Practice was winding down when Capitals Coach Todd Reirden gathered players around the faceoff circle. The team organized into its typical forward lines, and one trio lined up against another. When Evgeny Kuznetsov won a draw, he and wingers Alex Ovechkin celebrated with hooting and hugs. Center Nic Dowd predictably snapped a couple back. Then defenseman Brooks Orpik stepped into the circle and won twice as his teammates roared after each one.
It was a fun turn to a serious deficiency for the Capitals. In the small sample size of five games, they’re the second-worst team on faceoffs in the league with a 43.8 percentage. Washington won 50.4 percent of draws last season, which ranked 13th.
Within the hockey community there’s some debate that the importance of faceoffs is overstated — though an individual draw in a key situation could certainly affect the outcome of a game.
“Certainly there definitely are a lot of different importance levels on different faceoffs, especially the zone and the time of the game, cheap nhl jerseys china
what the score is and all those type of things,” Reirden said. “I think that’s something that’s discussed in our room and a lot of times before the guys go out to take a draw, a few guys on the bench, coaches or players might say, Need this draw, big draw’ — different things like that. It’s something that for the most part the players understand and a neutral zone faceoff with 14 minutes to go in the first period is not nearly as important as one that’s five-on-six at the end of the game. We all know that. It’s important to put the right people on those situations and give them the best chance to have success.”