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Posted at 10:39 AM ET, 02/10/2011

Alexander Semin skating with Ovechkin, Backstrom

By Katie Carrera

All of the Capitals except for right wing Eric Fehr, who is still out with a shoulder injury, are on the ice for practice at KCI this morning. There is one new wrinkle, though, and that's the re-appearance of Alexander Semin skating alongside Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.

The ever-changing line combinations have been well documented this season, so we'll have to wait and see if the group stays together for Saturday's game against the L.A. Kings.

Here's what the forward combinations look like:
Ovechkin-Backstrom-Semin
Chimera-Perreault-Laich
Hendricks-Johansson-Knuble
Gordon-Steckel-Bradley-King

All eight defensemen were on the ice for the start of practice, including Mike Green, who missed Tuesday's game with a head injury, Tom Poti (groin) and Tyler Sloan. But Poti left and went to the dressing room about 15 minutes in.

By Katie Carrera  | February 10, 2011; 10:39 AM ET
Categories:  Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Nicklas Backstrom  
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Next: Line change: Thoughts on the Ovechkin-Backstrom-Semin line?

Comments

good idea to put all the soft underproducing euros together

Posted by: wendel2 | February 10, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse

that 2nd line is just bad. when does 85 gets his ticket back to hershey???

Posted by: doughless | February 10, 2011 11:00 AM | Report abuse

those lines are terrible

Posted by: _stevo | February 10, 2011 11:21 AM | Report abuse

No pressure GMGM. Plenty of time to find a 2C and another top 6 winger..

Posted by: Steve_R | February 10, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Might as well throw all your eggs in one basket, although none of those eggs can score.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 10, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

so much for the concept of Semin coming back so we'd have two scoring lines. Can't say I am surprised though.

Posted by: ThePat | February 10, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

@ ThePat

We don't have any scoring lines - HA!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 10, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

McPhee is an awesome GM!

Just look at that depth and balance!

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 10, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

@_stevo

If you take Gordon off, and replace Steckel w/someone like Konopka or Verot, looks like we have the makings of a pretty good 4th line.

@jaymagz

great posts a few threads back....I liked everyone of your ideas w/the exception of bringing Cassidy back

Posted by: vermontcaps | February 10, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Some of you posters sound like teenage girls in a chat room fighting over who's going to marry Justin Bieber and hating on whatever little starlet is on his arm this week. It is what it is. Any chance you guys will just accept it or are the line combos that important to your fantasy league team? =/ The Ovi/Backs/Semin line has produced a few times (not sure about this season but still), so it's still a plausible line. Can someone do the statistical analyses of the line combos and see if all this whining from the peanut gallery is even warranted? You guys do this just for the sake of hearing yourselves talk. Sheesh.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 10, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

GMGM is going to shock everyone and pull off the blockbuster deal this team needs. And we will win the Cup this year.

Posted by: ThePat | February 10, 2011 11:34 AM | Report abuse

It is about time BB put that line back together. If one looks back over the last two seasons that line has been the most productive. I understand the theory of putting Semin on the 2nd line to provide a 2nd scoring line but the fact is we need one scoring line first and I am confident that the SOB line will score.

Posted by: 4capitals | February 10, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

@leftcoastcapsfan

please just be quiet. your post is the kind that start stupid nonsense back and forth.

Posted by: ThePat | February 10, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

GMGM is going to shock everyone and pull off the blockbuster deal this team needs. And we will win the Cup this year.

Posted by: ThePat | February 10, 2011 11:34 AM

I laughed. Well done.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 10, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

GMGM is going to shock everyone and pull off the blockbuster deal this team needs. And we will win the Cup this year.

Posted by: ThePat

Hahahahahaha! That was a good one.

Posted by: jdove80 | February 10, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

But you should have said "blockbuster deals" cuz everyone knows it would take much more than 1 trade to get this team anywhere near a legit contender.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 10, 2011 11:40 AM | Report abuse

LeftCoast:

the only guy on that top line i would intentionally consider for my fantasy team is Backstrom. Why do i need one of the other 2 when I have Daniel Sedin?

ThePat:

Hells yeah!!

Posted by: doughless | February 10, 2011 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Im glad I made you guys laugh, but Im actually being serious about it. And yes @tmac I think there will be 2 deals, but only 1 will be of the blockbuster variety.

Posted by: ThePat | February 10, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

ThePat, define blockbuster

Posted by: Steve_R | February 10, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

LeftCoast:
Can I come out of my room now? On this thread your diatribe insulting others was longer than anyone else's post. I'll try to be a good boy and promise never to insult any of your Caps favorites again!

Posted by: kcbrichmond | February 10, 2011 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Neil Greenberg: Didn't you publish most effective lines sometime back? Wasn't Laich on there? How did Ovi-Backie-Semin rate?

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 10, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse

only rumor i hear of late is that the Caps are interested in the Bulin Wall

Posted by: doughless | February 10, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse

@SteveR

the blockbuster will be two of our current roster players being dealt to a team for 2 of theirs.

the other trade will be us sending a 1st round pick somewhere.

Just a gut feeling.

Posted by: ThePat | February 10, 2011 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Even if we do trade, it's too late to develop chemistry.

We should've gotten Bieksa, we should've gotten Pronger, we should've gotten Zajac.

I'll stop should-ing all over myself, but we've had chances and GMGM always passes them up.

Except for JOVOCOP!

Posted by: Jordan_Kitts | February 10, 2011 11:49 AM | Report abuse

The gist of my post is if the lines really are that bad, shouldn't there be some statistical analyses done by the people blasting them for it? I get it, the "young guns" haven't been performing and it's still likely the new system is adding to it. Still though, you guys act like they're walking around telling people they're flawless and when they fall short of people's expectations, they deserve the vitriol flung at them? I don't think so. Disagree? Not a problem.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 10, 2011 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Can't stop thinking about that Bruins-Habs game last night. Incredible game. I am really beginning to think that Boston has put together a team that could seriously make a run in the post-season. They are set in goal and play great team defense. They kill penalties well and are fantastic 5-on-5. Their one weak spot is on the Power Play, especially now that Savard is out. But refs call fewer penalties in the playoffs, and so the Bruins stellar play at 5-on-5 will be magnified come playoff time. They score off the rush, they can cycle the puck, their defensemen shoot the puck routinely on net, and they are creative as well. They can skate and forecheck with the best. They have puckmovers at the back end (Seidenberg, Chara, Ference, Kampfer). They also do not give up too many odd-man rushes against them in the process.

But what impresses me most with this team is its physicality, grit, and teamplay. This team sticks up for each other. Every player answers the bell when called upon. They absolutely pummeled the Habs last night. (On a side note, I can guarantee that the Habs will be looking for some more grit before the trade deadline. They have to, because if they play Boston in the playoffs they will physically be beated down and out.) On defense, Chara, McQuaid, Ference, and Boychuk can all hit, skate, and fight. At forward, Lucic and Thornton are great fighters (sometimes I think I am watching Cam Neely when I watch Lucic). Horton is tough as nails. Campbell hits and fights. Marchand is an agitator with some great skill and finesse. They also have experienced, playoff tested veterans like Recchi. They remind me a lot of Anaheim from a few years ago.

I am NOT saying that an ability to win fights wins in the playoffs. What I AM saying is that a team filled with players willing to lay down their lives for each other at all times (witness Krejci vs, Pouliot last night, foolish or not) will be extremely difficult to beat over the course of 7 games. Especially when it's a team fully capable of filling the net with pucks.

I shudder to think of my Caps facing a team like this. We would probably fare worse than Montreal last night. We would be beaten down into a pulp. We would play timid, scared, defeated hockey against a club like Boston over a 7-game series. The Caps have no one who can deal with Lucic on defense. Schultz? Alzner? Poti? Erskine will try, but Thornton or McQuaid would step in to deal with it.

I really do not like the Bruins (or any Boston teams) at all. However, look out East. The B's with their efforts recently vs. the Stars and now the Habs are seriously putting the league on notice.

GMGM, look at how a playoff team is constructed ... look at the Bruins. Goaltending, team defense, good 5-on-5 play, tons of heart and snarl, never backs down, willing to give blood (and draw it) to win the battles. Fun to watch too ...

Posted by: coveredwithhisdust | February 10, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

@ The Pat

Semin for Nash and Umberger? Please?

Posted by: Jordan_Kitts | February 10, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

i would deal Semin for Nash, straight up.

Posted by: doughless | February 10, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

@doughless >

I'm with you. It seems that we don't actually have a second line, just two third lines and a fourth. Perrault can be creative in traffic - it's one knack he does have. I wonder if he and Johannson could be paired with Hendricks just to see if they get lucky.

Posted by: RedLitYogi | February 10, 2011 11:59 AM | Report abuse

@Jordan_Kitts

The reason the Caps didn't trade for Bieksa was because HE WASN'T TRADED TO ANYONE. Vancouver decided not to deal Bieksa when Salo got injured in the offseason. You cannot trade for a player the other team is unwilling ot give up.

Pronger- I'm happy the Caps did not trade Varly, Carlson and a #1(I think that turned into MJ) for Pronger. That would've been a bad deal for the Caps. Pronger is a great player, but that is too much to give up for one player who is over 35 and costs more.

Zajac- He wasn't traded to anyone either. So how do you know the Devils were willing to trade him? Oh wait, you don't.

Making trade proposals is fun, but to criticize GMGM for deals you think he could have made without knowing if the other team was even willing to deal said player is sort of ridiculous.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 10, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Another "Ryan Walter for Langway" type deal would be just wonderful.

Actually, the type of deal that could be made, ThePat, would be along the lines of Murphy and Gartner for Dino and Bob Rouse.

An equal type deal would be Semin and Green for whom?

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 10, 2011 12:01 PM | Report abuse

What amazes me about the posts about trades/acquisitions is the assumption that the desired players are available. There's no indication that the Devils will trade Zajac, nor that Columbus will part with Umberger. Where do you get this stuff?

Posted by: Thisistheyear | February 10, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

@LeftCoastCapsFan:

Your reasonable nature and rational way of looking at things is not welcome here (as evidenced by the responses to you). People here just want to b**** and complain, and they don't want to be called out on it. The only way to shut them up is to go far in the playoffs (and even that won't shut them all up).

Posted by: TheDoubleAlex | February 10, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

Semin and Green for Lucic and Seidenberg. I am sure people will laugh at this proposal, but Seidenberg is a puck mover who would take Green's spot on the PP and Lucic is everything the Caps need at forward. Would also give us a ton of cap space. The Bruins are smart enough not to do this deal.

Posted by: coveredwithhisdust | February 10, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Yea, we should all get in a virtual circle, hold virtual hands and sing kumbaya. The thought just brings tears to my eyes... not as much as the thought of McPhee's next move but close.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 10, 2011 12:10 PM | Report abuse

this year:

here is a list: http://www.thefourthperiod.com/trade_deadline/top25/index.html

Of those:

Fisher, Penner, Weiss, Setogouchi, Versteeg, Bolland, Ruutu????

Posted by: doughless | February 10, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

How bout Eakin, Poti and our #1 for Penner and Kurtis Foster?

Would Edm bite?

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 10, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

@ sgm

Point taken. All I'm saying is we've had chances to make our team vastly better via trade and we stood pat.

Posted by: Jordan_Kitts | February 10, 2011 12:26 PM | Report abuse

There's Boudreau at it again. The crybaby Semin gets his way to play with OV / Backs.

We know he's rusty, let him earn his minutes!

Knuble third line - that's funny.

Wait - Perrault as second line center - that's even funnier.

Imagine where Perrault would play on:
A) Detroit
B) Philly
C) any other team - maybe 4th line at best.

Posted by: Jaymagz | February 10, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Jaymagz:

85 would play on the Ice Crew for Wings or Flyers

Posted by: doughless | February 10, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Predators got Mike Fisher from ottawa for a 1st round pick and conditional draft pick according to Kevin ALlen USA TOday

Posted by: ThePat | February 10, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

@Jordan_Kitts

As much as I'd love to unload Poti, the guy is never healthy, and thanks to GMGM he now has 2 more years on his contract which make him virtually untradeable...

Posted by: chombie13 | February 10, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I'll trade ANYONE for a Cup!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 10, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

How bout Eakin, Poti and our #1 for Penner and Kurtis Foster?

Would Edm bite?

Posted by: tominsocal1 |

Possibly. That would be fine with me.

I think the most likely current Caps to be traded who could help net a valuable return are Fehr, Schulz, and Laich.

They are middle of the road salary guys who are not absolutely relied upon by the Caps(i.e. not a #1 line guy or a top 3 D-man) but would have good value to other teams looking for young players who can play now.

Ovie and Backstrom are not being dealt. Green is highly unlikely to be dealt(not impossible though) and I do not see Semin getting dealt(for a variety of reasons). Carlson and Alzner are not getting dealt. MJ is highly unlikely to be dealt also. Hendricks won't be traded also.

(On Alzner, were people on here actually criticizing him for his play? He has been awesome this year and will only improve. He is probably the Caps most reliable defenseman in terms of defensive responsibility).

Chimera, Knuble, Steckel, BGordon, and Bradley, do not have much trade value(why would a seller want any of these guys).

Posted by: sgm3 | February 10, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Permission granted kcbrichmond. For the record, Richmond isn't so bad. Neither are you.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 10, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

gmgm has transformed this team from a contender to a pretender.....horrid trades and let system in Hershey decline ...fire him

Posted by: wendel2 | February 10, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

"An equal type deal would be Semin and Green for whom?"

Keep Green. He is doing better than most people. Here is my trade (note, I know absolutely nothing about current salary cap space or contracts, so I make these fantasy trades based on something just being cool, not necessarily realistic):

Steckel, Schultz, and Semin to Atlanta for Byfuglien and Jim Slater.

Posted by: sabredc | February 10, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Alzner is a slight upgrade on Schultz.

Posted by: doughless | February 10, 2011 12:40 PM | Report abuse

The only way any of the guys we've been grooming in Hershey to make it on the Capitals much less any NHL team is to play in an NHL game with the Capitals. We won't know for certain what kind of center Perrault is going to be unless we throw him into the deep end of the pool and let him swim, float, doggie paddle through. He's going to make a lot of mistakes. For the record, if he was that horrible in Hershey (was he playing as a center there?), wouldn't we have unloaded him already?

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 10, 2011 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know if Junior Players are allowed to play with their NHL team after their Junior season has officially ended or are they only allowed to play with the AHL teams in the playoffs.

Posted by: chatton | February 10, 2011 12:42 PM | Report abuse

And everyone ignored my post that Fisher got traded to Nashville....for a 1st and 3rd(or 2nd if Nashville advances in playofs)

Posted by: ThePat | February 10, 2011 12:42 PM | Report abuse

fehr steckel laich sloan gordon all = busts

Posted by: wendel2 | February 10, 2011 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Chimera, Knuble, Steckel, BGordon, and Bradley, do not have much trade value(why would a seller want any of these guys).

Posted by: sgm3 | February 10, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Your comment makes me chuckle. Steckel and maybe Chimera aside; these other guys work within the system, play as team players, work the cycle, boards and corners. if our "young guns" played like htese guys do, Caps would be sitting pretty.

Posted by: doughless | February 10, 2011 12:43 PM | Report abuse

"Some of you posters sound like teenage girls in a chat room fighting over who's going to marry Justin Bieber and hating on whatever little starlet is on his arm this week." LeftCoastCapsFan

Well said! LMAO.

Posted by: hock1 | February 10, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I'd be willing to bet that Gordie Howe's late wife Colleen, rest her soul, would play a tougher brand of hockey if she were here than the majority of the softies in this lineup.

This team intimidates no one. They're going to run out the building come April.

Posted by: Fletch22 | February 10, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

@thepat

I saw it and wondered if he would have been traded to a team in the east for the same price or if they didn't want to have to face him routinely?

he is a player who has been mentioned here and if the caps missed an opportunity - guess what GM stinks

Posted by: ebolean1 | February 10, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

@thePat

I'm definately on board with the belief that no moves will be made til they return. MY opinion is that no moves will be made until within 24 hrs of the deadline. I really wish I could tell you everything I've heard but it would drive you crazy. One person says nothing is happening, another says big deal for 2C, and another says only depth. The fact of the matter is they're probably all right. Reading between the lines tho I would say (since I'm a gambler) there's a 30-40% chance a significant move is made. Most of what's being talked about w/GMGM is depth or minor tweaking.

And just to define I'm saying a significant move involves a top 6 forward.

I will say this however, there will be some big moves in the coming weeks with names being moved you might not thought would of been moved.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | February 10, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I guess I don't understand why the geographical location of the team has anything to do with making trades. Or is it just that their return coincides with closer proximity to the trade deadline?

Posted by: ebolean1 | February 10, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

could have used fisher for picks

Posted by: wendel2 | February 10, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

That second line is screaming for an upgrade a center. Thought so before, but to see it on paper is worse! Second line center, and another big, front-of-the net forward. Now while the pickin's are decent!

Posted by: coastallp74 | February 10, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Yeah! Why couldn't we get Fisher for those picks?! We need everything he brings to the table! Dam it

As for the line changes, it does no good. You only build consistency by sticking to a plan for more than 3mins into the first period.

I have been a BB supporter throughout his time here, but this s^%t is starting to tick me off.

Posted by: jmurray019 | February 10, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

After watching nothing but losses at verizon this year (don't worry, no more tix) this is what I see:

Nobody hits. It's pathetic. Our play in the neutral zone is also pathetic. Most OT losses in league, cant win a shootout. We only seem to get up for Pitt n TB. Why is that? There is no mojo. I don't even recognize this team from last year. Sorry to go on n on but I'm plain sick and tired of seeing lackluster performances time and again.

Only players worth keeping right now? Carlson, OV (he better get it together), Stecks for face-off w's, and MJ.

Posted by: christine333 | February 10, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Oh and I like Chimmers. Goalies stay of course

Posted by: christine333 | February 10, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Does it matter what the line combination are if they are going to be changed 10 minutes into the game when down by 2?

Posted by: RuskiSi | February 10, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I didn't find this Justin Bieber guy on NHL.com. What team does he play for & is he a 2nd line center?

ThePat, your right Fisher got traded. At least we don't have to keep talking about him & his 4.2m cap hit for 2 yrs.

Why don't we make Semin a center? It worked so well with Flash.

Posted by: chriscaps | February 10, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Would anyone have traded Kuznetsov for Phillips? The Caps will probably have a higher pick next year, so it's not far-fetched to expect that they could do as well in next year's draft. Also, that is a big salary cap hit.

Posted by: zmega | February 10, 2011 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Great job on those who have been Capitals fans for at least 10 years and forgot about last season and how well we played during the regular season. Minus the heartbreaking exit in the first rounds and everyone's deranged doomsday clock that is set to expire this season if we don't win a Stanley Cup, we're still in the race for it. We're not in 9th place is it, knocking on the door to be in the playoffs. We're in it. Not as high as some of you have decided we need to be, but we're in it. Season is not done and we still have a chance.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 10, 2011 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I guess i disagree with several posts, i think it's STILL more a matter of the 'system' and motivation then players. The semin-ovie-backstrom last year was fantastic, why? Because of the aggressive style of play, with that came goals, and with that confidence. I still don't like the new dump-chase system, it has made the players tenative and think too much. YES, they can overcome that with motivation and grit - seems the get up for big games, but i still don't like the system.


Posted by: gs12 | February 11, 2011 7:12 AM | Report abuse

I still don't like this new system, dump and chase hockey? That is why the best line in the NHL last year offensively (ovie-backstrom-semin) are all 'slumping'. The team wasn't built for this system, for being shut-out so many times. Sure, they can get up for some games and play well because of their sheer talent - but overall, they are going nowhere playing this style. my 2 cents.

Posted by: gs12 | February 11, 2011 7:15 AM | Report abuse

Every day I wake up and log in and think "I cant possibly read anything on here that was as dumb as sht $#&* I read yesterday"...and each day I am proven wrong. All this trade talk, while it serves to make some people feel like they 1) know what they are talking about and 2) give them a sense that they have some control over what is going to happen is just plain stupid. The skill players on this team that racked up points last year have not suddenly forgotten how to play hockey..they have been forced to play in a system that does not accentuate their strengths. However, I am a believer that this team needs the ability to play tight, dump and chase playoff hockey..WHEN NECESSARY. To be able to do that you have to become proficient at it, and that can only be done by empoying the system game in and game out until you are well versed in it. What I believe needs to happen now is that BB needs to "release the hounds" so to speak. He needs to allow the big dogs on this team to hunt from the opening face off, allow them to acquire a lead, and THEN be able to shift to a more tight checking dump and chase system to maintain the lead and take pressure off the goalie. The Caps didnt become the juggernaut they were last year offensively overnite, and they wont become a solid forechecking stay at home D team overnite either, but the stats on Goals Against and the PK show they are getting close to mastering the ability to shut teams down with D. What needs to happen now is for them to employ both systems routinely game in and game out. NFL teams do it all the time, wide open offense to gain a lead and then eat up clock with the ugly run game and play field position. With respect to trades, there is NO ONE this team is going to bring in at this stage who is going to 1) be able to master this system in time for the playoffs and 2) who is going to be good enough to jump start this offense, unless you plan to trade for Crosby or Stamkos. That said, we need a solid center to upgrade the 2nd line and it would be nice to get a young tough F who will get mean in front of the net. However, giving up players like Green or Semin or Eakin or the "K" russian is not only foolish, it is something that GMGM isnt even considering. This team went a decage or more without a Dman with Green's skills, let alone one in his prime and now you want to trade him? lol...people in this town have a short memory sometimes when it comes to this team..Heres another way to look at it..look at the last 10 years of Stanley Cup winners and tell me how many DIDNT have a Dman with Green's skillset......ummmmmm almost NONE...whatever we might be lacking now, trading Green for it just plugs one hole while opening up an even bigger one..

Posted by: opticlguy | February 11, 2011 8:36 AM | Report abuse

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