News & Politics

Behind the Scenes: Inside the Washington Capitals’ Training Room

Plus—the trainer keeping Caps players in the game.

Photograph by Ron Blunt.

The Washington Capitals make speeding across ice look easy, but the often brutal sport of hockey takes a toll on the body. That’s why Greg Smith, the team’s head athletic trainer—shown at left—is essential. Smith, who has been with the Caps for 12 years, and assistant trainer Ben Reisz go wherever the Caps go, but their base is the main training room at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, the team’s practice facility in Arlington, where Smith asks that injured players report 90 minutes before practice. The room has four treatment tables, state-of-the-art ice machines, and a variety of pads, bandages, and wraps. Even with all of that, the most effective therapy may be Smith’s thumb, skillfully applied to ankle, calf, knee, elbow, and shoulder joints. Forward Matt Hendricks, number 26 (shown with Smith), visits the training room at least five times a day for sessions of 10 or 15 minutes. Of Smith, he says: “He keeps me in the game.”

This article appears in the March 2013 issue of The Washingtonian.