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All Russian Top Line (Updated)

With the Caps struggling to find their groove offensively -- they've scored one goal or fewer in four of the past six games -- Coach Bruce Boudreau shuffled his lines this morning in an effort to get things going.

The biggest change came at the top: Alex Ovechkin, Sergei Fedorov and Alexander Semin are linemates again. The same trio had lots of success together in the world championships, at even strength and on the power play.

"It might change before the game," Boudreau said with a laugh before turning serious. "We have to move the lines around until I find the chemistry that's going to work. I don't like to move the lines as much as I've been moving them, but eventually, something is going to click and we'll keep those lines together."

Ovechkin, who has scored in only one game this season, said he's hoping the all-Russian line can rediscover some of the magic they had together at worlds.

"We need to find something that works," Ovechkin said. "We understand each other. We have a great center, a great right wing, so I just need to work hard and play well."

Fedorov added: "We understand each other better, feel the game together better. Coming from the same country, same background, and playing together in the world championships together, you have to think we'll feel better and play better."

Fedorov also knows that he'll have to be the defensive conscience of the line.

"I have to be the responsible one," Fedorov said. "I'll lay back and see what happens."

Some other notes:

*Based on the alignment this morning, the other lines are as follows:

Laich-Backstrom-Kozlov
Fleischmann-Nylander-Clark
Brashear-Gordon-Bradley

*So that, of course, means Steckel and Fehr are the scratches. Steckel has been scratched two straight games and three of the last five. Fehr, meantime, has played in only three games and not since Phoenix.

I've got imagine if things don't turn around offensively that Fehr will be getting another shot on Saturday.

*Perhaps dropping Backstrom and Kozlov down a line will help them get in gear. Backstrom has only four assists and Kozlov has only one goal.

*Looks like Johnson will, indeed, start in net tonight. He was the first off the ice today and Theodore stayed on for some extra work.

*The 'D' pairings are unchanged, as far as I could tell.

*And finally, don't look now, but the 'Canes are four points ahead of Washington in the Southeast Division. I know it's early, but the Caps can't afford to let them pull away. So tonight's game is about as big as they come in November.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 6, 2008; 10:18 AM ET
 
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Next: Therrien Responds to Semin's Comments

Comments

Oh snap, world champs line!

Posted by: _jordan | November 6, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I feel bad for Ward and the Carolina D tonight thats for sure. World Champs line was the best in the tourney no doubt!

I'll be there rockin the red! Student rush nighttt!

LETS GO CAPS!

Posted by: TowsonCapsFan | November 6, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Let's hope they have the same tenacity they had in the World Championships.

Go Caps!

Posted by: TheVampireCorndog | November 6, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Makes sense since this line was a success during the WC last Spring (just about everyone on the blog should know this). It's the other lines that peak my interest - 2nd line. Flash, Nylander, Laich; 3rd Line, Kozlov, Backstrom, Bradley ????

Is Schultz sitting tonight's game out? He should!

Posted by: puckman | November 6, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

carolina = boom outta here

Posted by: _stevo | November 6, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

That's interesting, but I'm not sure how productive it will be.

Posted by: matucker | November 6, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

YES!!!

That is a pretty wicked line and hope that can spark a few goals this evening.

Also, we have some depth so its not like our #2 line would exactly suck either.

Posted by: Grape8 | November 6, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I've been waiting for this one - I really hope it works, and we can get some consistency for a bit.

Posted by: Ames00 | November 6, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Sounds interesting; who's in goal, and what are the rest of the lines, and is Boudreau actually going to play Fehr tonight, or bench him again?

Posted by: irockthered | November 6, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Cool. I'll be at the game tonight - should be exciting!

irockthered: Johnson in goal tonight.

Posted by: Semvechkin | November 6, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

fehr should be benched because he sucks

Posted by: _stevo | November 6, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Awesome! Any word on the other lines yet? This is sure to be a successful experiment! BB - the mad scienist line juggler! Wahoo! Let's go Caps!

Posted by: edmontoncapsfan | November 6, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Boy, I'm blind this morning...

Go JOHNSON!

Posted by: irockthered | November 6, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

ABOUT F***ING TIME!

Posted by: DannyBoy1975 | November 6, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Awesome! Come on Johnson, lets see your best Nabokov impersonation.

Posted by: tuvanhillbilly | November 6, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Oh, sneaky, sneaky, SNEAKY Boudreau!

Carolina has only one Russian player, RW Sergei Samsonov. By putting the three top Russian players on our team on the same line, he allows them to communicate over the heads of the Hurricanes in rapid-fire Russian, reversing the usual language barrier problems.

I like it. :D

Posted by: irockthered | November 6, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Puckman,
As Feds is playing first line that only leaves us with 6 D. Too late to bring someone up (I think) and Sloan is injured anyway, so I'm guessing Schultz will play tonight.

I'd think we will see a big name benched tonight (Kozlov or Clark).

Although I like the look of the Eastern Bloc line I'd rather keep Sem and Ovie apart so two lines have a genuine scoring threat.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | November 6, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I have been saying since the beginning that I would love to see that line together, and once Ovie started having issues I was even more convinced that BB should try this. I'm happy that he finally is and I hope it give Ovie the spark he needs!

Posted by: finnmeg | November 6, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

1) This is the obvious, but probably temporary move until Gabby gets better production from AO and Backstrom. It also must mean all the regular defensemen are ok injury-wise.
2) If this doesn't work its time to start bringing up players from Hershey who might be a bit hungrier. Some of these guys are playing like they are reading their press clippings!
http://newfaux.blogspot.com/

Posted by: fauxrumors | November 6, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully the line stays together through the whole game. It's sad to see Nicky down a line or two, but we need to get going here.

Posted by: _jordan | November 6, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Let's hope this gets Ovie going. I think it will. Of course, we still need to keep the puck out of our own net. Really glad they're going with Johnson tonight instead of Jose "Three-or-More." But that's a problem that will have to be addressed if our Caps are going to make some noise.

Posted by: sinbin | November 6, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I'd say this is a line change to get #8 going. I'd prefer to keep Semin on the second line...gives us 2 scoring options and forces the other coach to play 2 lines in terms of defense. I might have put Flash on that second line over Kozlov...but I'm just a geek sitting at work on my computer and not the coach - lol.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 6, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

hahaha.. oh man, sinbin. That's gold. That's better than Atlanta's Kari "Lettin em in." Thanks for that.

Posted by: _jordan | November 6, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I guess Bruce is daring the Canes to focus on Ovie and leave Semin alone. This should give Ovie a little more open ice and maybe more rebound chances.

Posted by: koalatek | November 6, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I hope it works, but I am worried. I think this REALLY shortens our 2-4 lines. Hopefully, it pans out, but I'm kind of nervous about it.

Posted by: Whitermage | November 6, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Bruce is jumbling lines like crazy. This may work early on, but at some point dont we need to settle in, and give some guys a chance to get comfortable?

Just looking at the glass half empty a bit...Hey..Im still excited...Lets hope they can drawn some penalties tonight.

Posted by: SA-Town | November 6, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

I don't think the second line is going to be fantastic, but Nylander's line at least should be strong if Flash keeps it up.

Posted by: _jordan | November 6, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I like it. This should open up some ice for Ovie, you can't leave Semin unchecked. I hope being with his Russian buddies helps energize Ovie tonight. I think I would rather see Flash on the second, and maybe put in Fehr in place of Clark. That kid has got to be chomping at the bit right now and Clark has looked a little timid out there. Not having Stecks could hurt on the PK. That 6'5" reach of his is great for blocking lanes. GO CAPS! We need a W tonight!

Posted by: BearsWoooo | November 6, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I like it. :) Looking forward to tonight. Let's go CAPS!

Posted by: kittypawz | November 6, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, tonight is a "4 pointer" if ever there was one.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | November 6, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Boudreau is really screwing the pooch with Fehr. Could not believe that Bradley was playing above the fourth line and Fehr couldn't get any ice time last game.

Hell, bench Green and put Fedorov on defense to get Fehr among the forward ranks. Kill two birds with one stone - Green needs a message sent.

Posted by: AngryNomad | November 6, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

SAME old Caps.
When will people finally wake up and realize what I've been saying for years.
The Caps have the worst GM in the NHL.

BB is falling victim to politics.

"mark my words", nothing is gonna change.

Posted by: Cheef | November 6, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I have a spare ticket for tonights game if anyone wants to go.

Posted by: Steve_R | November 6, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Hell, bench Green and put Fedorov on defense to get Fehr among the forward ranks. Kill two birds with one stone - Green needs a message sent.

Posted by: AngryNomad | November 6, 2008 11:31 AM

-------------------------------------------
I just...I can't...

Posted by: Section117 | November 6, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Section 117,

You saying that you're not agreeing with that idea?

Angrynomad,

Who centers with your idea? Cause the obvious one to play if Feds is on D would be Stecks. There would need to be a wing scratched to get Fehr out there unless you want to shift #21 or #25 to center.

Posted by: Steve_R | November 6, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Line shake-ups are nice and all, but if your Defense and goalies still suck - does it really matter?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 6, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

It will be interesting to see how Laich and Nick work together. They did pretty good in the playoffs. But of course they had Semin with them vs. Kozlov. Hope Viktor skates a little better tonight. If so, that second line could bring some surprises. Nick and Laich are both due.

I like the Brash, Gordo, Brads line.

Would love to see Ovie get a few tonight. And I will be the loudest one at the VC if Nick scores tonight.

Here's hoping that as the season goes on we look at this game as the turning point to our season. The one where the Caps kicked it into gear and left other teams in the dust.

Posted by: Kim-3 | November 6, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Section 117,

You saying that you're not agreeing with that idea?

Posted by: Steve_R | November 6, 2008 11:48 AM
-------------------------------------------
No, I think it makes perfect sense to keep putting a 39 year old in a defense position when he should probably be up helping with secondary scoring in the forward position. It also makes even more sense to bench your second leading goal scorer and one of only 2 d-men who are above water in +/- all for the sake of "sending a message."

Oh yeah, trade JT (or buy him out) too.

Posted by: Section117 | November 6, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Sestion 117,

Yup, bench Brash, Clark and Nicky while we're at it. Erskine can move to 4th line LW, Laing gets called up to take Clark's spot, Alzner comes on up, Nicky can sharpen some skates, everybody's happy then.

Oops, gotta call up Varlamov too if JT's heading out of town.

I miss anything?

Posted by: Steve_R | November 6, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin is dropping the ceremonial first puck tonight.

Posted by: SA-Town | November 6, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Actually, in all seriousness, I might, just for a what-the-hell move, move Green up to Fwd and move Fedorov back to D. At the best, you'd get similar production, and the worst, you'd still have Fedorov on D and an uncomfortable winger up top (unless Green is a closet face-off dynamo). If the Caps can get their stuff together, maybe that'd be a fun thing to see sometime in a throw-away in March or April.

But it's assuming a lot that there will actually be throw-aways in March and April.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 6, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Nylander Kozzy and Baks as a second line could be pretty menacing I think, if Backs or Nyls can play wing? Have either of them played on the wing much? I like:

Ovie Feds Semin
Koz Backs Nyls
Clark Laich Fehr
Brash Gordo Steckel

That's two TALENTED top lines! No?

-- Jose 'Threeormore'! I LOVE THAT! Great stuff! He's gonna get better...

Posted by: edmontoncapsfan | November 6, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I fear that Ovechkin had a good summer enjoying his riches and super star status in Russia. Semin worked his bottom off all summer and got ready to show that he IS more skilled and talented than Ovechkin. He did not have time to work on his English. I forgive him that one..perhaps it is good for Caps hockey that HE is not concerned with being a super star.

Leonsis needs to have a good chat with his star! What protection did they build into that contract for underperformance?????

Well, maybe Semin can help Ovie get a goal!

After 9 games people do not seem that concerned but thats almost 1/8 the regular season. How long is it going to take to get him going? For the kind of money he is getting we should be concerned!

Posted by: hockeymom03 | November 6, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Not that Green's anywhere near the same level, but nobody was clamoring for Bobby Orr to play wing just because he scored a lot of goals. Just let him be an offensive D.

Posted by: _jordan | November 6, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

bobby orr was great. He also finished a season +124, I wouldn't go mentioning Green in the ballpark as orr

Posted by: _stevo | November 6, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Well said Jordan.

Posted by: Steve_R | November 6, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

How would Sluggo fix this problem...

Posted by: Leeguru | November 6, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

@ stevo,

"Not that Green's anywhere near the same level, but"

Posted by: _jordan | November 6, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

MOTHAH-LAND!

Posted by: FOHS_Marc | November 6, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Our defense is so crappy that we are actually ranked 16th in the number of shots on goal we allow in a game! Oh but where the defense really stinks is in the number of goals they allow, we are 21st in that stat! Of course we have actually won 1 game where we were outshot by the other team and I guess since we only allow that to happen a quarter of the time, that stat is not all that bad. Can ANYONE on this board point to a stat that shows it is our defense that is causing the problems we are haveing right now? I would like it better if we were top 10 in shots allowed, butu since we are in the bottom 10 in goals allowed, I think the problem is rather obvious!

Posted by: majiksea | November 6, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Is Eric Fehr this year's Steve Eminger? I didn't see the Phoenix game but the other two games he's played I don't think he made any huge mistakes, he even had 2 assists in one game.

Posted by: kateterp | November 6, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I agree with edmontoncapsfan. I'd liked to see Backstrom with Nylander: they could have some swedish chemistry. Eitehr ne could paly center, the other a wing.

Posted by: CapsRockTheRed | November 6, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,

Why all the BB hate lately for Steckel? When you look at the team stats he's one of the top forwards in hits & blocked shots plus his offensive numbers are as good as most of the supposedly more offensive players. His shooting percentage is second only to Semin.

Posted by: NBBear | November 6, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

While you guys are arguing you can check out my new blog. I will cover the Caps on a daily basis as well as other sports. My blog for the game tonight went up last night. Thanks for any support or spreading the word. And this is the last time Ill post it.

http://sportsgenius4life.blogspot.com/

Posted by: ThePat | November 6, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

What the Caps Lines Would Be in a Perfect World

1 Ovechkin - Fedorov - Semin
-- reprise the line that led Russia to the gold in last year's IIHF world championship

2 Backstrom - Nylander - Laich
-- in last year's playoffs, Caps took off when Backstrom was moved to line 2; will have chemistry with fellow Swede Nylander and opportunity because other team's top D-pair will focus on line 1

3 Fleischmann - Gordon - Kozlov
-- two Eastern Europeans and a guy who has more skill than he gets credit for

4 Brashear - Steckel - Clark
-- mission is to run into things at high speed; will play because Boudreau rolls four lines

Can someone forward these to Coach B.?

Posted by: tryks | November 6, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Backs is no good on the wing -- just look at the beginning of last season and you'll see that. Not to mention, none of those guys is a great shooter; it'd be a pass-first, second, third cycle line. That wouldn't work.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 6, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

And Boom goes the dynamite.

I think Flash/Nylander can get some action going with everyones attention on the top line.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | November 6, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I agree with DrinkingPartner. I wouldn't want a second line with 2 playmakers and a grinder... Koz's got some finish and Backy's been known to do the same. Keep Backy at center and Nyls with him for chem. with a finisher (Koz or even Flash) and watch line 2 light it up!

Posted by: edmontoncapsfan | November 6, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

"I think the problem is rather obvious!

Posted by: majiksea | November 6, 2008 12:34 PM
-------------------------------------------
Yeah, use GA/G as a stat. Because of the 9 teams that have a worse number, 4 of them (NSH, TOR , CBJ and DET) have better records from a points perspective. So...?

Posted by: Section117 | November 6, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

And how many shots a game is Tampa allowing?

Posted by: Steve_R | November 6, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Section117 - I don't see how anyone can be happy with Green's play, personally. He's been horrendous, worst player on the ice more often than not. He started off on a strong offensive note, still neglecting his defensive duties, and now the offense has died off. It's tough to get an offensive rhythm going when Green Green the Turnover Machine is blindly giving up the puck constantly in the offensive zone. Or worse yet, when he's nowhere to be found in the defensive zone because he is constantly behind the other goal line. He's made one solid defensive play in the last half dozen games, and that should be embarassing. And it should definitely be punished.

Steve_R - I would have either Laich or Fleischmann center at that point. Both have experience at the position. Preferably Laich centering the third line and Fleischmann moving up to Laich's spot on the second.

Posted by: AngryNomad | November 6, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Well, I hear what you guys are saying. The image of Backstrom and Nylander passing back and forth to one another ad infinitum worries me too. I would just make two points: (1) Laich is not just a grinder. You don't score 21 goals in a season without some scoring touch. And his physical presence will keep guys off of his finesse-oriented linemates. (2) Backstrom is still developing. He turns 21 in a couple of weeks; we don't know yet what he's going to be in the NHL. You can argue that for the Caps to go to the next level, he needs to be more than a playmaker. He's got a good natural shot, he just doesn't use it enough. With gentle but incessant prodding from the coaches, I believe that Nicklas can be a 30-goal scorer.

And he may have to be because there just aren't a lot of other places to go on this roster for offense.

Posted by: tryks | November 6, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

He's been horrendous, worst player on the ice more often than not. He started off on a strong offensive note, still neglecting his defensive duties, and now the offense has died off. It's tough to get an offensive rhythm going when Green Green the Turnover Machine is blindly giving up the puck constantly in the offensive zone. Or worse yet, when he's nowhere to be found in the defensive zone because he is constantly behind the other goal line. He's made one solid defensive play in the last half dozen games, and that should be embarassing. And it should definitely be punished.

Posted by: AngryNomad | November 6, 2008 1:39 PM
-----------------------------------------
Read my 11:59am post and tell me, in practical terms, what it does for the club to bench a guy whose stats (like it or not) are the second best offensive stats on the club? You also pull a power play QB and your only real source of scoring on the blueline right now. So you bench Green, at home, against a division rival. And if they lose and Fehr doesn't put in a solid effort, you've blown a division game that you're going to need in April, and for what?

Putting 52 in the press box is like starting Trent Green at quarterback, it's a desperate move. With a 5-4-2 record, the boys might be frustrated, but the desperate bus hasn't pulled in yet.

Posted by: Section117 | November 6, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Play brash 36 who had zero hits last game and 2 fights all season. Play Clark 32 had done dick all season
Sit Steckel 26 and Fehr 23 ??????????

Posted by: wendel2 | November 6, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Deep breaths everybody, it's early in the season.

Posted by: AMHV2772 | November 6, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

@hockeymom03

For the kind of money he is getting we should be concerned!

Did you wear a lipstick when you posted it?

Posted by: CodePoetry | November 6, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

@STEVERRR
the leafs benched anybody that was not responsible defensively or playing without
emotion.They have way less talent than the Caps and yet have more points and more goals. Maybe sitting some of these stars on their wallets for a gaame remind them of how they got their wallets full in the first place. Sitting Fehr and Steckel and playing duds like brash clark and backstrom is bullshyt

Posted by: wendel2 | November 6, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

"They have way less talent than the Caps and yet have more points and more goals."

Yeah, 2 more points, 6 more goals, and HAVE PLAYED 2 MORE GAMES!!!

"Maybe sitting some of these stars on their wallets for a gaame remind them of how they got their wallets full in the first place. Sitting Fehr and Steckel and playing duds like brash clark and backstrom is bullshyt"

w/e

Posted by: Section117 | November 6, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Got it wendel, Brash, Clark and Nick to sit. Anyone else while you're at it?

Posted by: Steve_R | November 6, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Dumb Dumb Dumb. Boudreau is proving to be no better than Hanlon. He can't motivate his team to play hard unless they're coming off a losing streak. His top players don't work hard. Mike Green's contract and numbers have gone to his head and the Caps didn't see that coming? ? And scratching Fehr and Steckel while keeping Gordon in the lineup? Ya that makes sense. Not!

The Caps are exactly where they should be. A talented underachieving team that gets outworked on most nights and is on the outside of the playoffs looking in. They're not an elite team because their talent level isn't good enough to overcome their lack of dedication to winning at any cost. The Hurricanes have one-third the roster and look at how well they're playing.

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 6, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Maybe we should bench that overpaid scrub Ovechkin while we're at it since he only has 2 goals.

Posted by: _jordan | November 6, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

And forget about Alzner being the savior. He can barely cut it at Hershey. He's been on ice for more goals against than any other Hershey defenseman.

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 6, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Section117 - I disagree with the assertion from the get-go, because he is not one of their best offensive players right now. That ended in game three. In the last eight games, Mike Green has 1g-2a-3p. He's also a -4 in the last seven games. He has not yet scored an even strength goal this season. In the three games he has scored goals, the Caps have won one of them.

Benching Green is not a desperation move, it's a motivational move to prevent you from having to make a desperation move later in the season when his play has moved further and further from the defensive end of the ice.

As for Fedorov's secondary scoring, half of his even strength points have come while he has been playing defense rather than center. Not sure I see the tradeoff - his presence in the offensive end is felt just as much when he is manning the blue line as when he is flanked by wingers.

Posted by: AngryNomad | November 6, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Tryks:

Laich is exactly the type of player to whom Semin was referring in his rant about Crosby. "You can put any mule up front and promote him and make him a star... and if he scores 100 points" blah blah (obviously a terrible recitation of the actual quote). The point is that Laich benefited from standing in front of the net on most of those goals -- some of them were nice, but most were garbage. Laich's 21 goals are indeed 21 goals, and nothing to sneeze at, but they're not Semin 21 goals, where he'll actually make use of the playmakers on the line. Laich needs a shooter on his line so he can get chances at rebounds.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 6, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

At least Ovechkin does other things besides score goals. He's not useless like some other players who are worthless unless they're scoring goals.

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 6, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

@SteveR
Tampa is dead last in shots allowed 36.4, however they don't have the problems we do at another key position so through 11 games we are tied with them in points. Until the last game we have had horrendous goaltending, not terrible defense, not lack of scoring (most nights), just very crappy goaltending.

Posted by: majiksea | November 6, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Wendel is right, Brashear and Backstrom need to be benched at least for a game or two to send them a message. Those 2 are useless right now. Backstrom looks like a total dud, just a carryover from last yr's playoffs. He and Schultz look worse this year than last. His rookie point season means nothing if he's going to simply not work hard out there. I'd be less inclined to bench Clark, he played well in the last game.

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 6, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

DrinkingPartner is right, I think. Second half of last season was a weird aberration for Laich. He had some crazy unrealistic shooting percentage that most guys would never be able to sustain over a full season. But it would be sweet if he did.

Posted by: _jordan | November 6, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

well, actually, we've been pretty terrible overall, the past few games. Johnny, Feds, and Flash have really been the only consistently bright spots so far this season. And Ovechkin's hits on Malkin, of course.

I'm wearing my Rookie-season Ovechkin jersey tonight in hopes it sparks something out on the ice tonight.

It'll work.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 6, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

@ cstanton1,

Are you kidding? The case can be made that Backstrom was our second best forward in the playoffs last year!

Posted by: _jordan | November 6, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

If ONLY Backstrom was playing like a carry-over from the playoffs! He was a beast! 4 goals in 7 games for Backstrom? That's unheard of!

Unless, of course, you're referring to his first 3 games of the series, when everyone wearing a Caps sweater was DOA.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 6, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

@steve we have 2 spares so we need only to sit 2 duds at a time thought u'd know that steve..... doing something might send a message just switching lines game after game doesnt seem to be... these players need to be embarrassed for their lack of effort ...not dressing for a game does that

Posted by: wendel2 | November 6, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

@section 8 or 117
the point is the leafs are horrible and they are ahead of the caps get your head out of where ever it is

Posted by: wendel2 | November 6, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Is anybody really worried about Ovie? He doesn't look like himself on the ice...

Posted by: rachel216 | November 6, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

ov is worried about his grandpa ,his mom,his clothing line,his cars,and his salary. No wonder he doesnt seem able to focus on the ice

Posted by: wendel2 | November 6, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Backstrom looks like a total dud, just a carryover from last yr's playoffs.

Did you and I watch the same Nashville game? Broke up an offensive two-on-one rush on his own, stopped what would have been a prime scoring chance. Assists, shots, scoring chances in the last two games. He's coming into his own, he just can't do much with Ovechkin locked off. Let's see what he does with Laich.

However, as piss-poorly as most of your posts have been, I think you're right in that the Caps are getting sloppy and lazy and outworked. They're underachieving right now - they should be so much more than they are. But ... I think there's something going on behind the scenes that we're not seeing. Something else is up, and it's hurting the game. I don't think it's Boudreau's fault - look at past teams he's coached. Motivation can't just come from the coach - it's got to come from within the team and within the individuals. Does this team have leadership right now? What's up? I'll admit that I don't know.

Posted by: kittypawz | November 6, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Benching Green is not a desperation move, it's a motivational move to prevent you from having to make a desperation move later in the season when his play has moved further and further from the defensive end of the ice.

As for Fedorov's secondary scoring, half of his even strength points have come while he has been playing defense rather than center. Not sure I see the tradeoff - his presence in the offensive end is felt just as much when he is manning the blue line as when he is flanked by wingers.

Posted by: AngryNomad | November 6, 2008 2:30 PM
-------------------------------------------
Two things; first based on the logic of your premise you must be benching 8 and 19, yes?

Secondary scoring doesn't refer to Fedorov because he's the other second highest point producer on the team so far. But wait, I forget; do you count his numbers because he's scored more recently?

Posted by: Section117 | November 6, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

@section 8 or 117
the point is the leafs are horrible and they are ahead of the caps get your head out of where ever it is

Posted by: wendel2 | November 6, 2008 2:44 PM

-------------------------------------------
Peace troll.

Posted by: Section117 | November 6, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Benching Green is not a desperation move, it's a motivational move to prevent you from having to make a desperation move later in the season when his play has moved further and further from the defensive end of the ice.

Posted by: AngryNomad | November 6, 2008 2:30 PM
-------------------------------------------
To piggyback onto something for a sec, since everyone want's to compare Green to Orr or other d-men from the past, take a look at Paul Coffey's numbers during the Pittsburgh years. The guy played no defense. To my knowledge, Bob Johnson never benched him to "regain his defensive composure." He's kinda got that free reign with the understanding that backup will be there, no?

Posted by: Section117 | November 6, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I think maybe some of the Vets will be sat on Saturday if they don't show up tonight...and I'm not exactly talking points...Clark and Kozlov need to show some passion and make something happen out there. I understand Brashear - need an enforcer in a division game so little Nicky and Semin don't get pile-driven all night. I'd still take the size of Fehr and Steckel on those bottom lines.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 6, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Peace out kids, off to pick up Mrs. 117 and head down there, maybe stop at Duffy's along the way.

Posted by: Section117 | November 6, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

FICKLE   Pronunciation [fik-uhl]
–adjective

1. likely to change, esp. due to caprice, irresolution, or instability; casually changeable: i.e. fickle weather.

2. not constant or loyal in affections: i.e. a fickle fan.

Come people. I hope for the team's sake certain people here *cough* wendel, cstanton *cough* aren't going tonight. No place for such negativity in the VC.

Seriously, the crowd need to be behind them not on their backs, even if we do go a goal down.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | November 6, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Do I need to repost what I said a few threads ago? When I see DaveUK supplying the definition of "fickle," I get a little worried...

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 6, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Dave, when you coming over for a game?

Figure I'm just going to trade in my extra ticket for tonight for a ticket for a future game.

Posted by: Steve_R | November 6, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Steve,
How long is a piece of string? Hopefully sooner than later.

As I posted on an earlier thread:
Some people need some perspective. Count yourself lucky you are able to go see your team regularly, that you get to see the world's best player 40-odd times a season, that you get to see NHL hockey at its high speed, dangerous, skillful, graceful, violent best in the flesh.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | November 6, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

**********************************
First "official" ;) bandwagon check of the season!!!

Prior to this game: Who thinks the Caps are going to do better this year than last (Go To The Second Round)?

If the answer is yes, do you think the boys will get BB fired in the process in favor of the task-master they seem to be begging for?

**********************************

Posted by: BandwagonCheck | November 6, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Amen Dave.

Can't find anybody to join me tonight, but am happy to head down there by myself. The people in my section are cool, so I'll have plenty of people to bs with.

Posted by: Steve_R | November 6, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Section - Why would I bench 8 and 19? I didn't realize they were blowing their defensive assignments every time and generally contributing nothing but turnovers. My issue isn't that Green isn't scoring - you brought up his scoring, not me. My issue with Green is that he is doing nothing else, and now he isn't even scoring on top of it. He is a detriment when he is on the ice right now and he is showing no interest in his defensive assignments. His turnovers are atrocious, and his "defense" is hurting the team. Ovechkin isn't hurting the team.

The Fedorov comment was in reference to your 11:59 post where you snidely remarked "No, I think it makes perfect sense to keep putting a 39 year old in a defense position when he should probably be up helping with secondary scoring in the forward position." He's provided just as much of that secondary scoring from defense as he has up front, plus he has been a major boon to the team's actual defense when he plays there. I mentioned the points in response to your comment about his contribution to secondary scoring.

Posted by: AngryNomad | November 6, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

if we win our next two games then we'll have the same record as Carolina. In fact if you look at the standings we're only one win away from having the same record as the Penguins. I wonder if any of their idiotic fans are saying how much of a bust their season has been, and if they want to see guys like miroslav satan benched. You guys are ridiculous, DaveUK was spot on...fickle fans and the Caps don't deserve you. Like I said yesterday, if the Caps are still draggin' ass 25 games in I'll be worried then.

Posted by: reesem37 | November 6, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Amen Dave.

I still pinch myself every time I see Ovechkin in a Caps uniform. He is just the epitome of what you would want as a player and teammate. Looking down on the ice and seeing Fedorov is also amazing.

Tonight I get to be at VC watching the team I love play a big game against a Division rival. Life is good!

Posted by: Kim-3 | November 6, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you all - stick by your team. On the other hand, when you are spending $200.00 a night on tickets - you expect a certain level of performance. Especially, after spending $200.00 a night for years of the absolute horror of "rebuilding."

"The rebuilding of this team is over" - Ted

I think the customers have a right to complain about the quality of the product.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 6, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to put my name down with those who think the Caps are going to be alright in this one.

As far as who scores(?!!) Can't wait to find out!

Posted by: austinsteve | November 6, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Talking about others teams fans, some of the other teams "fans" ( I say that with eyes rolled) are freaking out like some of our "fans"
Phiily had a awefull start
Pens fans are freaking out
Flames fans were , before we jump started there winning streak
Tampa Fans-more of same

The season has just begun, they will be hi times and low times, we just need to stay calm....IMOA

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | November 6, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Is this team over .500 or under .500 answer me this? Why do the Flyers suck this season? Why aren't Detroit and Montreal undefeated? Why is the sky blue? The rebuilding is over; we are 5-4-2, not 2-7-2. Listen to Coach Boudreau, "once something starts to click, then we'll keep those lines and start to build some chemistry." This team is not the same one that went to the play-offs last year, when Huet was playing way over his head, and the Caps were in must win situations for the last three weeks of the season. This team is above .500 and has played the third most road games out of any team in the NHL. These next run of home games will show you fair weather fans exactly where the Capitals stand this season.

Posted by: reesem37 | November 6, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

So we know AO-Feds-Semin can score based on the worlds, but can that second and third line do anything for us with all the big guns up top? That's the question.

In the playoffs what were the top two lines that started to click? Wasn't it:
OV-Feds-Koz
Laich-Nicky-Semin

It's not like Kozlov ISN'T Russian or anything! :) And with the way Lacih-Nyls-Semin were playing, why not bump Nicky down to the third line? I also think the team is better when Steckel plays. Thoughts?

Posted by: WVPhil | November 6, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

5-4-2. What was the record last year at this time? I think the Caps are just slow starters. No worries. They're a desperation team. It seems like they have a flare for the dramatic. Going 10-1 isn't very exciting! Come on. Let them fall to a couple games out of the playoff picture (which is pretty much where they are now right?) or under .500 hundred before you start worrying. They'll come around. Tonight's a turn around game... let's see what happens. GO CAPS!

Posted by: edmontoncapsfan | November 6, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I was wondering when they would do this. Ovie may actually have some room on the ice because Semin is so lethal. When is Boudreau going to bench Brash? He is a half step behind and I counted 3 giveaways in one shift the other night. Put Fehr in instead. He is atleast hungry!

Posted by: psugolf | November 6, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

new thread :-)

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 6, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

awesome... wish i was there, hopefuly they keep that line for sat...

Posted by: vik191 | November 6, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

green is not a forward. the problem is not that he is a hidden forward forced to play d. the problem is he is a d-man occassionally choosing not to play d.

it's not crisis time yet and there is no reason for the fans to act like it is. however, part of the problem over the last few years, is the caps were much less likely to exhibit effort and alignment to the game plan when there was no crisis (under either hugs or gabby). that seems to me to not be sutainable. figuring out how to make the team more of a machine that follows the routine and less about adrenaline inspiring a short burst of effort is a long term coaching challenge.



Posted by: am_jim | November 6, 2008 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Excerpt of my post here the day before this happened:

I also would like to see the Russian line that did so well in the World championship on the way to the gold medal. I can see each of them frustrated half the time with the actions of their current line mates. They expect one thing and something else happens. Put them together for a game or two and see what happens. I think they'll do great.

1. Brude does read this blog.
2. Bruce thinks I know what I'm talking about.
3. Where do I apply for assistant coach or at least a scouting position with the Caps?

Posted by: ranndino | November 9, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

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