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Dennis Wideman’s shot, vision drawing praise from Capitals

Defenseman’s offensive ability goes beyond quick release

- The Washington Times - Friday, November 4, 2011

Starting at shortstop, err, defenseman for the Washington Capitals, No. 6, Dennis Wideman. OK, maybe Brooks Laich should explain.

"It's almost like a shortstop or somebody on an infield: You know what you're going to do with the ball before you get it," he said. "I think the same thing with Dennis and Mike [Green] — they know when the puck's coming to them, their head's already up and they're already looking to shoot, which allows them more offensive chances."

It's not about Wideman's quick double-play flip or anything, but rather his ridiculously quick wrist shot from the point on the power play, which seems to be one of the best parts of his game. Wideman has an uncanny ability, much like Green and Dmitry Orlov, of getting his shots through, where others get them blocked.

Laich said that skill reminds him of a younger Wade Redden.

"It's a really underrated ability, underrated talent. And that's why he's got probably five or six points just from getting the puck through and on the net," Laich said. "It doesn't have to be the hardest shot, but a very accurate one is very tough to stop."

Wideman's offensive talents go beyond his shot, according to teammates and his coach. Laich said the defenseman is playing the best he has seen him in a Caps' uniform. And it's about his ability to spark the offense in a very similar way to Green.

"They can think quick — both of them," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "And they can make that first outlet pass really well because they see the ice in front of them very well and they anticipate very well, so both of them are really good at it."

Laich complimented Wideman for being confident with the puck when moving from defense to offense.

"He makes a lot of plays into the middle of the ice, which is tough. A lot of guys will take the safe play and throw it up the wall," Laich said. "But his head's always up and he makes confident and sharp passes into the middle of the ice. That allows us to transition out of our zone, rather than getting stuck in scrums on the wall. It allows us to get out of our zone and in on the attack."

Wideman appreciated the praise from Laich, joking that it means a lot. But in serious terms, he credited the Caps' forwards for being skilled enough to make plays that aren't always safe.

"I think there's more of a trust factor where you might be able to make a play," Wideman said. "When a guy's kind of got someone around him and you can give him the puck and you know he's still going to make the right play and get it out when you're under pressure. ... I feel like I can hit them on the breakout, and they're going to make the right play."

So far, it seems like Wideman and the Caps are making a lot of the right moves.

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