Brenden Dillon was a guest on Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek’s 31 Thoughts podcast last week.
Dillon, who was traded by the Sharks to the Capitals at the trade deadline for two high draft picks, spoke about his eagerness to restart the season and lamented about the possible missed opportunities if the season is ultimately canceled.
“I am currently on the west coast here in San Jose, California,” Dillon began. “There’s definitely a lot of what-ifs going on for the life of a hockey player right now. For myself especially. I’m supposed to have some big plans this summer. There was a wedding [on] the horizon which definitely has some question marks on if it’s going to be follow-throughed right now. You know, hockey season, which I’ve got my fingers crossed, is going to be headed back soon. For now, just trying to do my best to stay in shape here. Mom and dad, family, everybody here is in one piece. Just hopeful to get back to some sort of normalcy here in the world.”
The Capitals’ season was officially suspended on March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Dillon believes the stakes are too high for the NHL to cancel the season.
“I think we are going to come back and play,” Dillon said. “I just think there’s so much invested. Not just talking about money. But I’m talking about the games we’ve played. I mean, we’re talking 70 games or whatever we finished with. Guys getting injured, guys getting traded like myself. These opportunities that might never come again for some players.”
Dillon added that “[f]or a lot of us, we’ll play on planet Jupiter right now. We’re just so excited and revved up to play.”
Dillon is one of the rare players who still has gym access despite most across the country being closed for the last few months. He also made two special workout purchases.
“My condo is only so big for fitting a gym in here,” Dillon said. “My next-door neighbor here owns a gym and him and his wife have been expecting a kid for the last couple weeks. I kind of ran into him when I first got back. He went, ‘Hey, my gym’s collecting dust downtown if you want to have my key to it.’ So I’ve just been popping in there in the mornings and again been super fortunate and lucky to have that to just get out and break a sweat and kind of get somewhat into shape here. I ordered a pair of rollerblades, which I’m trying to get as close to a hockey stride as possible. And Peloton’s all ordered up. It hasn’t been here. It’s on backorder. Just trying to do my part for sure.”
The towering defenseman added that he was very impressed by the Capitals’ family-like atmosphere when he first arrived to the team in February.
“There’s a reason they’ve had so much success over the last few years,” Dillon said. “They are a tight-knit group. They are a group that’s very welcoming. They made me feel right at home. First off, I had to learn my handshake before I could truly be accepted by them. Once I really got in there with those guys whether it was John helping me out with a certain play or a certain breakout or TJ Oshie skating over and asking me what I’m doing for dinner. I think that was a family-like welcoming mentality they had there. They’ll do anything. Looking at the team on paper and getting to know the guys top to bottom, it’s pretty amazing how that team is constructed. Hopefully, we can finish this season in some capacity. What a team and what a group.”
Like many of us quarantined at home, Dillon revealed that he’s struggling with anxiety. The stakes are high for the British Columbia native. On top of his wedding in the summer potentially getting canceled, he is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. The 2019-20 season also marks one of his best shots ever to win the Stanley Cup.
“I find myself having a lot more time on my hands these days. The overthinking and the worrying about this, worrying about that. That starts to creep in,” Dillon said. “There’s so much time on our hands. Hockey is all we think about. It’s a very unique situation. A lot of us are just trying to find gyms, yet alone ice time, to be able to hone our craft and stay somewhat in shape. Just even for scheduling purposes, when will we be headed back to our team’s city and when things are going to resume? As you said, even looking forward to next year for some of us that are free agents this summer. There’s a lot of what-ifs right now. The biggest thing is trying to stay as focused as you can. Guys have families. Guys are back home with families and all these types of things, which is big for getting away from the circus of the world right now that we’re living in and trying to stay safe first and foremost.”
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