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Hospital visit has profound impact

by Corey Masisak / Washington Capitals

Matt Bradley is one of the toughest members of the Washington Capitals, but he is just like every other first-time father when it comes to gushing about his baby boy.

That is a big part of why he was a member of the contingent of Washington Capitals who traveled to Children’s National Medical Center earlier this month to spend an off day with some patients there.

“I think it really puts everything into perspective,” Bradley said. “My wife and I are very lucky that our son is healthy, but I could only imagine what that is like for the parents and the families and obviously the kids themselves. If we go there for a little bit and brighten their day it is great for us, and we love doing that.”

Joining Bradley on the trip were teammates Brooks Laich, Eric Fehr, Brendan Morrison and Jeff Schultz. While there, the Capitals players took part in several activities with kids in the hospital’s atrium. They also made sure to visit individual rooms for children who were unable to leave them.

Morrison, like Bradley, is also a father. Laich does not have kids, but he is a regular on this particular trip.

“For us it is fun, and I think the kids really enjoy it,” Laich said. “We don’t consider ourselves anybody special but the kids do. It puts a smile on their face. You draw some pictures with them and color with them and try to help them forget about their problems, even if it is only for an hour or so. You take photos with them, and then you see the smiles on their faces when you sign it for them.”

Members of the Capitals contribute to many charitable causes and make many public appearances, but sometimes a day like this one sticks with them a little more.

“I am just amazed at how courageous the kids are,” Bradley said. “Obviously they are very sick, but they still have smiles all the time when we’re there. I don’t think adults could be that courageous as they are. They are all great kids, and it is always great to go meet them.”

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