ARLINGTON, V.A. — On the morning of the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline, Tom Wilson and the Washington Capitals found themselves refreshing their social media feeds prior to the team’s optional skate, waiting for news of moves to break.
Wilson compared the Capitals’ emotions and reactions to trade deadline day to the media, as they found themselves waiting for transactions to come out.
“Probably a little bit like you guys… everyone was just, like, glued to their phone,” Tom Wilson said. “Most stuff gets leaked to Twitter before any of us find out about it.”
It’s an occurrence that has happened once or twice before. Marc-Andre Fleury, for instance, found out he had been traded to the Chicago Blackhawks on Twitter. On another occasion, Brendan Perlini’s mom broke the news to him that the Edmonton Oilers placed him on waivers after she caught the news on social media.
Daniel Sprong, who Washington traded to the Seattle Kraken in exchange for Marcus Johansson on Monday, said that he and the team had heard the speculation that Johansson would be coming to D.C. However, he didn’t realize he was the return until the front office pulled him aside. That, mixed in with the rumor mill, was when Wilson started putting the pieces of the trade together.
“This morning, all of a sudden, there’s whispers. And then Spronger gets kind of taken aside like, ‘Oh, something must be happening,'” Wilson explained.
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Nicklas Backstrom admitted that he and the players do read Twitter and that the players have grown accustomed to seeing news break there and reports come together. Like Sprong, Backstrom had heard the speculation on No. 90. So when Johansson came back to D.C., Backstrom wasn’t surprised. JoJo then confirmed the news to his close friends with an “I’m back” text.
“Obviously, I read Twitter like a lot of other people… we’re kind of used to it. But I think when Twitter just started, it was kind of weird seeing stuff on there,” Backstrom noted. “But now, I think we’re used to it.”
While Wilson agreed that it’s something that has become status quo in the world of everchanging technology, No. 43 said it can be tough on players to learn about their futures or their teammates’ futures through tweets.
“That’s probably the breaking news now is everything that goes on online. So you’ll be in touch with it a little bit,” Wilson said, adding, “it’s become such a big part of everything nowadays that there’s kind of whispers. And then someone’s kind of breaking it, but it’s not official. And everyone’s trying to get it first and is that true, is it not, is the deal actually going to go through? There’s a ton of that nowadays… you pick up on things. But it’s not as easy [for] the players.”
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At the end of the day, Wilson explained that players “realize pretty quick that it’s a business,” and that trades can be either a major boost when a big name comes in, as well as a tough loss when a beloved guy leaves for another club. Still, at the end of the day, it’s all about the team and making the right decisions on behalf of the group to make a deep run.
“I think there’s a level of, not excitement, but breaking news that guys kind of pay attention to on days like today. It’s not our job to make those decisions. We show up kind of like every other day. And tomorrow, whatever our team will be, it’s kind of go time, and it’s ready to get after it.
“…You realize a guy’s life kind of gets uprooted and is kind of shipped off,” Wilson added. “And not to panic, but it’s like, ‘Oh, I got to pack, I’ve got to leave. I’ve got to find where my new team is.’ You never want to see a guy go through that.”