Mathieu Perreault knows taking care of himself is paramount

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Mathieu Perreault’s Capitals career has included fits and spurts of playing time and success that fizzled out and led to demotions to the Hershey Bears. He played 18 games in November and December of 2009, three more in late March and early April 2010 and the got into three games last October and 32 from December until late February.

But the center who’s generously listed at 5-foot-10 has never been able to stick. So, Bruce Boudreau, why is this time different?

“He’s older. He know more. Experience is a great teacher,” the coach said. “You could go through the times that he’s come up and he’s stayed for a while and the reasons we’ve always told him why he’s gotten sent down. He knows what he has to do.”

Perreault seems to get it now. He didn’t show up early to practice with several teammates at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, but he showed up physically and mentally ready nonetheless.

And after being “down” following last year’s trip back to Hershey, Perreault realizes it starts with how he takes care of his body.

“I’ve got to do better at preparation, I think, to get more sleep, get good food in me and take care of myself a little better. From there I’ll just come to the game and be in great shape and be ready to go,” he said. “When my legs are there, there’s no problems. This is what happened to me last year – sometimes I would get tired and then this is when my game is not as good. So this year I want to take care of myself very good and make sure every time I’m on the ice I’m ready to go.”

Perreault will likely start the season as the 13th forward, but he figures to be the first guy plugged into the lineup in the event of an injury, suspension or slump. Given his offensive prowess (three goals, two assists in preseason), that’s not an issue – but the 23-year-old has his sights set on what to improve on.

“I want to get a little better in my defensive zone. I think offensively I’ve been good at what I do and I think I’ve been OK,” he said. “Maybe just have to work a bit on my defensive game.”

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