals will enjoy the luxury of approximately five days off. In the midst of a taxing and grueling schedule of games, practices and travel that stretches for at least seven months, the All-Star break is a midseason oasis in the desert for hockey players.
Left wing Alex Ovechkin
and defenseman Mike Green
will travel to Dallas to play in the NHL’s All-Star Game and YoungStars Game, respectively, but their Washington teammates and coaches have other plans. Here are what some of them have on the slate for the next few days.Defenseman Steve Eminger
“We’re just going to relax. Not going to do too much. It’s going to be a critical last part of the year. We’re going to relax, get away from the rink and get away from hockey, Laicher, Sutsy and myself.”Left wing Matt Pettinger
“I’m going to head up to New York City with my wife and Shaone Morrisonn and his girlfriend, and just hang out with them. We’ve been there obviously for games, but it’s such a big city. We’ve never really gone down to SoHo, Chinatown or the financial district. It’s supposed to be chilly, though. I don’t know how much fun walking around is going to be. We’re going to a show on Sunday night, and just kind of relax, sleep in and get away from the game.”Defenseman Lawrence Nycholat
“I’m actually going to go home to Minneapolis. My fiancée lives and works there. I am going to go back there and just relax for a couple of days, and check up on the house. “
Nycholat will also continue keeping in touch with his pals on the Hershey Bears. At this time last month, Nycholat was captaining the Caps’ AHL farm club in Hershey.
“I talk to at least one of them once a day. Sometimes it’s on the phone and sometimes it’s text messages. I talk to the trainers, the coaches and the players. I talk to at least one a day, and sometimes about half the team.”Assistant coach Jay Leach
“I’ve got three days with my wife and younger daughter. Then I am going to travel up north to see my son play two hockey games. I will have a chance to see him, the only time I will get to see him play during his senior year. And hopefully I will get a chance to see my other daughter. Then I will fly right into RDU [airport in Raleigh] and get ready for the [Capitals] next game [on Friday]. I will be there at the [morning] skate. That’s my plan. I will try to see everybody in the family in a short period of time. And naturally, they are scattered all over the place.”Right wing Ben Clymer
“I am going to go to Florida, see some friends, play some golf, relax. And hopefully see a little sunshine.”Left wing/Right wing Matt Bradley
“I am headed back to Ottawa and hang out with my family in the beautiful weather, minus-20. Do some swimming and stuff. No, if there is snow, maybe I will do some [snowmobiling] and go up to the cottage. It’s just fun to go back and see the family.”Center Brian Sutherby
“I am heading down to Florida with a couple of the guys. Just kick back and relax and hopefully have a little nicer weather than we had there last time. It’s too far to head back to Edmonton for just a couple days. And the weather is a lot nicer down there.” Goaltender Brent Johnson
“My fiancée and I are going down to Disneyworld until Wednesday. And it so happens that we’re on the same flight as the whole Kolzig family. We’re on the same flights, but we’re not staying at the same hotel. It just happened that way; we didn’t plan it that way. We’re going to do the amusement park thing, and relax a bit. It should be fun.”Assistant coach Dean Evason
“Just hanging out here. We were going to do something, but taking the kids out of school is difficult at this point. So we are just going to hang out and spend some time together, get some stuff done around the house and all that good stuff, enjoy the Washington area.”Right wing Chris Clark
“Staying in D.C., seeing the sights. It’s something we haven’t done. We’ve been here a year and a half, and really haven’t done any of that. We were going to go to New York or down south, but we decided to stay here. We’ll get a babysitter one day and just go walking around and seeing the sights.”Coach Glen Hanlon
“Have I got any plans? I don’t have any plans. My wife has plans. My plan is just to go home and to take my son to school and pick him up. But I will lose out there. Here, I win all the battles. At home I don’t win any of them. Our goal is just to see D.C. And we’re going to spend lots of time here. We have some ice time here [at Kettler Capitals Iceplex] that we kept here for injured players, so I will bring my son down to skate.
“For the team and the whole league, you get to a point now with the pace of the game that you see every lineup starting to lose man-games [to injury] and I think for the players it’s nice for them to have a break. And maybe for the fans, too. There is so much hockey, and so much coverage and Internet and it just sort of goes all year long. I think it’s nice sometimes to take it away for a few days and you appreciate it more.”