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Boudreau: Green is 'sore'

Bruce Boudreau was coy when asked whether Alexander Semin will indeed skate on the first line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom tomorrow against the Flyers. The coach said he was considering it, but had not yet made up his mind.

"I guess anything's possible," said Boudreau, who hinted that he still likes having the Alexes on different lines.

Regardless of where Semin plays, his return figures to give the slumping power play a boost. The unit is 0 for 11 the past two games -- and Semin missed both of them. Semin is third on the team in power play points with four.

Winger Tomas Fleischmann, however, isn't all that close to rejoining the lineup. He looked rusty over the weekend in Hershey, racking up a minus-2 rating and one assist in two games with the Bears.

"He was doing a lot of stickhandling and was getting checked because he hadn't played against anybody all year," Boudreau said. "He's still there. And might need a couple of more games. But the progress from game one to game two was real good."

Something else to keep an eye on: Boudreau put his players through a hard skate at the end of today's practice, but two of the team's star players weren't around for all of it.

Ovechkin came off a tad early, and later said he broke a skate; defenseman Mike Green also left early with what Boudreau described as soreness. Boudreau wouldn't say what exactly is ailing Green, but did say it's not his left knee. Green was involved in a knee-on-knee collision with the Islanders' Nate Thompson.

"He's fine," Boudreau said of Green. "He was just sore today. He came off a little bit early. It wasn't the knee. He was sore in another part of his body."

Boyd Gordon is another player who remains sore. Back spasms have kept Gordon out of the past four games, and he wasn't on the ice today, either.

"I don't know if it's more severe, but it keeps lingering," Boudreau said. "It's taking time."

Boudreau said not having Gordon, a right-handed faceoff man, on Saturday contributed to the Caps losing 70 percent of their draws. But it wasn't the biggest reason, according to winger Mike Knuble.

"We got a little bit outworked in the game, and it was all over the ice, from one-on-one battles to faceoffs," Knuble said. "It's probably why we weren't winning key draws. In the offensive zone, you lose pucks on a power play and you're chasing pucks down. It's not the center's fault. It's the guys on the ice with him, a three-, four-man job to win a puck if there's a scrum. It's a small thing you can fix just by working harder."

Backstrom's 40.8-percent success rate on faceoffs isn't helping, either.

One more thing: Defenseman John Erskine's bruised hand isn't healing as fast as he had hoped. He is practicing, but he can't battle and he can't take a slap shot. He has missed four games.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  October 26, 2009; 12:56 PM ET
 
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Next: Morning roundup: top-scoring trio reunited?

Comments

Mike Richards picture belongs in the urinals tomorrow night...

Posted by: SA-Town | October 26, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like we are 10 games in and conditioning may already be an issue. The high-minute guys are already banged up.

Pick it up Smitty...we need a healthy team.

Posted by: netminder71 | October 26, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

In other news, Nylander had 5 assists and a shootout goal in 3 games over the weekend for Grand Rapids Griffins. What a bum.

Posted by: jimc93 | October 26, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Here's to hoping Nylander increases his trade value...

Posted by: Cerealman | October 26, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

cool, sounds like he's great against AHL competition!

Big Andy Wozniewski has 14 pts and leads the AHL in that category. Poor kid could barely crack Toronto's lineup when he played. Chris Minard who has a lot more youth on his side than Nylander does and therefore more upside, has something like 75 goals in his last 125 games. And he's still looked upon as a fringe NHLer.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 26, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, you didn't use the word "meantime" even once in this post...

Posted by: tmac2yao | October 26, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

It looks like Gagne is out tomorrow night.

@cstanton1

Nyles had 5 points in 3 games. Flash didn't do much at all this weekend in his AHL games, yet we are going to accept him back in the lineup. I know Nylander is never playing for the Caps again but he'd help this power play out a lot right now bc he'd keep possession of the puck.

Posted by: ThePat | October 26, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

SA-Town,
No one belongs in the urinal more than Briere. I can't stand seeing that guy on the ice.

Posted by: NFeKPo | October 26, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

...or Snyder. I wish he was in the urinal.

(Sorry for keep bringing him on this blog but still wouldn't you love to see that)

Posted by: NFeKPo | October 26, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Tomorrow night will be a lot uglier than the meeting earlier this year - will be the first major test of having lost Brash. Erskine out to -- leaves it up to Brads.

Posted by: hook99 | October 26, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I agree with NFeKPo, I can't stand that little dwarf!

Posted by: eorr53 | October 26, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Both of them!

Posted by: eorr53 | October 26, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

Nyles had 5 points in 3 games. Flash didn't do much at all this weekend in his AHL games, yet we are going to accept him back in the lineup. I know Nylander is never playing for the Caps again but he'd help this power play out a lot right now bc he'd keep possession of the puck.

Posted by: ThePat | October 26, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

hey look, you'll get no argument from me regarding Flash. I don't want him back in the lineup that badly. But the reason he'll get the chance over Nyles is obvious. He has more upside and Bruce is married to him in a way because he vouched for Flash, he "knows" Flash from their time in Hershey etc etc.

I think Flash was a -3 in one of his games this weekend.

as to Nyles keeping possession of the puck, yes he can distribute the puck effectively if he has time and space on the ice. What I've noticed is that other teams play a wider box and try to pressure our PP guys on the point or the half-wall. I don't see this being a strength of Nylander. Not to mention, he's not strong on the boards, he won't go get the puck in traffic if he needs to, he's not going to be setting up any screens if his wingers end up further away from the crease and they need him to switch in. I see him being better in some aspects and worse in others. No net benefit.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 26, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

The reasons other teams play the caps wide and with pressure are:
1) If you let backs, green, semin ,ovi have time and space then the next play will be a center ice face-off.

2) The caps(players) seem to hold onto the puck too long on the pp which goes back to 1

3) other teams know the best way to slow the caps pp is to play wide and pressure the half-wall, cutting the ice high and low. Blocking the seam pass to backside cutting point and letting the near corner d play 2 on 1 - forcing a bad cross or short side shot.

4) Nyls circling on the half wall would make the box slide and open the cross low and the seam to the cutting backside point depending on the backside d-man play.

The caps are young talented and often with young talented people, they tend to be a little hardheaded and easily slip into bad habits. They can learn from last year or repeat. I vote for learn but we will see.

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | October 26, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

people who come on here and criticize about all the line combinations are like the skins fans who complain about play selections... neither of those things really do NOT matter as some of you people think they do.

just plain old EXECUTION matters a whole lot more than any of those things.

Posted by: joek443 | October 26, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Thats not at all a parallel comparison. Play selections for the Skins (x's and o's)is not the same as line combinations in hockey (rooted in personnel). It would be like saying it doesn't matter if the Skins have a crappy O-line or a good one, they just have to execute the play that was called.

Cpt Kirk is right in that its always good for players to play on different lines once in a while to get a feel for their teammates and be more versatile. But you can't simply plug in a Flash for a Bradley on a line if you're expecting that player to play a certain role. Why do you think we went out and got a Knuble? He excels at banging in rebounds and causing some havoc in the crease. If line combinations didn't matter and it was all about execution, we could've saved a whole lotta money by having another player (Fehr, Flash) do the same thing.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 26, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

4) Nyls circling on the half wall would make the box slide and open the cross low and the seam to the cutting backside point depending on the backside d-man play.

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

nice resp, love the details. I can't predict the above scenario, would have to see it play out.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 26, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Tomorrow night will be a lot uglier than the meeting earlier this year - will be the first major test of having lost Brash. Erskine out to -- leaves it up to Brads.

Posted by: hook99 | October 26, 2009 2:09 PM

I wouldn't want to be Bradley's face after Tuesday's game.

re: Nyles. Last year, he couged up the puck as soon as the defender got close. He was like the guy in baseball who always makes the out to kill the rally.

Posted by: tominfl1 | October 26, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Goon Patrol for tomorrow...Gagne is hurt, so Cote is in...

Van Riemsdyk – Carter – Briere
Hartnell – Richards – Pyorala
Carcillo – Giroux – Asham
Cote – Powe – Laperriere

Posted by: SA-Town | October 26, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

sa town, i've found that the more you expect a brawl fest, the less likely it is to happen. however, the caps do need to be prepared for a playoff like atmosphere. they are certainly going to need to hit more than they did in atl or long island. that said, a pp goal off the bat might be a good deterrent. they need to play disciplined and not get goaded into any unecessary dust ups, particularly if they get a lead.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | October 26, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

tuff lineup-asham, carcillo, cote can all outpunch Bradley. He'll have a better shot against Powe and Lappy.
That's a pretty physical Flyers lineup of forwards. It'll be interesting to see how our team reacts.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 26, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

We have no worries, we have that monster enforcer Jeff Schultz on our team. He could take them all on one right after the other.....Big Bopper Schultz!

Posted by: PhilR | October 26, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

i would give my left nut to see that..
After the SJ loss, expect the Flyers to ramp up the intensity. I expect Mike Green to get hit hard and often. And coburn always likes to run Semin.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 26, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

If all out war breaks out, we've also got Bongo.

Posted by: hook99 | October 26, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm not all that worried about Flash yet. It was only his first and second game back on the ice after a serious health problem over the summer.

The first game of the weekend, Flash was NOT alone in looking craptastic for the Bears. I didn't see anything worth writing home about on the entire team, although Neuvirth did make a couple of good saves. They simply did not impress. Of course, watching them skate in multiple shades of pink, not only on their sweaters, but on their SOCKS was a bit like watching a war between a cotton candy machine and Pepto Bismal... and about as appetizing.

Guess that explains the three fights in the first frame...

I did see Flash starting to pick it up towards the end of the game, though, and I found that encouraging, even though the Bears did lose on Saturday night.

Hershey reports, however, that Flash's conditioning stint concluded on Sunday... that's only two games. I was hoping they'd extend it to next weekend as well, to give him a bit more time to get up to speed... :-(

Maybe we'll see him Tuesday night.

Posted by: irockthered | October 26, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

@Fro_ (from last thread) - re: famous people.

I have one rule of thumb when it comes to the famous: Their dinner table is not my autograph line.

Will I say hello on the street? Sure!

Will I ask for an autograph? No.

If I spot someone famous outside of his/her profession doing something that normal people do, I will not ask for an autograph, snap a photo like I'm some kind of paparazzi, or whatever.

A lot of people did that to Alex Ovechkin at the Season Ticket Holder party when the poor guy was just trying to buy some hotdogs for his "handlers". I mean, jeez. Let the man get his hotdogs in peace! He and Alexander Semin were also both mobbed coming off the Superman roller coaster when they were looking at pictures taken on the ride.

At the autograph table, at Kettler when the guys come off the ice after a practice and come over to sign - these are appropriate places to ask for an autograph or take a picture. But once the player is in street clothing, he is then "off duty," and asking for an autograph is impolite at best, downright rude at worst.

Posted by: irockthered | October 26, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1 - Hope you don't need it any time soon. ;-)

The Flyers have a tough lineup of thugs.

I noticed, too, that Mike Richards got called for charging in the game after he delivered that brutal center ice hit he wasn't suspended or fined for... so the referees have their eye on him now. Let's hope he doesn't apply similar tactics tomorrow night!

I hope Green spends some time in that hot tub of his getting rid of his soreness before tomorrow night. Glad to see Sasha's feeling better!

Posted by: irockthered | October 26, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

If I see a player I give them $100 bill and thank them for "entertaining me."

They are usually a bit confused...

Posted by: SA-Town | October 26, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

They are physical, but Sharks beat them and then beat them up yesterday.

Posted by: CodePoetry | October 26, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Watch how Jody Shelley knocked down Richards (twice) and then beat up Laperriere

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmvBAik3eIk

Awesome!

Posted by: CodePoetry | October 26, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

The Atlanta Thrashers will be without star forward Ilya Kovalchuk for two-to-four weeks. Fracture in foot


I for one am sad to see this..The guy can play...

Posted by: SA-Town | October 26, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Hmm...Erskine has missed 4 games; the caps have won 4 in a row...interesting...

Posted by: aybee27 | October 26, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm impressed that Philly is as good as they are with only one line of scorers, a line of chippy/cheap players and two lines of goons/fighters. By the end of the year, they'll be lucky to be able to put a full team on the ice through all the suspensions.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | October 26, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Well, they have players who are tough, chippy, nasty, but aside from Riley Cote they can all play hockey at a decent level.

Carcillo definitely has skills, he's showcased them at every level. Darrol Powe plays on the PK, he's another tough chippy player. Laperriere has proven himself over the past several yrs as being a reliable gritty winger. Asham is one of the most consistent hitters in hockey, he's like Matt Bradley but fights better. Hartnell is a legitimate 2nd line power forward.

Just because they're a nasty bunch doesn't mean they're all liabilities. Wait till Zac Rinaldo cracks the NHL. Pound for pound he's one of the toughest junior players out there, and he's getting an elevated role in Dale Hunter's system in London. He's going to torment some folks for yrs to come. He had a recent tilt with Stefan Della Rovere, both very similar players, and came out on top.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 26, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

@tess2201 (From Previous Thread)

On your reply to MLewis: it probably is better than Semin sat out this weekend than get worse and miss more.

The facts as I understand them:

1) Semin missed practice Monday and was sent to doctor.

2) Semin returned to practice on Tuesday. I understand it was a hard practice (2nd conssecutive day that was hard.)

3) Semin missed practice on Wednesday and considered doubtful for the game on Thursday. Considered both sick and sore.

This sounds to me like a guy who tried to come back too soon as opposed to a wimp. He either got injured at Tuesday's practice or Tuesday's practice took too much out of him and he relapsed.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | October 26, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Yeah Nylander puts up points in the AHL. Amazing. As I recall Giroux broke all kinds of scoring records so he should be lighting it up in all his time up last season and this season.

Oh wait? what? AHL success didn't translate to success on the NHL level?

Weird.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | October 26, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Davethecapsfan:
hey - don't rain on everybody's parade *smiling* - i'm ignoring the fact that you're right.
we all want nyls to do well so the caps can move him - even though i'm one of the ones that thinks the caps should put him on the ice.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 26, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Despite Nylander's lack of production last season, remember he played with third and fourth line guys. He was putting up an average of 2 points per game through the first seven when playing with Green and Semin. When he was demoted to the third line, what else could he do? The Caps didn't have anyone who could score past the first line. What else could Nyls do?

Posted by: hockeynightincanada | October 26, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

You do realize that Green is defense--he wasn't on Semin's line either.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | October 26, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

i would give my left nut to see that..

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 26, 2009 3:28 PM

Maybe to see the Caps hoist the Cup?

No. And not anything else, either.

I can't disappoint my fans. :)

Posted by: tominfl1 | October 26, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

tominfl1:
fans - plural?
my wife doesn't allow me to have fans

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 26, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

doesn't the NHL have a rule of fully disclosing injuries like they do in the NFL?

I guess not enough people care enough to bet on the NHL games to be a problem... seems rather bush league tho not fully disclosing these injuries

Posted by: joek443 | October 26, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

@joek443 - Are you SERIOUS?

They don't disclose injury because this is a full-contact sport, and there are players out there who will target an injury. We saw it last season when Semin was cross-checked across the back and sent back out of the next several games after coming back from a back injury.

Telling everyone where it hurts just makes that injured bit a big, fat, hairy target.

Plus, guess what! It's none of our business!

Posted by: irockthered | October 26, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

@joek443

Looks like you are here venting because of your redskins and overweight guys falling over each other in the league called NFL..

Posted by: samb99 | October 26, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

"He's fine," Boudreau said of Green. "He was just sore today. He came off a little bit early. It wasn't the knee. He was sore in another part of his body."

Translation: "He's hung over. His head is sore."

Posted by: ChoppinBroccoli | October 27, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

lol choppin,

exactly what I was thinking


SUPER

Posted by: SZALACH7 | October 27, 2009 12:41 AM | Report abuse

Dunno if anyone mentioned it, but did you guys see that the Islanders lost in OT again tonight? At least we're not them.

Posted by: Raber | October 27, 2009 2:02 AM | Report abuse

I thought only the underachieving Capitals could be forced to overtime by the Islanders. ;)

Posted by: croftonpost | October 27, 2009 7:13 AM | Report abuse

I agree with NFeKPo - Briere takes the (urinal) cake. I can't stand that guy.

ChoppinBroccoli - HA! Great name!! :-D

IRTR:
While I have never approached a player outside of an autograph line and think it is totally rude to approach players for autographs, pics, etc. when they are out to dinner or doing other personal stuff, I think they are fair game at Kettler or any place else they are 'on the clock'. I didn't go to the STH party but, come on, they were there for the STHs! They get paid a gazillion dollars and people like you and me are paying their salaries ... IMHO, the STH party is exactly the kind of place that they should be mobbed.

Posted by: --Boo-- | October 27, 2009 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Anyone plan on booing every time Mike Richards touches the puck? I dont like that method, but after the Booth hit..why not?

Posted by: SA-Town | October 27, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

@hockeynightincanada

Nyls was tried on all lines including Ovi's. He performed poor everywhere.

I actually was really happy when GMGM signed him. He was supposed to be #1 center and he played as #1 in NY.

Oh, well...

Posted by: CodePoetry | October 27, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Backis needs to work his butt on faceoffs. Per Evanson via Corey M.

Posted by: CodePoetry | October 27, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Evason: "We're trying to get him to use more of his hips, his [butt] and his core to get involved. I relate to a golf swing. If you just swing with your arms, you're not going to hit it very far. It is the same with faceoffs - if you just swing with your arms, you aren't very strong, but if you get your whole core moving, you have a much better chance of winning the draw."

Posted by: CodePoetry | October 27, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Crosby was really bad in faceoffs, now he is #2 in the NHL.

Crosby: HT: 5-11 WT: 200

Backstrom: HT: 6-1 WT: 210

And they are talking about Backstrom being outmuscled on faceoffs?

It's all hard work and technique. C'mon, Nicky!

Posted by: CodePoetry | October 27, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Flyers fans not happy about Riley Cote in the lineup tonight...blog post below..

CAN fan
Why not bring up Patrick Maroon...give him a shot...if he doesn't score then he won't be any different than Gagne. Cote or Carcillo should go....no need for two knuckle heads on this team in todays NHL. Carcillo makes almost $900K to take bad penalties and not get points. I hate to say it but I hope they lose bad tonight and maybe that would be enough for them to get rid of Stevens.

Posted by: SA-Town | October 27, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

1. comparing Nyls in the AHL to Flash and Jim Jiminy Giroux is not exactly apples to apples because Nyls has a solid NHL resume where neither of the other 2 do.

2. has cstanton become a Phlowers fan? Their 2 bottom lines have far more grit than talent. Carcillo is not better a skill guy than Brash, although at Carcillo's age Brash wasn't as good.

3.After Willie Mitchell's hit on Toewes the other day, Bettman said on his radio show that it was a clean hit, and he was asked what he thought about the Hawks going after Mitchell for it he said that the refs should have called instigators because that is exactly why the rule is on the books and the refs have been instructed to enforce it more aggresively this year. Hopefully, if Philly tries some rough stuff we will get some PP time (and hopefully we will take advantage.)

Posted by: ds_kelly | October 27, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

@--Boo-- - I think my line comes between "is the person doing something normal" vs. "is the person doing something job-related." If, after a book signing, I run into the author at the bookstore looking at books, does that give me the right to mob them? Not in my opinion.

But that's just my opinion. :-) YMMV!

Posted by: irockthered | October 27, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

@ds_kelly - Very good points. Our guys need to NOT retalliate when the Flyers attack. That will put the Flyers either off their game, or in the box. Good strategy!

Posted by: irockthered | October 27, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Boo Richards? Nah, I will be too busy booing Briere (did I mention that I can't stand him?!?).

IRTR:
I really don't think that's an apples to apples comp but whatever. (And YMMV has more than one meaning ... not sure if I should be offended or not! ;-))

Posted by: --Boo-- | October 27, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I ran into Bondra and Pivonka in an elevator at Camden Yards soon after it opened. I was on crutches at the time. I nodded, said good luck in the playoffs, I am a huge fan. They said thanks a lot. They were surprised to be recognized to be honest. Neither of them spoke great English at the time.
I have also ran into Cal Ripken in the mens room at a restaurant. Told him I was a big fan and have a great season. Never asked for a photo, autograph or a handshake. When they are on their own time, that is what it is. Now if they had offered that would've been a different story.

Posted by: chuckatcws | October 27, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

chuckatcws:
Totally agree with that (I would not have handled those situations any differently), but you were not at a "STH" party ... just sayin'. :-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | October 27, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

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