As 'mental exhaustion' subsides, Caps know how to get back on track

Chris Lingebach
February 01, 2019 - 8:38 pm
As 'mental exhaustion' subsides, Caps know how to get back on track

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Capitals return from an eight-day layoff refreshed and ready to get in gear for the home stretch of the regular season.

The Caps limped into the All-Star break with a seven-game losing streak, having lost 10 of their last 13 games. But, coming off a Stanley Cup championship in 2018, "mental exhaustion" was bound to set in at some point, Devante Smith-Pelly was reluctant to admit during his weekly Grant & Danny appearance, presented by F.H. Furr.

"The temperature and the mood is good," Smith-Pelly said of the state of the Caps' locker room as they emerge from the break. "Not to make any excuses, but we knew that it was a long year last year, and going into this year there was going to be a little bit of mental exhaustion."

"I think from Christmas until this break, you can kind of see that guys were a little mentally tired," he noted. "We know there's no more breaks now and it's obviously the stretch run, so everyone knows that it's time to kind of get going here."

Asked what's most important for the Caps to do now, Smith-Pelly returned, "Honestly, just getting back to how we can play."

"It sounds pretty vague," he said, "but we're the same team as last year and it worked last year. We know it works, obviously. So, just getting back to playing how tight we were playing the majority of last year and just playing back to the structure we played at last year, because there's no doubt in anyone's mind that it works. We just got to get back to it."

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