Had an interesting conversation with Brooks Laich on Thursday about the quick-release shots defensemen Mike Green and Dennis Wideman often take from the point and how those shots, with regularity, seem to elude traffic in front of the net.

Wideman explained it’s about learning how to read angles and gauge open lanes to the net – something that he didn’t fully understand and know how to utilize until he was in the NHL.

It’s a skill the forward appreciates, particularly when he’s in front of the net during a play. Here is Laich’s perspective on part of what makes the two offensive defensemen so important to the Capitals’ offense.

“It’s because they’ve got their head up and they don’t get the shot blocked, which makes it seem like it’s really quick,” Laich said. “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. I think the same thing with Dennis and Mike. They know when the puck’s coming to them. Their head is up and they’re already looking to shoot, which allows them more offensive chances. It makes it easy for us as forwards. We know the puck’s coming.

“It reminds me a lot of when I was younger, Wade Redden was the same way,” Laich continued. “It wasn’t always the hardest shot but it always made it to the net and it was always [about a foot and a half] high where it could be deflected or it could go in the net. It’s a really underrated ability, underrated talent, and that’s why [Wideman’s] got probably just five or six points getting the puck through and on the net. It doesn’t have to be the hardest shot, but a very accurate one is tough to stop.”