Todd Reirden plans to keep practices light during Stanley Cup playoffs

Josh Luckenbaugh
April 08, 2019 - 8:17 am

What's Todd Reirden's master plan to keep the Capitals fresh as they look to go back-to-back in the Stanley Cup playoffs?

Lighter practices. 

"How we practiced last year going into a series, we've already adjusted," Reirden told The Sports Junkies Monday. "We practiced hard every day going into Columbus, and I felt like we didn't have the right amount of jump, the right amount of juice and energy to start."

If you'll remember, the Caps fell behind two games to none in their first round matchup with the Blue Jackets in the 2018 playoffs. While they eventually dug themselves out of that hole and then of course went on to win the franchise's first Stanley Cup, Reirden doesn't wants this year's team working from behind. 

"It's important to take certain experiences and learn from them, and one of them is to not make it so difficult on ourselves," he said. "We're planning on playing for a long time, so let's take care of business as quickly as possible." 

"And we know it's not gonna be easy, it's gonna take a number of twists and turns, and we have to be ready to deal with that. And we are, but that's something that we've changed a little bit — how our calendar is set up, for example — to give us, we feel, a better chance for success in Game 1." 

"Just a little bit more of a plan in place. With how hard we're gonna practice, maybe there'll be an optional in there, so it's keeping with the successful schedule that we've had really since the trade deadline that's given our players a better chance to have success."

The Capitals will face a favorable opponent on paper in Round One of the 2019 playoffs in the Carolina Hurricanes, a team Washington swept in the regular season. But as you'd expect, Reirden isn't looking past the Hurricanes. 

"They're a heavy shot volume team, and we knew that going when we played them just recently, and that's something they've found a lot of success by doing," Reirden told the Junkies. "They're a team that's been right at the top in terms of heavy shot volume all year, and then they try to win scrums at the net and win battles there."

"It's something that's worked extremely well for them, and they've got a good D-core that can deliver pucks on net and get pucks into areas around the front of the net. And then they compete and they battle, and that's a trademark of their coach (Rod Brind'Amour) and how he played."

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