3 Developments to Devils-Capitals

Well, the weather outside is weather …

Just like you and me, nobody is immune to the weather, especially leading up to tonight’s battle against Alex Ovechkin.

From Cory Schneider to the entire Washington Capitals, things happen. Have a read at what’s been going on for the Devils, and Capitals, before both teams face off at the Rock.

[Watch Devils-Capitals on MSG+ & MSG GO. Download the app for free]

1 Homesick

Schneider has looked great on the ice this season, but off the ice is another story as of late. He said this morning, “It’s been a rough start to the New Year at home.”
 
The flu bug has hit the Schneider household and, with a toddler and a newborn, he’s been more worried about his son and daughter than the 24-hour version that hit him Monday, which kept him out of Tuesday’s win against the Islanders in Brooklyn.
 
Especially, in light of the serious flu strain this year, Cory reassured us that everyone is starting to feel better – including him. But, he figures he lost at least five pounds in just a day and a half, and couldn’t skate the last two days … So John Hynes will give him another night off tonight against the Capitals, opting to start Keith Kinkaid for a second straight game.

2 What's in a Number?

Hynes was chatting this morning about moving Kyle Palmieri down to the third line with Miles Wood and Pavel Zacha when he said something pretty interesting. The Palmieri move, in his eyes, was not a move down.
 
“I don’t see Pavel Zacha as a third-line player, as much as I don’t see Travis Zajac as only a second-line player. A lot of people make a big deal about the top-6. We have four good lines that can play in any situation against anyone, and if a line is going (well), they play more.”
 
Hynes has so far shown that that’s his style. He’s not a blender guy … He switches players onto different lines to try and find a spark. The New Jersey bench boss tends instead to just give more ice time to the line that’s going.

3 Pilot Light

Coming off their five-day bye, the Capitals planned to fly to Newark to practice at Prudential Center the day before their game against the Devils.

You know what they say about best-laid plans, because of weather delays in other cities, they were unable to find a pilot to fly their charter from Washington, DC to Newark in time to hit the ice. Because of the NHLPA‘s agreement with the league, teams can travel before 4 p.m, but not practice.

So, the Caps will have had plenty of rest before their game Thursday night at the Rock. Capital’s Head Coach Barry Trotz said he prefers to call it, “Resty, not Rusty. The first thing to go is your hands and the lungs.”

So he tried to give them some of that at the morning skate – a taste of the practice they missed … instead of what they’d normally do a few hours before a game. We hear a lot about rest versus rust when they get to the MLB playoffs and even the NFL playoffs – where teams have postseason byes. It’s hard to imagine an NHL team getting a bye into the next round.

And, just as hard to imagine a one-game playoff to send one team into the next round, and another team home for the summer.

That’s why the Stanley Cup is still the hardest trophy to win in sports.

[Watch Devils-Capitals on MSG+ & MSG GO. Download the app for free]