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To win ‘back-to-back’ Stanley Cups, Capitals know slow start could be costly

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Brooks Orpik and Alex Ovechkin take a selfie on the Capitals’ championship parade. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Put up)

BOSTON — The Capitals have heard all in regards to the attainable pitfalls for the protecting Stanley Cup champions: a sluggish begin to the season, fatigue from the sort of lengthy playoff run and larger damage possibility as a result of a brief summer time to each get well and teach. Defenseman Brooks Orpik, the one Washington participant who’d in truth gained a championship sooner than this previous one, would advise his teammates to in large part forget about the ones warnings.

“You listen numerous folks seeking to inform you that you simply must really feel much more drained than you in truth are, so I believe in the event you let that creep in, you’ll trick your self into feeling it,” mentioned Orpik, who additionally gained the Cup in 2009 with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Capitals open their preseason time table with Sunday’s afternoon recreation in Boston, simply 3 days into the on-ice portion of coaching camp. Washington traveled simply 5 gamers who performed within the Stanley Cup finals collection in opposition to the Vegas Golden Knights, and part of the Bruins’ roster is in China for an exhibition collection in opposition to Calgary.

Coaching camp and preseason motion is a harsh comedown after hoisting the Stanley Cup at the ice simply 3 months in the past, however the Capitals are already cautious of the traps into which previous protecting champions have fallen as they start their bid to copy.

“It’s no secret that that on occasion occurs — you cross from enjoying at the largest degree, you play the largest recreation to your lifestyles after which you could have an offseason after which it’s recreation one once more,” ahead Tom Wilson mentioned. “We’re all human, that’s standard. However I believe with our workforce, it doesn’t matter what, whether or not it’s the ultimate recreation of the Stanley Cup, or recreation one, we like to win. That’s what separates us. We’ve had that mentality the ultimate couple of years, tremendous a laugh workforce. I’m anticipating us to get available in the market and select up the place we left off.”

After profitable back-to-back titles, the Penguins struggled right through the primary part of ultimate season and have been one indicate of the playoff image via 41 video games. They recovered with a robust 2nd part, however the postseason isn’t at all times a given for the protecting Stanley Cup champion. The Los Angeles Kings gained in 2014 after which neglected the playoffs the following 12 months. Pittsburgh’s fresh repeat made them the primary staff to drag off that feat in 20 years. A part of the trouble is that warring parties will use video games in opposition to the reigning Cup-winner as a type of measuring stick.

“I used to be pondering to myself a pair weeks in the past that we’ve were given to understand that the whole lot goes to be harder to start out and the entire video games are going to be harder in opposition to us,” middle Nicklas Backstrom mentioned. “We higher play our very best hockey to start out, that’s fact. However on the similar time you are feeling like a complete season, 82-game season, you could have your u.s.a.and downs. However it’s at all times vital to have a excellent get started so that you don’t fall again too some distance at the back of.”

Orpik returned to Washington for casual skates forward of coaching camp on Hard work Day and was once “pleasantly shocked” that such a lot of of his teammates have been already again and in “lovely excellent” conditioning. “I believed coming off this summer time that everyone can be coming in more or less ultimate 2nd, however guys were given in truth excited to get again it,” he mentioned.

“For me, it’s the very same [as any other season],” Orpik persevered. “For those who deal with it any other, then I believe you get uncovered just a little bit. For those who deal with it in a different way, you almost certainly don’t get started on time, and in the event you do this, you dig your self a hollow. Prior to now there’s been in point of fact excellent groups that simply had a foul get started after which they’re enjoying catch up all 12 months, and it’s in point of fact tricky to make up that floor. That’s one thing that’ll be the most important for us.”

Despite the fact that the Capitals are returning all however two gamers from their Stanley Cup finals lineup and the methods are anticipated to stick in large part the similar beneath new Trainer Todd Reirden, Orpik mentioned the eye to element inside that staff construction was once emphasised in day considered one of coaching camp video classes. Washington needs to start out the season enjoying very a lot the similar manner it ended the ultimate one.

“I’m now not going to talk for everybody, however my feeling is we set a brand new usual for a way we play,” ahead T.J. Oshie mentioned. “And so whether or not it’s recreation one, recreation 82 or we’re into the playoffs, I believe like our usual is ready and if we drop beneath that, I don’t assume we’re going to be proud of ourselves. We’ll simply stay enjoying the way in which we play and we’ll cross from there. You don’t know the way issues are going to start out, you don’t know what lulls are going to be — in the event you’re going to start out scorching, in the event you’re now not. We’ll simply roll with the punches and make changes and cross from there.”

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