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ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Washington Capitals would never say this, but we will: they had a harder time getting home from Montreal than they did handling the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre this week.
The Caps flew out of Montreal at about 11:20 p.m. following Wednesday's 6-3 triumph, a win that gave them a 3-1 series lead, and were expected to land at Washington Dulles International Airport. However, just before landing, they were told there was too much fog and their plane would have to divert to Washington National Airport.
But, again, fog forced a change of plans.
Finally, the team landed at Baltimore-Washington Airport (BWI) shortly after 1 a.m., but that wasn't the end of the adventure for the weary Caps.
Because there were no customs officials at BWI to process the team -- having departed Canada, of course -- they had to wait on the plane for close to three hours while staff was called in to the airport. At one point, the team thought it would have to wait until 6 a.m., when the next shift started; but agents were made available and the players were processed between 3:45 and 4 a.m.
Once the players were processed, some took cabs back to Dulles, where their vehicles had been parked at the start of the two-game road trip. Others went straight home, but had to return to pick up their vehicles Thursday.
It was no surprise, then, that coach Bruce Boudreau canceled practice.
"It was a pretty long night, but we made it through and we're getting a good day off today. It's going to be good to get a little bit of sleep today," said Eric Fehr, one of a handful of Capitals who were at the team's practice facility. "Guys were getting antsy in the first hour [waiting for customs], kind of chirping at each other and making fun of each other; but after that, we just all calmed down and tried to fall asleep in our seats because it was getting late."
"Yeah, that was rough," added defenseman Joe Corvo. "I didn't get to bed until 5 a.m. I'm a little foggy today."
Ah, good one. Get it? Foggy?
Guess you had to be there.