Hockey players, like most professional athletes, are creatures of habit.
They like to practice at the same time, eat at the same time, sleep at the same time.
So when they travel across the continent and change time zones twice in three days, coaches feel the need to adjust.
Thats why Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau altered his practice schedule this week, moving Tuesdays practice from the normal 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and scheduling a 3:15 p.m. practice in Edmonton on Wednesday.
Were trying to get more acclimated to the time, Boudreau explained. I dont know if it works, but well see.
Boudreau tried a similar approach to last years Winter Classic, having his team practice the night before.
People have done studies on body rhythms, weve listened, and if it makes sense were trying them, he said.
The Capitals arrived in Edmonton on Tuesday in time to watch their next two opponents face off. The Oilers defeated the Canucks 3-2, knocking Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo out of the game with three second-period goals in a little more than five minutes.
After playing five of their first seven games at home with short trips to Pittsburgh and Philadelphia in between, Capitals right wing Mike Knuble said it will nice to get away or a few days with his teammates.
Its a good time for us to spend some time together, he said. Nobody has to hustle off and go home.
As the only unbeaten team remaining in the NHL, Knuble said the Caps expect a big push from the Oilers, who are off to a surprising 4-2-2 start.
Im sure Edmonton is sitting there saying, Well be the team that knocks them from their pedestal. Id be thinking that if I was them.
But players in here arent going to fall into any traps thinking we can just show up and play. Theres a very fine edge to being 7-0 and 4-3 and I think we all know how fine that line is.