The Washington Times - November 18, 2011, 02:32PM

TORONTO | The Capitals finally made it to their Toronto hotel by about 3:30 a.m., after a loss to the Jets and flight from Winnipeg. They’ve lost two in a row, but Friday didn’t include a hard practice to fix mistakes.

In fact, it didn’t include any practice.


Coach Bruce Boudreau canceled practice and instead held team meetings at Air Canada Centre, a chance to give his worn-down players some time off.

“I think they’ve been on the ice a lot and travel and that … I just want them to take the time off and rest,” Boudreau said. “With games Saturday, Monday, Wednesday, it seems never-ending. There’s not a chance sometimes, with us getting in at 3:30 in the morning last night, I didn’t think a practice would really accomplish a lot. Sometimes not being on the is as good. Last week we skated them really hard; this week you try a different tactic.”

It’s a different tactic that was greeted with positive response – and not a whole lot of surprise – from Caps players, who said the mood around the team wasn’t that bad.

“I think some of the guys are feeling tired, some of the guys are a little under the weather,” defenseman Karl Alzner said. “But mentally it’s good, more than anything – just being around hockey for another day would just, I think, maybe be a little more draining.”

Clapping could be heard from the visiting locker room at the conclusion of the meeting, and players were upbeat. Last week’s bag skate served one purpose and this a totally different one.

“Sometimes you just need to get away from the game and forget about what happened – take the negatives and take the learning tools from it,” right wing Troy Brouwer said. “Just give yourself a chance to recharge.”

On this three-games-in-five-days road trip, several players look noticeably tired. Saturday in Toronto will test not only their physical limits because it’s another game after traveling but their patience with answering questions from the hockey-crazed local (and national) media.

Friday was more or less an escape from all that – and maybe just what the Caps needed.

“Now it’s forgetting about it all,” Alzner said. “We talked amongst ourselves and it’s just good now to mull it over and come back tomorrow, a new day.”