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Posted at 11:29 AM ET, 02/ 2/2011

Alex Ovechkin, Semyon Varlamov absent from practice

By Gene Wang


Left wing Alex Ovechkin and goalie Semyon Varlamov were not on the ice for the Washington Capitals' practice this morning, but Alexander Semin, who has been day to day with a lower body injury, skated following the team's 3-2 shootout loss to Montreal last night.

With Ovechkin absent to rest because he was unable to do so during the all-star break, the first line was Jason Chimera, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Knuble. The rest of the lines comprise Semin, Mathieu Perreault and Brooks Laich; Matt Hendricks, Marcus Johansson and Matt Bradley; and Jay Beagle, David Steckel, Boyd Gordon and D.J. King.

Varlamov, who has a history of injuries during his brief time in the NHL, stopped 36 shots against the Canadiens. He missed a healthy portion of the first part of the season but has been stellar recently, with a 1.74 goals against average and a .946 save percentage over his previous 10 games.

Semin, who has missed 10 games, appears close to being able to play again. The left wing is second on the team with 18 goals. Washington's next game is Friday night at Southeast Division leader Tampa Bay.

"He made it through practice, and it was a fairly difficult practice," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I haven't talked to [head trainier Greg Smith] yet, but I'm optimistic, hoping."

By Gene Wang  | February 2, 2011; 11:29 AM ET
Categories:  Alex Ovechkin  
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Even with a healthy Semin, the Caps have essentially two checkling lines with little or no scoring ability. BB was double shifting Ovie in the 3rd period to create some scoring chances. This only served to tire him out more as did the excessively long shifts of the first line. By the OT, it was painfully obvious that Caps top players had tired legs while the Canadien forwards looked fresh.

People have given GMGM too much of a pass this season. We've not had legit 2nd line center in three seasons and neither Fehr or Laich are consistnet second line scorers. In addition to a 2nd line center who needs to be acquired by the trade deadline, there is a need for a rugged winger who can score on the 2nd line. Even if the Caps fire BB, the personnel issues remain for the successor wheter its Hitchcock or Stevens. Long-term the Caps should look seriously at Lindy Ruff, who is one of the best coaches in the game.

Posted by: wizfan89 | February 2, 2011 11:49 AM | Report abuse

nice when the only guy missing from practice is the team captain---AGAIN

Posted by: fnkyniedls | February 2, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

It is a good thing trades are allowed in the NHL prior to the trade deadline. This will allow us to get a second line center and other upgrades. If this is the roster we have for the playoffs, then GMGM needs to go.

Posted by: makplan20002 | February 2, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

It is time for OVI to become a leader and practice when the rest of the team is practicing. He needs to put in the commitment and go above and beyond what he has been doing.

Posted by: MReilly9 | February 2, 2011 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Ovie never goes to these practices. Guess he is one step above the rest of the team. It's incredible to me that GMGM and BB continue to let the captain of the team take this cavalier attitude. A captain should lead by example. If he is injured, its one thing. Otherwise, he needs to man up and be the captain he is supposed to be. Or get another captain who cares.

Posted by: ken_berlin | February 2, 2011 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Ovie is not making his presence felt in practice - just like he seems to be missing from the score sheet

Posted by: dfort2004 | February 2, 2011 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Something has to change, it has been months of it will get better, and it has not!!!

I had mix feelings about what OV has to be at practise, but as a C, i think he has to.

How many penalties did they take? For two or three season, BB, and team has been saying that we have to cut down penalies.

I do agree that the Team has stopped listening to BB.

Posted by: hunter321 | February 2, 2011 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to tell my boss that I worked really hard today so I don't have to work tomorrow. If it works for Ovechkin it should work for us common folk.

Posted by: Capitals8 | February 2, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Yea, this is negative points for Ovie.

When your scoring 60 goals a season - "Maintenance" days are ok

On pace for 30? - Maintenance days are def not ok.

Varly? - How did Martin Broduer feel when he started 70 games in a season year in and year out??

This team needs a new coach!

Posted by: Nats1924 | February 2, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Your right there is no excuse for the captian of the team to no be there at practice they guys need leadership and thats what Ovie should be doing. I am SO not a Crosby fan but if you watched HBO 24/7, did you see how Ovie always sat on the bench between periods and never attempted to talk to any of his guys and give them even a little pep talk while Crosby was all up in his teams face telling them we can do this, we can win this, giving them the guidence they need. No one really knows what goes on behing closed doors I just hope they get things resolved and fast. GO CAPS !!!

Posted by: n2caps | February 2, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

How many practices does this guy miss? He probably is still hung over from the all star game festivities. I would really like to know what some of the other players think of this. BB letting the inmates run the asylum. This team needs a coach, not a friend.

Posted by: TheSmurfs | February 2, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to tell my boss that I worked really hard today so I don't have to work tomorrow. If it works for Ovechkin it should work for us common folk.

Posted by: Capitals8 | February 2, 2011 12:52 PM

I assume you also have 200lb defensemen drapped all over you every other day, cross checking you on the small of your back and slashing your arms and legs.

Having gotten that out of the way, I have to think there is something wrong with him just going by what we see on game day and the constant skipping of practice.

Posted by: Moose33 | February 2, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Is it possible not having a capitain on the sqaud until someone steps up and earns it?

Posted by: DCSportsfanatic1 | February 2, 2011 2:20 PM | Report abuse

The rest if the team should skip practice they don't show up for games why show up for practice. Laich had enough rest during is hat trick of enslties he should be well rested BB has lost a great team they will not even make the playoffs at this rate they are closer to the bottom then the top. Well as they say in DC wait till next year. Until theowner fixes the coaching problem they will continue to fall

Posted by: fs02 | February 2, 2011 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin was the only one playing worth a crap last night even though perrault lucked into a soft goal and as puck grazed him on the way to green for an assist.

Let ovechkin sit out practice. That equates to roughly 5% more puck touches and drills for the rest of the guys currently playing like garbage. What does the team get out of Ovechkin skating circles around them in practice?

Posted by: makplan20002 | February 2, 2011 2:29 PM | Report abuse

What a lack of leadership. The one guy who plays the entire powerplay skips practice... again.

Posted by: brihobbs | February 2, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

A 2nd line center is an absolute must. I agree with sgm that the 2nd line more than anything else is bringing this team down. Different note, I said the same on Ted's Take this morning and got censored! Talk about lame!

Posted by: hateisnotafamilyvalue | February 2, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

So is Varlamov injured or not? Who is the current backup, did Neuvirth backup on 02/01/11 game? Is Holtby with the team still? If not, will he be recalled?

Posted by: dkennedymi | February 2, 2011 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Let's take a macro view of this situation: Passes to nowhere and no one; difficulty getting the puck out of the zone; predictable plays; no power on the PP; defensemen who pass backwards better than forwards; few minutes in the offensive zone; one step too slow recovering the puck; slippery ice; Hollywood syndrome; lack of scoring; playoff vision but golf future; stars who don't shine! What's wrong with this picture? The Caps are a disorganized rabble on ice, capable of brilliance for 1 min out of 60! GMGM has been taken by the other GMs. Think I'll trade my grandmother to him for OV and AS; she's good with a rolling pin, probably better with a stick! OMG, I can hardly bear to watch this team any more, let alone buy tickets to the games.

Posted by: Jrlobo | February 2, 2011 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Add in no adjustments to adjustments. Last night Montreal adjusted after the first period and we never adjusted to their adjustments. They left one defenseman high to act as a rover. Essentially a 3-1-1 alignment. When we would try to break out, the rover would skate in and intercept. That kept the puck in our half of the ice and tired out our forwards. Also on power plays, Montreal had two forwards at net, facing the shooter. We had one facing the goalie once in a blue moon. Gotta change that.

Posted by: genericrepub | February 2, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

hey, how about making practice mandatory after a loss? unless you are 'deathbed' sick or seriously injured. I could see optional if you're winning.

Posted by: erico31us | February 2, 2011 5:43 PM | Report abuse

As GMGM said in the HBO 24/7 series, he doesn't hear what people say on message boards because they never played the game at a high enough level and don't know what they're talking about. This is a non-story.

I do, however, agree that Boudreau's time is running out. I would have fired him during the losing streak.

Posted by: laugh_riot | February 2, 2011 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Stop this BS about Ovi's not showing up on the practice, because he is such a sob, please.
It's the decision of BB - because he doubleshifted Ovi last time and needs him fresh for TBL. And cortison shots are also rarely given to absolutely healthy players.

Why nobody says a word, that Ovi with a C letter had changed his reckless behavior and makes no "dirty" hits anymore. That he provokes opposition and draws penalties (Malkin, Subban) and goes for a net more often now?

Posted by: Michael01a | February 3, 2011 6:17 AM | Report abuse

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