Friday was game day for the Capitals’ AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears, but by noon, center Mathieu Perreault got the call saying he’d be going to D.C. instead to be part of the Capitals’ NHL roster Saturday night. Perreault is a self-styled “energy player,” and the type of player who could help the banged-up, production-starved Capitals snap a two-game losing streak that saw only two total goals on offense.
After Perreault gets off the phone bearing the good news with Bears’ General Manager Doug Yingst Friday there was one more call that needed to be made immediately: the call to his parents back in Quebec, letting them know he was back playing on an NHL roster. Perreault spent 21 games with the Capitals last season, but after a strong 2010 training camp and preseason, he was sent back to Hershey to start the regular season there. Suffice to say: the phone call home Friday was one Perreault savored.
Perreault’s next stop Friday was to the rink to get his hockey equipment, then back home to pack. Callups make packing difficult — Perreault doesn’t know how long he’ll be in Washington. He could be sent back the next day to Hershey or spend a couple weeks there. So, he decided to pack for one week.
“I always pack more than less, so if I’m here longer, then I’m fine,” the young pivot told me Saturday morning out at Kettler Capitals Complex.
Perreault said the excitement of getting called up is premised with the initial reaction when the good news comes — that phone call from the Hershey GM — but the drive to Washington is consumed with thoughts of what he’s going to do when he gets there and the game the next day.
“Your brain’s going 100 miles an hour,” a smiling Perreault said.
Matty was on the road by 6:30 or 7 p.m. Friday and arrived in Washington around 9:00. Hershey center Jay Beagle, also summoned, made the trip and played for the Capitals Saturday night. There’s an apartment in the D.C. area for Hershey callups where the two can stay when they arrive Friday. Both were on the ice for Saturday’s morning skate, and both dressed and played in the game that evening.
Perreault said he wants his play to be good enough that he makes it as hard on the Capitals as possible to send him back down.
“Hopefully, they’ll give me one more game,” he said after Saturday’s win over Atlanta, where he had two assists to compliment Alexander Semin’s hat trick.
The fans in Verizon Center, from the sounds of things Saturday night, want a whole lot more than that.