Capitals

Quick Links

Vrana laments losing good friend Bowey to trade: 'You figured out you won't see him again'

bowey-vrana-regan.png
USA Today Sports Images

Vrana laments losing good friend Bowey to trade: 'You figured out you won't see him again'

If you watched the Capitals come onto the ice for pregame warmups or between intermissions either this season or last, you could see two players coming out of the tunnel holding hands. The narrow tunnel does not allow for players to stand side-by-side, but that did not deter Jakub Vrana and Madison Bowey. Friends from their days in Hershey, it became a pregame tradition for them to hold hands as they came out onto the ice for games.

Now that pregame tradition is one-man short.

Bowey was traded to the Detroit Red Wings on Friday as part of a package that landed Washington defenseman Nick Jensen. The move presents a new start for Bowey who had precipitously slid down the Capitals’ depth chart. But it also meant Vrana was losing one of his closest friends on the team.

“When you lose a friend like this, it's not a nice feeling because you spend a couple of years with him, right?” Vrana told NBC Sports Washington. “Really good friends. Been hanging out a lot and have a good practice together. Once the practice end, you just figured out you won't see him again.”

The trade deadline is a fun time for hockey fans who dream of all the moves their team can make. What players can they add? Who will play where in the lineup? Can they fit this player under the salary cap? Is there a defenseman available?

From the outside, these moves appear to be a little more than moving around chess pieces on a board. On the inside, however, these are players with families and friends who suddenly have to drop everything and start a new life in a new city.

“No one really thinks they're going to get traded unless they're told that they're going to get traded,” Brett Connolly said, “So it always comes as a shock to guys when they do get traded. I've been traded once and it really changes your life. Everything just changes in split second. Going through it, it's not an easy process. Obviously with our group you want to stay here and be a part of it because we did win last year and we're obviously going to try and make another run at it this year.”

The quest to repeat is now something that Bowey will not get to be a part of. He has gone from the defending champions to a Detroit team that sits near the bottom of the league standings. But despite the turmoil and shock that comes with getting traded, this could actually prove beneficial for Bowey’s career.

Bowey was clearly falling down the depth chart in Washington, getting passed by other young players like Christian Djoos and Jonas Siegenthaler. In Detroit, he will get an everyday role for the rest of this season and presumably next season as well.

“Hopefully he will do good,” Vrana said. “I want all the best for him. He's a great guy, he's a great teammate and hopefully he will settle in pretty good in Detroit.”

Bowey’s new opportunity comes at a cost, however, and it is one that both he and Vrana will have to pay. It means uprooting his life in Washington to make the move to Detroit and it means for Vrana losing a friend in the locker room thanks to a situation he had no control over.

Still relatively new to the NHL, that feeling of helplessness that came at this year’s deadline certainly stuck out to Vrana.

“It's kind of new to me,” he said. “I haven't gone through lots of [trade deadlines] in my career so that was like a big first one I think. Obviously last year we brought in couple of guys. It's just part of the hockey, this trade deadlines. It's just how it is. We're just here to play. We can do our best on the ice, but those kind of things other people take care of. It stinks you cannot control. You just come here and play.”

Vrana will miss his friend’s presence in the locker room. Now when he takes the ice, he will do so alone.

When asked if he would get someone else to replace Bowey for his pregame ritual, Vrana said, “I don't think so. I think it's over.”

MORE CAPITALS NEWS: 

Quick Links

NHL Players' Association Executive Board approves return-to-ice plan as league takes one step closer to return

NHL Players' Association Executive Board approves return-to-ice plan as league takes one step closer to return

The NHL took another step toward a return to the ice late on Tuesday night when the Executive Board of the NHL Players’ Association approved the tentative agreement between the league and its union. 

There are still two steps to go. The NHLPA Executive Board now opens up the memorandum of understanding to its full membership. Every player will have a vote. The NHL Board of Governors also must approve the MOU. 

If that happens? We will have hockey soon – barring the coronavirus pandemic wrecking things as it has for months. 

Players will report to their team facilities by July 13 for training camps as the league attempts to execute its return-to-play plan. Twenty-four teams will travel to the two hub cities, Toronto and Edmonton, on July 26 for round-robin games, qualifying playoff games and the full 16-team Stanley Cup playoffs. 

There is no set date for when owners must approve the memorandum, but players are expected to be finished their vote by next Monday in time for training camps.

RELATED: NHL, NHLPA ADD 4 YEARS TO CURRENT CBA  

The Capitals are set to play the Bruins, Flyers and Lightning in a round-robin tournament for seeding in the Eastern Conference. The defending champion Blues, Oilers, Avalanche and Golden Knights will do the same in the Western Conference. 

The 16 other teams that will continue play have a best-of-five preliminary round to whittle the Stanley Cup field to its usual 16 teams playing best-of-seven series. 
The agreement also extends the current Collective Bargaining Agreement until at least 2026, buying labor peace the NHL has rarely found with its players. It also opens the door to Winter Olympics participation in Beijing (2022) and Milan (2026). 

Now, we wait for the next two crucial votes and hockey will be in sight. 

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE CAPITALS TALK PODCAST

Stay connected to the Capitals with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE CAPITALS NEWS:

 

Quick Links

NHL, NHL Players' Association agree to tentative return-to-play plan, CBA extension

NHL, NHL Players' Association agree to tentative return-to-play plan, CBA extension

The NHL and NHL Players' Association came to a tentative agreement on a Return to Play plan and added four years to the current Collective Bargaining Agreement on Monday evening.

Players will report to their team facilities by July 13 for training camps as the league attempts to return from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Twenty four teams will travel to the two hub cities, Toronto and Edmonton, on July 26 for round-robin games, qualifying playoff games and the full 16-team Stanley Cup playoffs. 

The memorandum of understanding still must be approved by the full NHL Board of Governors and the NHLPA’s Executive Board and full membership. That process will take place this week with no formal date set for ratification by all parties. 

That brings the NHL a huge step closer to its long-awaited return to the ice. There are still hurdles between now and then, however.

MLS was set to begin play this week on its own before FC Dallas had to withdraw from the MLS Is Back tournament in Orlando when 10 players and a staff member tested positive for the coronavirus. The NHL shut down on March 12 and entered the day with 35 players testing positive for the novel coronavirus since June 8.

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE CAPITALS TALK PODCAST

There is still a long way to go before the Capitals arrive in Toronto to play round-robin games against the Flyers, Bruins and Lightning. Those games and the qualifying round for now are set to start Aug. 1. 

That’s the big news for this season. There was more news for the future, though. The NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement was set to expire after the 2021-22 season. 

Now, it will continue through 2025-26. NHL players will return to the Winter Olympics in 2022 (Beijing) and 2026 (Milan) - as long as the league and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) can agree on terms. That’s always a giant question mark, but at least there’s hope there. Players were furious at having to miss the 2018 games in South Korea after the IIHF and the NHL failed to agree. 

It could still be a week before NHL players can approve the deal and the coronavirus has proved for months it can wreck anything at any time. But for now, hockey is on track to return next month. 

Stay connected to the Capitals with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE CAPITALS NEWS: