It was an odd night for Trevor van Riemsdyk when the Washington Capitals took the ice against the Seattle Kraken on Sunday. After Conor Sheary fell prey to injury in warm-ups, the Capitals had to roll with just 11 forwards and seven defensemen. And in wake of the circumstances, they turned to a trusted piece in TVR.
“He’s a student of the game, to be able to go up and play a different position,” head coach Peter Laviolette said postgame in regard to the decision to play No. 57 on the right side. “This wasn’t something we were planning on doing the whole game. As the game wore on, then you can lean on the players a little bit more with the schedule we’ve had in the last 11 games. Just trying to get a line combination… He probably had probably a half a dozen shifts.”
Van Riemsdyk skated on the right side along with Axel Jonsson-Fjallby and Connor McMichael, a combination that T.J. Oshie had been playing on. Oshie also missed Sunday’s tilt as he deals with a day-to-day lower-body injury. He came off the injured reserve and played Saturday, and this injury is a new one he is dealing with following a week-to-week injury he suffered against Detroit on Oct. 27.
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For Van Riemsdyk, it was a “weird circumstance,” and one he hadn’t experienced in quite a while. However, he told reporters he was able to adjust.
“Maybe before college some time,” TVR recalled after the loss about the last time he played wing. “But it was what it was.”
The 30-year-old blueliner explained after the game what the process was for switching positions throughout the night. Ultimately, it didn’t take too much of a toll.
“The coaches do a good job of trying to get you ready for the different positions and stuff like that,” van Riemsdyk explained. “I mean, we go through everything before the game. You’re more keyed in on what your position does, but you kind of have a general idea of what the wingers are doing just cause you got to know where they’re going to be at. So it’s not like it’s completely foreign or anything like that. It wasn’t anything too crazy, and we did our best to adjust.
“It didn’t affect it too much. We were all on the same page with what the new game plan was and that was that,” van Riemsdyk added.
Van Riemsdyk has been one of Washington’s top defensemen of late; he is blocking shots and playing well in his own end, and serving as a reliable defenseman who is playing well on his off-side alongside Justin Schultz.
The 6-3, 210-pound defenseman’s six assists rank third on the team among Capitals blueliners, and he’s a plus-6 this season. He is also sacrificing the body and taking good care of the puck, while carrying it well off the ice and helping generate pressure on the forecheck.
In 12:36 minutes against the Kraken, van Riemsdyk dished one shot and one hit.