Despite varying systems and styles of play, hockey is something of a universal language. D.C., meanwhile, can require some adjusting.
Take rent prices.
That’s what new Capitals forward Joey Crabb found most surprising about the location of his latest team—and he’s lived in both Chicago and Toronto.
“This doesn’t even compare to them,” Crabb says of D.C.’s high rent, though he adds he likes the city.
New Capitals defenseman Jack Hillen, meanwhile, is adjusting to the traffic.
“Man, it’s congested out here,” Hillen says. “I come from the suburbs of Minneapolis—it’s not that congested. I can get to downtown in 25 minutes on a heavy day.”
His locker stall at Kettler may not be much better when it comes to congestion, as the newbie sits next to fellow defenseman Karl Alzner—whose ability to turn a good quote on any subject means Hillen’s stall is prime real estate for media overflow.
As a newcomer, Hillen explains how it’s helpful for him that the guy calling the shots behind the bench is a new face as well—head coach Adam Oates.
“A lot of times, when you come into a new place, and the coach is already there, he knows what all the other players can do, but he doesn’t know what you can do,” Hillen said. “Now, I’ve kind of come in, and it’s the same for everybody. It’s a clean slate for everybody.”
Although Sunday was only the first official day of training camp, Hillen doesn’t think it will take long to get used to Oates’ new system—likely a good thing, since the Capitals have less than a week before their season opener.
“He did a really good job explaining it [the system] to us already, and I feel like maybe a couple practices, and one game, and you should know what you’re doing out there,” Hillen says. “With the communication that I’ve had with him so far, I think he does a great job of letting us know what he expects of us and what he sees from the bench.”
Crabb expanded on the Oates-communication thread.
“He’s been great. He’s pulled pretty much everyone into the office and talked to him one on one,” Crabb said. “I’ve already had a one-on-one meeting with him. And it’s not about necessarily the big picture, or whatever, but he’s already talked to me about my stick and my curve, and little things like that. … So far, there’s been a lot of detail in just that short amount of time, so I’m expecting quite a lot more.”
“I’ve seen him have meetings with almost everybody here—one on one, or in small groups, and he’s just trying to get the best out of us,” Hillen says