While Capitals Olympians John Carlson, Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Marcus Johansson and Marty Erat woke up Monday morning in the resort town of Sochi, Russia on the coast of the Black Sea, a handful of their teammates woke up on a different beach.
Five Capitals made Olympic break plans to head to the Caribbean islands of Turks and Caicos.
Caps right wing Troy Brouwer said his wife’s parents have agreed to stay with their daughter, allowing them to spend five days in the warm sun of the Caribbean with four other teammates and their spouses or girlfriends.
“It’ll be nice,” Brouwer said. “You’ve got to keep that fitness level up and make sure you’re doing something, but with that being said we’re going to have a little boot camp when we get back to make sure we’re in shape.”
Capitals coach Adam Oates is not a big fan of taking an 18-day break in the middle of a hockey season, but he’ll spend a few days visiting family in Toronto before returning to Washington. The Collective Bargaining Agreement allows teams to open their practice facilities at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 19 and, as of now, Oates has a practice scheduled for his non-Olympic players at 2 p.m. that same day.
“It’s a break,” Oates said. “They get a chance to take some time off, re-energize and come back and focus on the stretch.
“I’m sure I’ll take a couple days to chill and let it go and then start grinding again. It will be unique. It’s a weird thing but it’s now commonplace in our sport. I’ll see the family, rest a bit, recharge and get ready for the stretch.”
Following a full week of practice the Caps will begin their post-Olympic schedule on Feb. 27 at the Florida Panthers. Six days later, on March 5, is the NHL trade deadline.
“The guys who are maybe thinking they might get moved have to relax and not think about hockey,” Brouwer said.
When the Caps return, they will play 23 games in 46 days to end the season.
“We need to really rejuvenate ourselves because it’s a long run if you want to make a run at the Stanley Cup,” Brouwer said. “You’re playing pretty much every other night the rest of the way out, so you have to make sure your body is rested.”