Capitals defenseman Brenden Dillon was a guest on ESPN On Ice with Wyshynski and Kaplan on Tuesday.
Dillon talked about how he’s coping with his quarantine life (Disney tunes) and the “lucky” trade deadline deal that brought him to Washington. The longtime Shark also spoke about the TikTok video he created with his girlfriend Emma Wittchow last month. Dillon and Wittchow took the Dip and Lean Challenge.
“When you spend two to three weeks in a hotel there’s only so many puzzles or Netflix you can watch and do,” Dillon joked.
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“I don’t wanna throw any of the guys under the bus from the Capitals, but TikTok was something that was around pregame meals,” Dillon said. “Guys were scrolling through and checking them out. Like I said, I don’t wanna name any names. By the end of it there, I’d be brushing my teeth in the morning and busting out something in front of the mirror. I have to blame the ole lady for that one, but she roped me into it.”
Dillon’s video was spread on social media and RMNB posted a story.
“Man, did that take off quick,” he said.
But for those hoping Dilly will dance more, I have bad news.
“I think it’s probably gonna have to be my last with the amount of chirps I took from the guys and friends back home,” Dillon said. “It was a short-lived dance career, but I’ll stick to hockey.”
Here are other questions Dillon answered.
Where are you right now, and how would you describe the last couple weeks of your life during the coronavirus pandemic?
Brenden Dillon: “I’m back in San Jose, CA at my condo here. I was shacked up in Residence Inn Marriott Arlington for 10 games/three weeks. I could almost consider myself a geography major now with the amount of traveling I’ve done in the last couple of weeks. But I’m happy and safe and trying to make the most of this time.”
Were you shocked at how far everything here was versus the rest of the country? It feels like the Bay Area was a couple of weeks ahead of the rest of the country. Did you feel that going from DC back west?
Brenden Dillon: “I did. A big thing when I did get traded to Washington, is it’s pretty surreal. When you’re driving to the rink there’s the White House. Everything going on there. It translates to the TV too, when you only have 15-20 channels on there, you find yourself watching Fox or CNN a little more. Almost within a week or two of me getting traded was when things started getting really serious in Santa Clara County when they were starting to instill the shelter in place, and there were talks that the Sharks game were gonna be no fans. I remember when I got out east and guys were starting to ask me about it, how bad it was in the area, and I remember thinking it was something being talked about, but it wasn’t what it is now. I think my time out there, things were starting to get more serious, you were starting to see more masks, and I was fortunate when I flew back the amount of Lysol wipes, masks, gloves…I felt fairly safe on there.”
You were only with the Capitals for three weeks. What were those 3 weeks like? What impressed you about the team? What surprised you?
Brenden Dillon: “It was a crazy time, this season in general, being someone who was traded midseason right at the deadline. I would consider myself lucky to go to a team like Washington. Not just because of the team being in first place and the opportunity towin a Stanley Cup, but the guys on the team, the culture they’ve created there. When you get to meet the Alex Ovechkin’s and the Tom Wilson’s and the Nick Backstrom’s, and these guys that have had so much success over the last however many years, you see how much fun they have around the rink, but once it comes time to get into games they don’t mess around. I think that’s kind of an infectious thing, whether you’re a young guy coming in or a free agent that’s just signed or gotten traded they know how to do it right. I felt super part of the group. I felt like a piece of the puzzle that was going to help us get better. And it’s just very unfortunate with everything that’s going on now that we can’t continue to play hockey and continue on that quest.”
Just curious what it’s like now? Are you included on the group text?
Brenden Dillon: “I’m still in the group chats. I recently purchased an XBOX about a week ago. And me and Tommy Wilson and TJ Oshie have been having some tee times to kind of get ourselves away from the craziness.”
You played so long with one Hall of Famer in Jumbo. I was wondering if you’ve gotten a sense of Ovi yet, and if anything about him away from the ice has opened your eyes, versus what your preconceptions might have been?
Brenden Dillon: “It doesn’t matter how many games you’ve played, when you meet Joe Thorton or an Alex Ovechkin for the first time there are a bit of nerves. We’re talking about some of the greatest players of all time. Even as a kid playing juniors, I was watching the highlight reels of Ovi, of Jumbo, and I was fortunate enough to play with Jumbo for 6 years and see the work he puts in to get himself to the level that he’s at. It’s no surprise or fluke that he’s had so much success. (talks about Jumbo) I think for Ovi, he’s a leader. He’s a guy that’s in the room. He’s playing the right way, you know in Washington they like to play that skilled game, but physicality is a big thing. He’s a guy that when you talk about goalscorers you could argue that he is the best goal scorer of all time. I was super lucky to be a part of his 700 goal game in NJ. He’s a gamer. He’s a guy that wants to win, and I think he proved a lot of people wrong in winning the Stanley Cup, and not just winning it but being a big part of the team for so many years.”
You’re set to become a UFA. Have you thought at all about this summer might be a little bit different than you imagined and what impact that might have on you?
Brenden Dillon: “It’s something I think for a lot of free agents (mentions big names) in a normal year you’d think that things would go as scheduled, whether they’d sign with their teams before July 1 or in that short window after, but we don’t even really know when that period is going to start, we don’t even know if our seasons are over yet. There’s just so many what-ifs and unknowns….for a guy like myself who’s in a new situation getting to know a lot of his teammates. You know it was funny sharing a hotel with Ilya Kovalchuk for those couple weeks…We talked a little bit about his time in MTL and how much he enjoyed it. And me coming from a team where I was for a long period of time.”
Has there been one night where you’ve been watching a show or reading a book, and you’re like ‘what the hell am I doing?!’
Brenden Dillon: “Since I’ve been back here I’ve been organizing, packing up, and doing housing stuff, whether that’s painting or mini renovations. Next thing I knew I found a couple Disney songs being blasted on my [stereo] and I think I had it going for at least an hour. And I’m singing along to Frozen, Aladdin, or Lion King.”
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