No pushover, Reirden has 'given it to us pretty good' behind closed doors

Chris Lingebach
February 07, 2019 - 7:02 pm
No pushover, Reirden has 'given it to us pretty good' behind closed doors

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Does Todd Reirden lack the iron fist necessary to keep the Capitals in line?

This is a question that's been gaining steam since Sunday, when the first-year head coach drew a line in the sand over dumb penalties, benching Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitrij Jaskin for several shifts against Boston.

Caps analyst Alan May speculated that Reirden waited too late in the season to tighten his grip, that he should have course-corrected some time around 20 games ago.

But Jaskin and Kuzy weren't the first players to be sat down by Reirden, Devante Smith-Pelly shared during his weekly 106.7 The Fan appearance, presented by F.H. Furr. An earlier benching occurred two weeks earlier.

"No. That started earlier, I think," Smith-Pelly said. "I think I took a pretty dumb penalty in Chicago and took us off the power play, and I got sat down for a couple shifts."

"I don't think it's been new," he added. "I think we talked about it probably a couple games before the Chicago game and I think I was the first guy to take a dumb penalty after that, so I kind of paid for it.

"So I don't think it was anything new with those two guys last game sitting. Just like when I sat, you sit your couple shifts and then Todd gives you a chance to redeem yourself out there. That's what he did with me and that's what he did with those guys the other night."

Smith-Pelly was asked if Reirden possesses the same ability as Barry Trotz, to take a more forceful tone with the players when the situation calls for it.

"Yeah. I think there's been a couple instances when the door is closed where he's given it to us pretty good," he said. "He's definitely got that and he's definitely raised his voice at us a couple times this year. I mean, not often, but when he needs to get his point across, he knows how to get it across. In regards to that, two different personalities, but both guys can get what they want out of guys with however they need to."

As for their former coach, Trotz has the Islanders in first place in the Metro, looking down at the Caps with 30 games to go.

"Yeah he's done a great job over there," Smith-Pelly said. "I mean, obviously we saw last year the system works and I guess he's gotten all those guys to really, really buy in and they're doing well."

"We're all happy for him until we have to play 'em in the playoffs," he quipped.

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