Some guys would just rather get away from hockey on their nights off. Matt Bradley watches “Yo Gabba Gabba” with his son, while Alex Ovechkin said he doesn’t watch the rest of the Stanley Cup Playoff games.
For most around the Capitals, however, hockey is a habit. So players and coaches will be in front of their televisions Tuesday night and beyond to indulge in a little playoff puck.
“You try to figure out what’s happening here and the scenarios, but they’re great hockey games and they’re fun to watch,” right wing Mike Knuble said Tuesday. “Tonight’s a huge night in a league and it’d be fun to see what happens and determine our future a little bit.”
If the Sabres beat the Flyers in Philadelphia, the Caps will face Buffalo in the second round. If Philadelphia wins, it could be Montreal, Pittsburgh or Tampa Bay. And a Bruins victory coupled with a Flyers one would mean the Caps have a real interest in Game 7 of Penguins-Lightning, as they’d play the winner.
The schedule works out in every hockey fan’s favor, too. Game 6 of Bruins-Canadiens starts at 7, Game 7 of Flyers-Sabres is at 7:30 and then Game 7 of Canucks-Blackhawks is at 10.
“One starts at 7:00, one starts at 7:30, so by the time the first one ends I won’t be watching a lot of intermissions I don’t think,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “So you just keep switching, and It’s really funny is that the commercials don’t coincide either so it’s good so once all the commercials are on, you can turn and watch something else so you get to see a lot of the game.”
There are little bits of scouting to be done while watching, forward Brooks Laich said, but overall it’s a chance to enjoy some exciting hockey. This year in particular has delivered plenty of that, and it’s just the first round.
“Actually I talked to a buddy of mine back home yesterday and we were talking about the first round of the playoffs and he said he’s never been this excited over just the first round and I think if you look at all the series – just as a fan of hockey – I think it’s great hockey that’s going on,” Laich said. “It’s back and forth and there’s lead changes and blown leads and penalties and penalty shots, series are going seven games and comebacks – everything I think you can ask for in a first round of the playoffs has happened so far.”
Monday night was a perfect example. In the early game, the Lightning got to Marc-Andre Fleury to beat the Penguins and set up Game 7. Soon after, the Sharks and Kings played another classic that went into overtime well into Tuesday morning on the East Coast.
“I watched the game last night with San Jose I think it was like 12 o’clock, I wanted to go to bed but I had to watch it,” defenseman Mike Green said. “I guess as a fan you’re a fan of the game it doesn’t matter who’s on the ice. When hockey’s on you’re watching.”