For Cody Eakin, Wednesday’s bag skate at Kettler Capitals Iceplex ranked as one of the toughest in his young career.
“It was hard,” captain Alex Ovechkin said. “But it’s Bruce’s decision, and if we say we have to do it, we’re going to do it.”
It was Bruce Boudreau and his coaching staff’s decision to skate the heck out of the Caps after a lackluster effort in a 5-2 loss Tuesday to the Dallas Stars. It was a throwback of sorts.
“I hadn’t done, actually, a skate like that since we lost [5-0] to Buffalo my first [full] year – in Buffalo,” Boudreau said Wednesday. “When I took a day off [away from] them and brought them back here and skated them. And I think it was very similar.”
The proof of whether this week’s huff-and-puff practice worked will come Friday night in Newark, N.J., when the Caps face the Devils.
But it’s worth looking back at that last instance Boudreau brought up to see how that worked out for the Caps. He was asked if he remembered what happened after that bag skate.
“Yup,” Boudreau said. “I think we ended up going pretty well.”
The game occurred on Saturday, Nov. 1, 2008. Sunday is a pretty common off-day around the NHL, but it wasn’t this time. Just like this time the Caps had a recuperation day between the bag skate and game day. The first game back was a 2-1 overtime loss at the Senators on Nov. 4.
Then, magic. The Caps won five in a row and six of seven, picking up points in all those games.
That said, some players made it clear they just don’t like bag skates. Boudreau knows, but if it gets result, it’s worth a chance.
“Well, I believe that they don’t want to do it,” he said. “They know they’re a good hockey club. They know they got to get their act in gear a little bit.”