On a normal trip the Washington Capitals fly into the city they are playing in the night before. This has turned out to be an abnormal trip.
The Caps left Verizon Center on Friday night and headed for the airport to fly here to Toronto for their game Saturday against the Maple Leafs. The members of the organization made it to the airport, went through security, boarded the plane and settled in for a one-hour flight north.
That’s when the sparks started flying — literally.
“That’s what the tower said — we see sparks and we don’t think you take off right now and we said OK,” Caps coach Bruce Bodureau said.
So the team and its staff deboarded their charter plane, and the Caps decided that instead of waiting for a couple of hours for the plane to be fixed — which would have meant a very late arrival in Toronto — everybody was sent home.
They spent the night at home before a road game for the first time that Alex Ovechkin could remember, and left Dulles Airport at 10 a.m. Saturday.
“It definitely changes the routine, but it shouldn’t really matter,” Boudreau said. “They are pros and if they can’t deal with that adversity, then they can’t deal with much.”
Hockey players are a creature of habit, but their normal preparations were thrown off by the travel audible. The Caps cancelled the morning skate and didn’t get to their hotel until almost noon.
“It is OK,” Ovechkin said about two hours before the game. “We just came here this morning fresh. I just woke up 20 minutes ago and I feel fresh.”