After losing what forward Troy Brouwer called a "pretty emotional" Game 3 to the Rangers Monday, Coach Adam Oates elected to give his team an unexpected day off in New York Tuesday to regroup and relax in preparation for Game 4 Wednesday.
The Capitals were originally scheduled to practice Tuesday morning at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
“Rest obviously is the biggest weapon, most important weapon right now,” Oates said outside the Capitals' Manhattan hotel. “You’ve got to let the guys rest. It’s very stressful. Every moment of the game, everything is stressful. And every chance we get to let them recharge, we’re going to do it.”
Throughout the season, Oates has stressed the importance of de-stressing, and while he and his coaching staff plan to study video of Monday's loss, he wants the Capitals to unwind.
“There’s always guys that are banged up, there’s always guys that would get maintenance days no matter what, so they’re not skating,” Oates said. “There’s obviously a few guys that didn’t play as much that would want to, and, you know what, they got to maybe get a workout in. At this time of year, I’m not worried about conditioning. So it’s more fatigue. It was late, what are you going to get accomplished today? Maybe mentally the day off, recharge the battery and go at it tomorrow.”
As for how they plan to do that, it depends on who you ask. Brouwer said that he planned on walking around and maybe doing some shopping on a temperate day in Manhattan, while forward Eric Fehr said that he would take it easy and watch some television in his hotel room. According to Brouwer, Oates's playing career allows him to understand his players' needs.
"He knows how stressful these games can be," Brouwer said. "He knows how tough how these games can be to bounce back, and so he's just trying to give us an opportunity to relax and like he says, clear our minds."
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