Reirden: Struggling Caps lack 'sharp' execution

Josh Luckenbaugh
January 16, 2019 - 12:25 pm

The Capitals have hit a rough patch, the Stanley Cup champs losers of three straight and six of their last nine, including a humiliating 7-2 loss to the Predators Tuesday.

"Having some troubles in a few different areas, and obviously we've won a lot of games earlier on," head coach Todd Reirden told The Sports Junkies Wednesday. "In all reality, it's gonna happen at some point, and just unfortunate we're going through it right now."

Washington is now tied with the Blue Jackets at the top of the Metro Division standings with 59 points, the Penguins and Islanders both lurking just three points behind. Reirden explained he expected a "Stanley Cup hangover," but not in the ways it's cropped up so far.

"In the research I'd done, there would be a little bit of a drop-off at different times after the Stanley Cup run last year and the successes we had, but I didn't expect it to come through injury and through suspension and through having to use guys maybe a little bit more than you should, or some players that you didn't expect to have to use at all," said Reirden. 

"It's been a good situation where our team's been able to get a look at some different players in our organization and put different players in different spots. You got to take the positive from what we've gone through, and I think that in the long run it will help us get back to where we want to be and playing our best hockey at the end of the year."

While teams have made adjustments to the Caps' tactical approach since last year, Reirden says a lack of execution is the main culprit for Washington's struggles.

"A lot more teams spent time studying our system this summer than they ever have," Reirden told the Junkies. "If you're gonna study somebody, you want to study somebody who just won doing something."

"We've made some slight adjustments, but for the most part, it's come down to the execution by us within our system and doing things better than others has been the difference maker. And at this point, in this rough patch, we haven't been as sharp in those areas and as good with our details of the game that define us and push us over the hump."

"It's not so much what teams are doing to us, but more the fact that we have not been on top of our game. When we are, we're a difficult team to beat, and that's something we're working for here these last four games (before the All-Star break)."

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