The Washington Capitals held practice Monday morning at MedStar Capitals Iceplex, a day after completing the New York weekend sweep over the Islanders and Rangers. With the weekend sweep, the Capitals returned to the top of the Metropolitan Division, two points ahead of the New York Islanders. Capitals bench boss Todd Reirden met with the media following today’s practice.
Reirden was asked if the new additions of Carl Hagelin and Nick Jensen can have a big impact on the defending Stanley Cup champions.
“Yeah, I think they have already…when they both play we win”, referring to the fact that the Capitals are undefeated with Jensen and Hagelin both in the lineup. “To me, todays practice was at a really high pace, and those are two guys that push the pace of practice. They made our practice pace, for me, better”, said Reirden.
The Capitals head coach added more on Carl Hagelin’s practice effort. “Carl Hagelin, practices the exact same way he plays, and every shift, it’s all-in, speed, never stops pursuing pucks, and he does that in practice today, and still manages to get some guys off their game.”
It remains to be seen if Hagelin and Jensen, both noted for their speed on the ice, will be the final pieces to push the team over the top, but the extra push in practice may be something the team needed.
Reirden was asked about the difficulties of coming to a new team at the trade deadline. (Reirden himself was traded from the Anaheim Ducks organization to the then Phoenix Coyotes at the 2004 trade deadline.) Reirden said, “Hagelin has been through it and understands it, was prepared for it, and for someone like Jensen, for someone going through it the first time, it’s different,” said Reirden. “It’s good to let them know what’s expected of them…practice habits, game preparation, the type of video we watch, and let them know some of our team policies, how I operate with the players.”
The team will hold one more practice tomorrow (Tuesday) at MedStar before departing for Philadelphia ahead of Wednesday night’s tilt with the Flyers.
By Jon Sorensen