Capitals Split on Early Afternoon Starts

The Washington Capitals spent the day recuperating both mentally and physically after a grueling 2-1 triple-overtime loss. They returned to practice Friday to prepare for Game 4 Saturday, which starts at the unique time of 12:30 p.m.

The Caps only played eight games during the regular season that began at 5 p.m. or earlier (though they have played four 3 p.m. games so far this postseason), so preparing for a game so early in the afternoon does change their gameday routines.

"It's a little different," Keith Aucoin said. "You've got to get up a little earlier and you've gotta eat. You don't eat as much, a light breakfast to get some food in you. You're at the rink at 10:30 as opposed to 5 at night. It's a little different, but a lot of guys like it. You get up, you get to the rink and you're full of energy. I like it myself."

Meanwhile, Karl Alzner actually prefers to play later in the day so that he can have more time to prepare.

"It changes a lot," he said when asked if his preparation changes when playing an earlier game. "Some guys really like the early games. I personally don't care for them as much."

Yet, Alzner said that playing an early game after such a long game Wednesday will work to someone's advantage Saturday.

"The way the last game went, it would've been nice to have a late game, but now it's really gonna show who can get themselves ready to play quick," he said. "You can't use that as an excuse."

Adam Vingan is co-founder and editor of Kings Of Leonsis, a Caps-centric blog. Follow him on Twitter @Adam_KOL and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at)

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