We’ve all been there.

That day you go back to work or school after a long vacation. Even if you like your job, you get that feeling of dread as that day approaches. It consumes you. You don’t want to get out of bed, you don’t want to go into the office and you definitely don’t want to work.

It was a very short summer for the Capitals who saw their season end in mid-June. After a grueling 82-game season followed by another 24 playoff games, not only did the Caps put in more work than every team in the league last season except Vegas, they also had less time to recover.

But the long season is not the biggest obstacle facing the Caps as they return to Washington, at least not according to Evgeny Kuznetsov.

“It’s not the long season, it’s most the celebration after,” Kuznetsov said after an on-ice workout Wednesday at MedStar Iceplex. “It’s kind of tough to stop and focus on the work.”

It may have been a short offseason, but it was a long party.

But at some point over the summer, the players had to flip the switch and move on from celebrating a championship to preparing to defend it.

For Kuznetsov, he was forced to train get back into shape quickly to keep up with the players he trains with.

“I did a great job with the guys I practice with,” Kuznetsov said. “When I get back home, they already practice so I have to go and practice with them so thanks for them.”


The challenge the team now faces, however, is not just a physical one.

As the defending champs, Washington will enter the season with a target on its back. That means trouble if the team enters the season satisfied with a championship rather than hungry for a repeat.

“Of course there's some teams going to think about that, going to talk about that, they want to play against the Stanley Cup champ,” Kuznetsov said. “I don't think we have to change anything, we just have to play our game. That's history already. We have to focus on the next future.”