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Posted at 12:07 PM ET, 01/25/2011

Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom among those absent

By Gene Wang

The Washington Capitals conducted their last practice this morning before the all-star break, and the notable absences included Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johnasson, each of whom played in last night's 2-1 shootout loss to the New York Rangers.

Absent as well were Tom Poti and Eric Fehr, both of whom are dealing with injuries and did not play against the Rangers.

Alexander Semin and Matt Bradley did skate, however, although each continues to be listed as day-to-day.

By Gene Wang  | January 25, 2011; 12:07 PM ET
Categories:  Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Nicklas Backstrom  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Capitals' Alex Ovechkin may be regaining his form
Next: Matt Bradley, Alexander Semin remain uncertain

Comments

They should all be there practicing and fixing horrible PP!!!!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 25, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

In the last thread cstanton1 said he would flip his lid if BB tries to force Poti back into the lineup and lift Erskine.

------------------------------------------

You may as well flip your lid now cstanton1. As soon as Poti is healthy he'll be back in the line-up. Now that it appears Green and Schultz have been reunited, if there are not any trades on D, our last pairing will be Poti and Hannan. I'm just putting the truth out there. Not saying it's right, just saying it's gonna happen.

Posted by: fanohock1 | January 25, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I have a bone to pick about what commonsenseaboutbrac said in the last thread. Where he was talking about blowing 3rd period leads and the stamina. Didn't we just come off a few games where we were great in the third? The Caps are 19-0-2 when leading after two does that sound like a team that can't finish off leads? 40 of a possible 42 points when leading after two. It doesn't sound like they don't know how to hold on to leads.

Posted by: icehammer97 | January 25, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse

19 and 90 have a week off to rest. Get to practice!!!!

Posted by: MattBradley10 | January 25, 2011 1:09 PM | Report abuse

@fanohock1. I am also sad to say I think you are right given what they said last night when talking about GMGM and trades and what he said about our D and Poti.

Posted by: icehammer97 | January 25, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Wow anyone else see the noon number on Japers. 4- Number of NHL goalies (along with 512 skaters) who have more assists than Perreault since his recall on Dec. 6th. I wonder if anyone will even want him in a trade if we go after a #2 center?

Posted by: icehammer97 | January 25, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

any dman out there who give up the puck under the slightest bit of duress, would like to make a lot of money, and aren't expected to provide offense or defense, walk right up! The Caps have a job for you.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 25, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

@icehammer

I have said for about the last month that no one will want him. He'll go back to Hershey. He just isnt an NHL player at this point and in my opinion won't ever be. He's a talented kid, but he's just small and his hockey IQ is pretty bad in my opinion.

Posted by: ThePat | January 25, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KN0ALTJyj5I&feature=player_embedded#at=59

i'll tell you somethin else. I have no problem with what Gleason did to Kulemin. You start thinkin you're tough and want to shove another guy in the face, you better be prepared to get dropped. This fake fighting nonsense has to end. If you're gonna be abrasive and grab someone and repeatedly shove them around the face area, you deserve to get dropped. I don't know if Kulemin knows this, but this ain't a Euro league he's playing in anymore. You're with the big boys now. And if he played for another team and tried that same move with his own Toronto teammates, he'd get dropped too.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 25, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, I love Ovie, but has he ever participated in an optional practice?

Posted by: padre123 | January 25, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

"If they knew anything about the game, they'd be in it."

-GMGM

Posted by: mattbuckley801 | January 25, 2011 1:23 PM | Report abuse

After watching the play of MJ, I'm not as worried about the Caps center. This is obviously predicated on the fact that I believe the Caps will acquire a good 2nd line center before the trade deadline. If they do accomplish this, then their centers would be:

1) Backstrom
2) acquired guy
3) MJ
4) Steckel

Steckel would be on the defensive checking line, MJ would be on more of the energy line.

I like the idea ofL

Ovie/Backstrom/Chimera
Semin/acquired guy/Fehr
Laich/Steckel/Knuble(shut down line)
Hendricks/MJ/Beagle (energy line, will still see some good minutes)

Bradley and BGordon as the injury replacements.

Obviously this would be predicated on the Caps acquiring a 2nd line center for prospects/picks.

IMO, the Caps most valuable trade asset is probably Eakin. If the Caps really want to make a run of it this year and acquire a high level center, they are probably going to have to trade Eakin.

Other teams are not going to be willig to give up a top end center for miniscule returns considering there are almost no good pending UFA centers.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 25, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

The MP experiment will end soon enough.

Semin, Brads, Fehr IN

King, MP, Beagle/Gordo OUT

Although Knuble should be out and Beagle in.

Posted by: MattBradley10 | January 25, 2011 1:32 PM | Report abuse

The last couple of games Knuble hasn't been good. But that was after he was one of our better players for 10 or so games. Knuble will not be effective on a line with Laich on the other wing. They play the same game and therefore have no one to shoot the puck, so how are net crashers going to be effective when no one shooting the puck?? He's been set up to fail offensively the last few games but BB has no choice given the health of the roster. They are together now to just be responsible defensively. So quit bashing him, we need him here in the playoffs for this team to advance. We don't need him being scratched.

Posted by: ThePat | January 25, 2011 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I like Kulemin and his play, but yeah, I don't see anything wrong there either. He shouldn't have started throwing punches before his gloves were off. Gleason is a wild hombre as well.

Kulemin, let Orr show you some things or leave the fighting to others.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 25, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

The boy's were out boozin up last night!

Posted by: jp14710 | January 25, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

@sgm

As much as I love Beagle and for as much as I campaigned this summer for him to stick to the NHL roster, I don't think Bradley should sit out.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 25, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

IMO, the Caps most valuable trade asset is probably Eakin. If the Caps really want to make a run of it this year and acquire a high level center, they are probably going to have to trade Eakin.

______________________

Eakin will be an NHL player someday. We have other high-end prospects, and some picks...I would not trade Eakin.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 25, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

"If they knew anything about the game, they'd be in it."

-GMGM

Posted by: mattbuckley801 |


"We identified our top target (JCorvo), and we got him"

--GMGM

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 25, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Ovi-Backs-Chim
Semin-MP-Fehr
Hendy-Majo-Beagle
King-Steckel-Brads

Carlzner
Green-****55
Erskine-Hannan

Varly

It should be made clear to DJK that he needs to bring some major attitude and be a disrupter in the game, looking to agitate or start something EVERYTIME he's on the ice, with the team willing to absorb some of the inevitable penalties his reputation is bound to produce. Watching him play, it's clear he's playing to please BB instead of doing what he does best.

The 3rd line last night was DOMINANT, and the 4th held its own, too. The first two lines need to start producing, period.

I read a great article on Konopka yesterday and never knew of his faceoff abilities (5th or 6th in the league). Everyone remember the thorough beat-down he administered to Steckel last year? It'd be great if we could flip those two...

Posted by: vermontcaps | January 25, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't trade Eakin either. I just wish he was a bit bigger because he's got the speed, skill, and a degree of tenacity in his game that he could be a future 2nd or 3rd line center.

no reason why he can't at least be a Dave Bolland type.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 25, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Eakin will be an NHL player someday. We have other high-end prospects, and some picks...I would not trade Eakin.

Posted by: richmondphil2

I agree with that Eakin will be an NHL player but to get value(that isn't a pending UFA) you will have to give up value.

Trading the other prospects will get you stuff, but not as much. I'm not saying the Caps should give up Eakin and they definitely should look for trades in which they do not have to give him up. But, IMO, to get a top end center, who isn't a pending UFA, the Caps are going to have to give up very good value and that will likely involve Eakin.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 25, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Konopka is great, I brought up his names a few times last year. Would've been a nice bottom-6 addition. Speaking of, I think one of McCormick, Kaleta, or Gaustad would make for a good bottom-6 improvement as well. I only mention this because I was talking to some Buffalo fan about it.

Bradley hit everything in sight in the games he played. Once he returns, I think we'll see an improvement in that area of the game anyway though.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 25, 2011 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I have a question for people here. If the only way the Caps could acquire a top end center before the deadline(i.e. Fisher or whomever) is to give up Eakin, would you do it?

So the options would be:

1) Go forth with the roster as is and keep Eakin for the long haul.

or

2) Trade Eakin for a legitimate #2 center (i.e. Fisher) with at least 1 more year remaining on his contract.

If those are the options, what would you choose?(don't make up a 3rd choice for an answer either. This is a hypothetical.)

Posted by: sgm3 | January 25, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

read a great article on Konopka yesterday and never knew of his faceoff abilities (5th or 6th in the league). Everyone remember the thorough beat-down he administered to Steckel last year? It'd be great if we could flip those two...

Posted by: vermontcaps

oh yeah, his faceoff abilities are his strong suit. I think last yr he was #1 in the league in faceoff percentage.

The way i look at it, there is NO room on our bottom 2 lines for players who aren't extremely tenacious. We just don't match up well with other teams in that area. A guy like Gordo would never crack a team like the Pens or Flyers. He doesn't have the abrasiveness they look for in a 4th line center. We've even rolled with MP and Gordo as our 3rd and 4th line centers. That's beyond ridiculous.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 25, 2011 2:06 PM | Report abuse

McPheeOn Joe Corvo

"Corvo was the top defenseman available in our minds, and we got him, and he plays a lot. He plays both ends of the rink, he can defend, he spends a lot of time on the PK but he'll generate offense, which is the type of defenseman we like."

We don't know who their top target was, because we aren't in the game, just casual observers.

I still think Corvo was an upgrade on Pothier, it obviously didn't work out, but not all trades do...

Posted by: boomer44 | January 25, 2011 2:10 PM | Report abuse

If the only way the Caps could acquire a top end center before the deadline(i.e. Fisher or whomever) is to give up Eakin, would you do it?

_____________________________

No, because I think Fisher can be had for a lot less than Eakin.

Fisher would be great, but he's not a top end center. More importantly, he is not a pending free agent. Salary has to go out the other way to see Fisher here...

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 25, 2011 2:10 PM | Report abuse

That a boy optional...you couldn't booze on the road and got your speed back...

Now we are home, time to booze it up and lose your step.


Hey Ted...Why wasn't this mentioned when you asked..."What more can you ask for from your captain"...

Unreal.

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 25, 2011 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of, I think one of McCormick, Kaleta, or Gaustad would make for a good bottom-6 improvement as well. I only mention this because I was talking to some Buffalo fan about it.
-------------------------

Cody McCormick was named the OHL's bodychecker of the year in the year he was drafted. That's always been a big part of his game. Where he's improved is in his willingness to drop the gloves.

Paul Gaustad to me is one of the NHL's toughest role players because he never backs down and he has a mean streak. His skating is his drawback. But he's the kind of guy you go into war with. Much like a Ryane Clowe.

Kaleta is a nice sh_t-disturber to have around. He also seems to target skill players which is nice to see (if he's on your team).


disagree about Brads hitting everything. He doesn't do it with the frequency he used to and his hits aren't that devastating. He also doesn't stir the pot at all. He's a good soldier, he can cycle the puck, and he will occasionally stick up for his teammates. But he's in a lower class of grit than Gaustad for sure. Closer to a McCormick type. Nothing like a Carcillo or Prust however.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 25, 2011 2:12 PM | Report abuse

You don't trade your future. The way this year is going, if the playoffs started today we would be at Pittsburg and loose in 5 to 6 games. We don't have the toughness to succed int he playoffs as the team is now made up. Especially with this coach.
I predict that we make the playoffs in the 5 thru 8th slot, and loose in the first round in 5 to 7 games; then BB gets fired and a new coach is hired with a defensive sceme.
Semin may be traded if they can't get an agreement for a future contract for 2 to 4 years. If he becomes an FA, he will sign with a KHL team and return to mother Russia, even if he is traded.
Either way, this team as it is now built and coached, will never get beyond the first or sedon round of any SC playoffs. I doesn't have enough tough, gritty players that stick up for their teammates. Ref: Phila, Pittsburg, Detroit, and a few others.
Ovi should be demoted from captain and a wyley veteran made captain until Ovi matures more. He is still a kid and wants to party and doesn't seem to work on his game during the off-season to get better; like other stars do (Crosby).
Now chew on this awhile people.

Posted by: JMinVA | January 25, 2011 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Eakin *should* be great NHL player one day. Or (God forbid) he could get hurt next week and never lace them up again. I think this team needs to make a run for The Cup NOW! If it takes Eakin to get a GREAT 2C, I would do it.

Posted by: j3rockstar | January 25, 2011 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I still think Corvo was an upgrade on Pothier, it obviously didn't work out, but not all trades do...

Posted by: boomer44 |

In terms of general, collective play...yes, he is a better player than Pothier. However, for some reason he was absolutely god-awful when he played for us, and it was all apparent before the playoffs. I think the more important thing to consider here is that Corvo is known as an offensive-minded defender, known to rove, and for the worst tattoos imaginable. Someone of that mold, tattoos aside, should not have been our guy.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 25, 2011 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Sgm3

I would trade eakin for fisher. Time to make a run.

Posted by: underpants2 | January 25, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

My playoff lines would be the following (since I know you're all on the edge of your seat for them). I am, for some reason, going on the assumption that they actually get Fisher.

OV-Backstrom-Semin
Laich-Fisher-Knuble (what a playoff line)
Chimmy-MaJo-Fehr (fast as balls)
Hendricks-Steckel-Bradley

Green-Shultz
Calson-Alzner
Erskine-Hannan

Neuvirth

I should clarify that this is the lineup I would want. I think Poti will replace Erskine and Varly will replace Neuvy when all is said and done though. Also, Beagle is awesome, but I think Hendricks will play over him, and I like watching Brads in the playoffs, so unfortunately Beagle is the odd one out.


Posted by: Aldred15 | January 25, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I still think Corvo was an upgrade on Pothier, it obviously didn't work out, but not all trades do...

-------------

get outta here. Pothier who i have never been a fan of even when he played with Ottawa, actually started to play decently in the weeks leading upto the trade. He was solid defensively and was stepping up in the neutral zone very effectively against forwards. I wouldn't have minded an upgrade, but not to a Corvo. The way I looked at it, we traded one average dman for a less-than-avg dman and gave up a 2nd round pick and Osala.

dumbest trade in recent memory.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 25, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

"No, because I think Fisher can be had for a lot less than Eakin."

@Richmondphil

Not the hypothetical I gave.

Would you make that trade if the only way the Caps could get Fisher would be by trading Eakin?

---------------
Fisher would be great, but he's not a top end center. More importantly, he is not a pending free agent. Salary has to go out the other way to see Fisher here...

Posted by: richmondphil2

Not true. The Caps could acquire Fisher, play out the season and unload the salary in the offseason, which they will do with guys becoming free agents. So that isn't an issue. It is much easier juggling salaries in the offseason than during the season.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 25, 2011 2:18 PM | Report abuse

disagree about Brads hitting everything. He doesn't do it with the frequency he used to and his hits aren't that devastating. He also doesn't stir the pot at all. He's a good soldier, he can cycle the puck, and he will occasionally stick up for his teammates. But he's in a lower class of grit than Gaustad for sure. Closer to a McCormick type. Nothing like a Carcillo or Prust however.

Posted by: cstanton1 |

I'm not saying he's anything of the grit that Gaustad or McCormick bring, but Bradley is a good bottom-6 forward. He hits a lot more than people want to give him credit for. I wasn't pointing to any of the other qualities a guy like him would possess, but he plays a physical game on the forecheck, which is great for wearing down the opposition's defenders.

I would gladly welcome in a bottom-6 addition to our team, but I was talking more so about the guys we have now. Once Bradley comes back, I think we'll see a nice welcomed change, however noticeable or unnoticeable it is.

Carcillo and Prust aren't going anywhere though. Buffalo could very well dismantle some of their guys though.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 25, 2011 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Not true. The Caps could acquire Fisher, play out the season and unload the salary in the offseason, which they will do with guys becoming free agents. So that isn't an issue. It is much easier juggling salaries in the offseason than during the season.

Posted by: sgm3

I never said salary had to go out now, I just said salary has to go out. I really don't think GMGM would put himself in that position, and I also think you seem to think juggling around contracts is easier than it actually is, offseason or not.

As for answering your hypothetical, I'll answer no then. I would not trade Eakin for Fisher.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 25, 2011 2:22 PM | Report abuse

@j3rockstar
@underpants2

It is a tought decision but I think I would agree with you. I would deal Eakin to acquire Fisher(or another legitimate #2 center who had at least 1 more year remaining on his contract).

I think it is time to make a go of it and it's not like Fisher is old, he could spend the next few years in DC playing well(allowing Kuzentsov to come in and play the wing).

Posted by: sgm3 | January 25, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

If it takes Eakin to get a GREAT 2C, I would do it.

Posted by: j3rockstar |

Again, I like Fisher, but there is a difference between a great top-6 center and Mike Fisher.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 25, 2011 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I never said salary had to go out now, I just said salary has to go out. I really don't think GMGM would put himself in that position, and I also think you seem to think juggling around contracts is easier than it actually is, offseason or not.

As for answering your hypothetical, I'll answer no then. I would not trade Eakin for Fisher.

Posted by: richmondphil2

No is fine, I'm just curious to see where everyone stands on it. There isn't a right or wrong answer.

Also, Fisher only makes $4.2M, that isn't a huge contract. I know juggling contracts isn't easy, but you have a few months in the offseason to get it figured out. That extended time period helps out things.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 25, 2011 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Fehr- 2.2 mill, 17 points.

15 Rookies (including 4 d rookies) have more points than Fehr....

Not to mention 200 FORWARDS have more points than Fehr.

The guy is a wasted Jersey...and wasted Cap Space.

He's 6"4' 212, and only 14 PIM...a big softee...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 25, 2011 2:27 PM | Report abuse

@vermontcaps

Ovi-Backs-Chim
Semin-MP-Fehr
Hendy-Majo-Beagle
King-Steckel-Brads

Carlzner
Green-****55
Erskine-Hannan

Varly
Don't see how you leave Brooks Laich out of this lineup.

Posted by: jmurray019 | January 25, 2011 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Corvo had looked better before his injury thanks to Alzner, he did not play any where close to the level I expected that is for sure...I always liked Pothier, but he was not as active offensively and was shying away from contact, getting rid of the puck too soon so he wouldn't be hit, and he was being overpowered in the D zone in puck battles... he was one hit away from another concussion, Osala played one game for Carolina, none this season and wasn't going to break into the Cap slineup thias season, Pothier is in the Swiss league...we will see what the 2nd round pick brings Carolina

Posted by: boomer44 | January 25, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Here's a question...

Would you trade Eakin and Semin for Jason Spezza?

Ottawa gets cap relief AND a #1 prospect. Throw in another minor leaguer/or Perreault just for giggles.

Caps get a 28 year old #1/#2 center with a $7 mil cap hit and a few years left on his deal

Would anyone out there make that trade?

Posted by: jmurray019 | January 25, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I would trade for SPEZZA in a second!

Great player, would probably be better for the fat drunk on the first line...

At least until we find backstrom...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 25, 2011 2:45 PM | Report abuse

who is the fat drunk? did i miss something, a scandal?

anyway, i would definitely trade Eakin for Fisher but I think you could be creative and pick up Chris Neil as well and give up Eakin and maybe a prospect in Hershey or someone off our roster. Ottawa has some quality checking line prospects in Jesse Winchester and Jim O'Brien. They also have Nick Foligno.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 25, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I bet Gordie Howe never drank during the season. Nor did Bobby Hull, Bernie Parent, Guy LaFluer, Rocket Richard, Bobby Orr, Bobby Clarke, Gump Worsley, Jeremy Roenicke, Chris Pronger, Paul Coffey, Mark Messier, Steve Yzerman...

Not condoning it, but please. You don't think the Caps didn't drink after games last year?

Posted by: jmurray019 | January 25, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I vote trading for King in exchange for SDR dumbest trade in recent history. Wasn't sure when the deal went down, darn sure now.

Posted by: jimc93 | January 25, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

@ jimc93

Haha! But wait, you didn't see BJ King lighting it up last night against the Rangers? Obviously the most intense and productive 6:01 of any player on the ice last night.

Posted by: jmurray019 | January 25, 2011 3:04 PM | Report abuse

If we move semin, we could afford Fisher plus.

I think we need a first line RW as well.

Posted by: underpants2 | January 25, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

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