Redskins

Reynolds proves clutch for Kastles in 19th straight win

813298.png

Reynolds proves clutch for Kastles in 19th straight win

The Washington Kastles kicked off their home opener with a ring ceremony to commemorate the 2011 season, a season in which the Kastles went 16-0 en route to capture their second King Cup. Naturally, owner Mark Ein likened the 2011 Kastles to the 1972 Dolphins.

All the Kastles received rings, except for newcomer Anastasia Rodionova. Ein ensured Rodionova would receive a ring this time next year.

The Kastles are well on their way to continued dominance. The Kastles, already 2-0 on the season, improved their record to 3-0 with a narrow 20-18 victory over the New York Sportimes.

Mixed Doubles

Mixed Doubles was a star-studded affair with five-time gland slam winner Martina Hingis and her partner Robert Kendrick taking on the Kastles' pair of Anastasia Rodionova and Leander Paes. Paes reached the Wimbledon finals earlier this year with a different partner, Elena Vesnina.

After a shaky start, Kastles rookie Anastasia Rodionova was able to redeem herself. On serve, trailing the Sportimes 4-2, Anastasia didn't allow New York on the board. Then the great Martina was broken, the event was tied at 4 all, and headed to a deciding tiebreaker.

From there the Kastles cruised, giving Washington a 5-4 lead heading into women's doubles.

Women's Doubles

The ladies were up next, Hingis and the notorious Ashley Harkleroad versus the Kastles other sister act of Anastasia and Arina Rodionova.

The Kastles struggled at first, trailing 3-1, but fought back. With Anastasia relentless on serve, the Rodionova sisters were able to tie the match at 3.

Down 4-3 with Arina serving for the Kastles, the Sportimes took over. Hingis and Harkleroad allowed just 1 point before closing out the match at 5-3 and giving New York the 9-8 lead.

Men's Doubles

Ladies first, up next the men. New York sent Jesse Witten and Robert Kendrick to take on Bobby Reynolds and Leander Paes for Washington.

Prior to the match, Paes said that Reynolds "made his job" easy, and it showed. Jokingly, Paes added that Coach Murphy Jensen did not make his life any easier.

The men's doubles matchwas no contest as the Kastles jumped out to a 4-0 lead. Bobby Reynolds then effortlessly closed out the match, giving the Kastles a 13-9 overall lead.
Women's Singles

Anastasia vs. Hingis. Anastasia's inexperience showed as Hingis had no problem dismantling the Kastles newest edition 5-2. Hingis' victory cut the Washington lead to 15-14 with just the men's singles match remaining.

Men's Singles

Bobby Reynolds wasted no time setting the tone of the match against Jesse Witten, sending a volley winner straight into the stands.

However, shutting Witten out would prove tough for "the closer" and Reynolds quickly found the match tied at 3.

On serve, Reynolds delivered back to back aces giving him a 4-3 lead. But Witten would answer the call, and at 4-all the Kastles and Sportimes were headed to a tiebreak.

Reynolds would show his home court confidence by taking the tiebreak 5-1, giving the Kastles the 20-18 victory over their conference foe.

After the match, Reynolds noted that he embraced his role as the Kastles clutch player. For Washington, that's a good thing, because Reynolds is good at what he does.

Quick Links

The Kerrigans are having a baby and, WOW, this is all so very exciting

screen_shot_2018-10-16_at_5.55.43_pm.png
@kerrigan91

The Kerrigans are having a baby and, WOW, this is all so very exciting

The Kerrigan family is about to make a big-time addition to its roster.

Ryan and his wife, Jessica, already have two very, VERY, very, very cute bulldogs in their household. 

But on Tuesday, the two announced in separate Instagram posts that Jessica is 18 weeks pregnant and that a third human Kerrigan will arrive in 2019.

"Can I eat dis sign aftur da picturr iz over?" George the bulldog said when reached for comment on the news.

"How did dey gett such a smawl jerzey for da baby alreddy?" Franklin the other bulldog added.

This is all very wonderful.

Come next March, the world is about to get a little precious-er.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

Quick Links

The Caps are a bad faceoff team, here’s what they’re doing about it

capsfaceoff.png
USA Today Sports

The Caps are a bad faceoff team, here’s what they’re doing about it

Tuesday’s practice was a lot like every other for the Caps until the end. After working on the power play, the team gathered at one end of the ice and began working on faceoffs. It was not just the centers, but wingers and defensemen alike got into the action with every win celebrated by loud cheers from teammates.

It should could as no surprise to see faceoffs as a point of emphasis for Washington considering just how much the team has struggled with them in the early season. The Caps rank 30th in the league in faceoff win percentage at only 43.8-percent.

“Yeah, there's little details that can help our game,” Lars Eller told reporters after practice. “The more you have the puck, easier the game is gonna be for you. We have a little more time in between games than usual during the season here, so we have the time to work on something like that, which can be little things that makes the difference.”

The team as a whole watched video on faceoffs prior to practice and then worked as a five-man unit during the drill. The main point of emphasis head coach Todd Reirden wanted to drill into his players was that faceoffs are not simply the responsibility of the centers alone.

“The days of it just being center vs. center and a clean draw being won back are a rarity now so it's important to have all five guys helping, something we watched video on earlier today,” Reirden said.

“You ask any centerman if they have a good group of wingers that can help them out on draws, that makes a huge difference,” Nic Dowd said. “I've been lucky, I have [Devante Smith-Pelly] on my right and I'm a righty so I win all my draws my backhand side so a lot of pucks go his way and he wins a lot of draws for me. That's huge. You have a guy that's sitting over there that's sleeping, you could go easily from five wins to five losses and then that's your night. It makes a big difference.”

Faceoffs were always going to be more of a struggle for the Caps this season with the departure of Jay Beagle who was, by far, the team’s best faceoff man for several years. Whenever the team needed a big draw, Beagle was the player relied upon to win it. With him gone, it is no surprise to see the team struggle.

But the Caps don’t like the idea of keeping possession off a draw just 43.8-percent of the time.

“It's essentially like the ref is creating a 50-50 puck and you snap it back, you get possession, now you're forechecking and it makes a huge difference,” Dowd said. “You play against those top lines, they want to be in the O-zone. Well, if you lose the draw, now you're playing D-zone, you win the draw now you're playing O-zone. So effectively, you've shut down their shift.”

There is a school of thought suggesting that perhaps the importance of winning faceoffs is overrated and a team’s faceoff win percentage is not overly important. Eller himself admitted as much to reporters.

What no one can argue, however, is that while some faceoffs may not matter all that much, there are some that are hugely important in a game. The Caps recognize that. For them, being a strong faceoff team is not necessarily about improving the team’s win percentage, but more about being able to win those critical draws.

“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 5-on-6 at the end of the game,” Reirden said. “We all know that. It's important to put the right people on those situations and give them the best chance to have success.”

“A center ice draw, I could see where guys could make the argument, well you lose it you still will play hockey and stuff could still happen,” Dowd said. “But I think the game is such a possession game now that any opportunity you can win a 50-50 puck whether that's a faceoff or a board battle, it makes a huge difference.”

 

MORE CAPITALS NEWS: