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Caps Need Suitcases, Finally

It’s an unusual occurrence for NHL players to spend just two nights away from their own beds in a span of more than a month. But as the Capitals head out to Edmonton for their first multi-night road trip of the season, that’s the situation they find themselves in. Since reporting for training camp on Sept. 16, the Caps have spent just two of the last 39 nights away from the comforts of home. The Capitals played just two of their first seven games this season on the road, and those two were separate one-game journeys to Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, respectively. “I think our front office does a great job of working out the schedule,” says Caps center Brooks Laich. “It seems for some reason to favor us every year. I don’t think that’s luck, that’s good work by them. They realize the more we can stay at home and the more we can rest, the better. And also being at home that length of time, it allows us to do something like on this trip where if we want to get accustomed to the time change, we can travel a day earlier because we’ve been at home for quite a while. I think it’s good planning by our front office.” As I wrote last week, brutal road scheduling has undone many Capitals teams of bygone seasons. Regardless of what happens on this two-game journey, the Caps have already ensured themselves of having the best October record in franchise history. “It’s been unbelievable,” says Caps winger Jason Chimera. “We went to Pittsburgh and Philly, and they were in quick hits. I think it helps you get into the game, and it helps you get into the rhythm of the season. It’s nice going on a longer trip, and it’s nice to get off to a good start, but I think the schedule we have had has a lot to do with it.” With some off nights on the road between games, the players will have the opportunity to spend more time together than they have over the last month and a half. “When you go on a long road trip,” says Chimera, “you usually get some team dinners. You go out together as a team, you hang around the hotel together, play some cards or whatever. “It’s a good thing to get on the road. Ultimately, you become closer as a team on the road because you hang out together – sometimes a little more than you want to with some guys – but it’s fun to get out on the road and spend some time with the guys, that’s for sure.”