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Line tweaks and other practice updates

Some notes from this morning's practice at KCI:

--Marcus Johansson skated between Brooks Laich and Alexander Semin while Tomas Fleischmann moved to the line with Jason Chimera and Eric Fehr today in the latest line tweak. We'll see how they line up tomorrow.

"It was just something to look at, to see the chemistry," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We haven't been scoring anywhere near the pace that we're capable of. A lot of it, I think, has to do with we're not getting a lot of offense from our power play, but it's nothing new. I don't think any coach doesn't jiggle his lines up when he thinks it needs some maneuvering."

I'll be taking a look at the Capitals' scoring pace and how they might need to focus on the ugly, gritty goals in order to kick things up a notch, so keep an eye out for that.

Here's what the forward lines looked like in their entirety:

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Knuble
Laich-Johansson-Semin
Chimera-Fleischmann-Fehr
King-Steckel-Hendricks

--Mike Green said that he isn't ready to play yet and that he won't be in the lineup against the Bruins on Thursday. He wouldn't give any more details on his injury other than it is "upper body."

--Boyd Gordon did not practice for the second straight day, but Boudreau didn't offer any updates on his status. "It's safe to say he didn't practice today," Boudreau said. Matt Bradley was on the ice briefly but left before practice formally began.

--Michal Neuvirth took part in all of practice but said afterward he still wasn't feeling well.

--As many of you saw last night, Tim Thomas has a rather unorthodox style in net. Among other things, Alex Ovechkin was asked whether it's difficult to get a read on Thomas: "I like to play against him. He's kind of a guy you never know what he's going to do, and I don't know what I'm going to either. So, it's two guys who don't know what they're going to do."

By Katie Carrera  | October 20, 2010; 1:41 PM ET
Categories:  Boston Bruins  
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Next: Tom Poti returns to the ice after injury

Comments

"We haven't been scoring anywhere near the pace that we're capable of."


Could that be because you are attempting to make a winger a center which he will never be? Tired of BB's favorites, trade Flush already! Why was he resigned at that exorbitant amount again?

Posted by: PhilR | October 20, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Caps new 3rd line combo just shy of $7mil.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | October 20, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

SAOTI,

But that isn't overpaying at all right? And that will also be such a GREAT shut down defensive line!

Posted by: PhilR | October 20, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Does Ottawa have anything we need? Is Spezza any good? They got anyone on D other than Gonchar we could use?

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | October 20, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

@Phil

BB doesn't trade players...he is playing the guys GMGM has given him and with what we have right now, he is one of only options for center...And besides faceoffs, Flash has been playing fine...better than Backstrom (for now). That is our best scoring line so why give him a hard time?

Posted by: capscoach | October 20, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

@capscoach

To clarify, I think you mean playing fine on O.

But yeah, lets keep around a guy who cant win faceoffs or play D as our number 2 center....oh and pay him $2.6 a year.

And true BB does actually make the deals/trades, but it would be ignorant to think that he doesnt play a part in them. GMGM and BB almost certainly discuss needs/wants and if BB favors someone, you really think he is going to not talk that player up to keep him around?

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | October 20, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

@capscoach,

I'm sure that BB had no say whatsoever in the resigning of Flush, If you believe that one I have some ocean front property in Arizona to sell you.

And, IMO he has been horrible defensively and will not throw a hit to save his life. If not for Laich (who is always responsible defensively) and Semin (who has shown a willingness to go in the difficlut areas the last couple games and be more physical) that line would not be what it is. He can not take draws, does not play D, and is not physical.....all things needed in a @C.

Posted by: PhilR | October 20, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Should be "2C", sorry about that!

Posted by: PhilR | October 20, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

He is getting better on faceoffs, and with time he might be serviceable. I think that no matter how he played certain people would never believe in him...it is time to let go of what happened in the playoffs...sure Flash has issues, but he is good for what he is. We will trade him eventually and he will be appreciated by a team that needs a player like him. We don't need him so we then mistake that for thinking he is no good.

Posted by: capscoach | October 20, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I think Flash has played pretty decent so far this year. If you only looked at his play this year alone, I do not think he would be facing the same kind of criticism. But some people get views ingrained in their heads and are unwilling to alter them with the ever changing dynamic that is the NHL.

I'm not saying don't trade nor am I saying do not look for a possible improvement at that position. But Flash has actually played pretty decently the first 6 games of this year with the exception of the faceoff circle.

Posted by: sgm3 | October 20, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Does Ottawa have anything we need? Is Spezza any good? They got anyone on D other than Gonchar we could use?

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce

Spezza would be a godsend with our lack of center depth. Caps don't really have anything to give to get him. Maybe an NHL ready goalie, but I don't think GMGM trades Varly or Neuvy this season. At this point, I'd take Savard and I'm only half joking.

Posted by: ablake70 | October 20, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

@PhilR

You wouldnt have as many typos if you just copy and pasted my posts rather than stealing them and trying to reword them. :)

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | October 20, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

On Flash:

I agree with what PhilR and capscoach say. He does none of the things needed to be a 2C other than put points up. But honestly playing with Semin and Laich it would be hard not to put points up. Just watch him on the ice, he is 80% of the time the last guy on that line getting back in D and the C should be the first forward getting back. He doesn't skate hard to get back on D. Its those little things you pick up if you watch the play away from the puck. I know a lot of people tend to just watch the puck, next game everyone watch Flash away from the puck on D or in transition to D. It will only last less than a minute bc youll be so disgusted you wont want to watch anymore.

Of course since I said that this will be the one game he skates back and prevents an odd man rush and people will be like he plays D and works. So watch him for the next two games.

Posted by: ThePat | October 20, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Here is another take on lines. Again, try not to trash them too much, as it's just an idea.

OV - Backs - Fehr
Laich - Flash - Semin
Chimmy - Hendricks - Knuble
King - Stecks/Gordo - Brads

I know this drops MaJo off the roster, but as everyone has said he is not ready to be 2C at this point and I, like many others, feel like the third line should be more of a grit/shut down group. Again, it's just an idea, but I am teaching right now and bored, so I thought I would share.

Posted by: Aldred15 | October 20, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

"sure Flash has issues, but he is good for what he is." - capscoach

He is a wing plain and simple and we are forcing him into a center position. Square peg round hole anyone? So I agree, he is good for a wing position, but NOT center.

@ablake70

Ottawa GM is not happy and is talking trades already. Why not pour some honey water in his ear..."Flash would look dashing in an Ottawa jersey". Plus Spezza was part of trade rumors (general rumors not Caps specific) early on in the off season. So he might be open for trading him.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | October 20, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

@Aldred15

That is pretty good. I would go along with that.

I would also try MJ at 3rd line center some games with Hendricks dropping to 4th line LW when King doesn't play.

Posted by: sgm3 | October 20, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Spezza's salary is too large. It wouldn't fit.

Posted by: sgm3 | October 20, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

@ThePat

I think you meant what PhilR and I said. Capscoach is saying the opposite. And I totally agree with what you said on Flush.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | October 20, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

What does Spezza make and how many years left?

New post BTW

Posted by: PhilR | October 20, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

SAOTI,

Yeah we are tending to think along the same lines the past couple days, you will soon be known as a "hater" just like me!

Posted by: PhilR | October 20, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

@SeminAllOverTheIce

If GMGM turns Flash into Spezza, I won't complain about him for the rest of the season.

Posted by: ablake70 | October 20, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

King should never be in the lineup plain and simple when this team is healthy. Hendricks can actually play hockey and fight when needed. DJ King is like a sideshow and thinks all hes supposed to is fight. 5 minutes of ice time per game, no thanks. Give me someone that can play.

Posted by: ThePat | October 20, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Spezza is at $7M/yr for 4 more years after this one. No way that happens.

Posted by: sgm3 | October 20, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

@SAOTI

no I meant what capscoach said. She said hes been good bc hes been scoring. And I agree that that part of his game has been fine. The rest of the stuff I agree with PhilR and you on.

Posted by: ThePat | October 20, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Ouff, just too many years unless they plan on not resigning Semin. There have got to be other options out there that would be cheaper and shorter term as Eakin/MaJo are waiting in the wings to take over.

Posted by: PhilR | October 20, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Brad Richards is in the last year of his contract and is very likely to be traded. He is probably the best option that will be available at the deadline.

Posted by: sgm3 | October 20, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

@PhilR

Brad Richards

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | October 20, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Flash was signed to a one-year contract to avoid an arbitration hearing. He's UFA after this season and most likely gone if he continues his usual crunch-time disappearing act.

Posted by: CapsNut | October 20, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Brad Richards will have a bunch of suitors and they will want too much for him IMO. I am personally not willing to let either Eakin or MaJo go as in no more than two years they will be ready to play a major role. Now if it is MP I can live with that as I just don't see him being big enough to take the NHL abuse. Flash/MP/1st rounder for Richards I would do, not either of the other two I mentioned.

Posted by: PhilR | October 20, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Flash is facing the same type of criticism that Schultz was facing a couple years ago. Those that disliked him were adamant that he could do no right and would not recognize any good aspects to his game. Relax and let the experiment play out. Flash is doing okay and will hopefully improve before being shipped out in a trade.

Posted by: _Mark | October 20, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Flash was signed to a one-year contract to avoid an arbitration hearing. He's UFA after this season and most likely gone if he continues his usual crunch-time disappearing act.

Posted by: CapsNut

That's what we thought last season.

Posted by: ablake70 | October 20, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

hmmm...

our power play is struggling and we need to get more traffic in front of the net. Sure sounds like a broken record from the Montreal series. If they can fix those issues and maintain a solid PK, i'll be happy. Sure glad its October when they try to fix these problems.

Posted by: jimc93 | October 20, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

@ _Mark

Two different types of guys, Shultz has a heart, cares and wants to do better. Flush still hasn't shown any of this to anyone except BB

Posted by: bqts | October 20, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Schultz was accused of those same things and more by some here. Sure, Flash is not a complete player and has his weaknesses. I still think that he has improved and will continue to develop this season. At $2.6m, I believe he is a very tradeable assett and we'll see how long before he is traded for a piece of the puzzle that we need more.

Posted by: _Mark | October 20, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

@ _Mark

I was very vocal a few years back about shultz at the phone booth. But before last season he did something, he came back last season with a new out look or something. I know he was real sick in the off season this time around but he still has improved over last year, so far.

However in the same time frame can you really say Flush has improved???? He is going to be very hard to sell to anyone, maybe him a couple of others together gets us a player we need or want but not Flush on his own thats for sure.

Shout out to SECTION 115

Big thanks to Rod L was cool to shot the sh*t with you last night.

Posted by: bqts | October 20, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

The best second line center in the organizaton is stashed away for safe keeping in Swift Current Saskatchewan.

Posted by: dull | October 20, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

@bqts - are you serious, saying Flash hasn't improved?! The 2nd line has arguably been our best line for large stretches of play so far, and he centers that line!

And you want to kill Flash while defending Schultz - who got absolutely torched by average forwards the last two straight playoffs?!? Ridiculous.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | October 20, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Looking forward to tomorrow's game and can't wait to see the team in Boston in Dec.. Just want to recognize Erskine's effort last night; I thought he was the best dman on the ice and there shouldn't be further discussion here over upgrading him in the 6th spot. (For those of you who read my posts, yes, I'm trying to mount a John Erskine for President movement :) )

Posted by: vermontcaps | October 20, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

@vermontcaps - I know I've differed with you before but I agree Ersk played well last night, and certainly gives 110% every shift he's out there. I have no problem with him in the 6th spot.

You are wrong on one thing though - another John [Carlson] was our best d-man last night! In 24.5 mins of TOI btw, nearly a minute higher than the next highest Cap.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | October 20, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

And Erskine for Lucic is a tradeoff the Caps should make in a heartbeat, that's 1/3 of the B's best line [along with Krecji and Horton], off the ice with our #6 d-man. So, it would appear that your Mr. Erskine is also no dummy.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | October 20, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

On Flash -- The Caps coaches are not idiots or talent-blind. There's a reason that for two years now he's been both on the power play and the penalty kill. There's also a reason he was selected to be a number 2 center (as he was last year right when Ovie was named Captain and he was responsible for Semin immediately going on a scoring explosion.) He has great ice vision and great stick and puck skill -- anyone remember his pass to Chmera coming out of the penalty box? He usually is in good ice position and has very good anticipation -- keep track of how many breakout passes he intercepts or knocks off-track. He's bigger and hitting more this year -- he had two big hits against Boston, which shows he can learn and develop as a pro player (and his numbers go up every year). He goes to the dirty places -- check out who goes to the net when his line is on the ice, and who's at the net when he's on the power play; check out who's fighting on the boards too. Anyone expecting him to be Matt Bradley is being ridiculous. He's a tough skill player in the mold of of an Alfredsson, though he needs to develop to get to that level. If Semin played half as tough and smart as Flash, he'd be a legitimate all-star. Trade him at your peril -- the guy is a legit 25-goal, 30 assist two-way player who will get better.

Posted by: bjoad2 | October 21, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

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