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Brashear Returns; Green Missing

Left wing Donald Brashear is practicing with his teammates for the first time since suffering a sprained knee in Nashville eight games ago. He's also assigned to a line, which likely means he's ready to return.

Star defenseman Mike Green, meantime, has not been on the ice. I'll have to get an update on his status later.

New Lines
Coach Bruce Boudreau has also introduced new lines this morning:

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Semin
Fleischmann-Fedorov-Fehr
Laich-Nylander-Kozlov
Brashear-Steckel-Bradley

I'll have more in a bit.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 30, 2009; 10:31 AM ET
 
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Next: Brashear Still Out; Green Has the Flu

Comments

Glad to see Brash back!

Let's go CAPS!

Posted by: hbcapsfan | March 30, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I see the Care Bear line has returned. Bruce is just going to split them up halfway through the game anyway.

Posted by: Caps1Fan | March 30, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Lots of time off - time to get all the kinks worked out and roll over these last teams as we get ready for the playoffs. It's April...the Caps need to get their game in order. I thought the call-ups played well on Friday...maybe a few vets have their jobs on the line before the season ends.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | March 30, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Semin

From this point forward, this shall be known as the fluffy bunny line--as in, when they play together they try to get all cute like fluffy bunnies. I do not like the fluffy bunny line. The'll be doing their fluffy bunny cuteness thing and them WHAM! they look like roadkill bunneis and the other team scores. Just Say No To Fluffy Bunnies.

Posted by: RedBirdie | March 30, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

be sure the check out Stienz's bog interview with the guys who wrote the delightful heavy metal tune "Ovechkin" last spring. they ahve a new song. It's called "Crosby Sucks" :)

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dcsportsbog/2009/03/about_that_crosby_sucks_anthem.html

Posted by: RedBirdie | March 30, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

I liked the lines in for the last game, why mess up a good thing? Keep that top line apart from each other a couple more games, then consider reimplementing it.

Posted by: TheVampireCorndog | March 30, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

March didn't look like it would continue the run - the Caps came in like lambs, but they made it after starting the month at 0-3-1; finishing the month with a 6-2-1 run.

Monthly records

October 5-3-1
November 8-5-2
December 11-3
January 7-4-1
February 9-2-1
March 6-5-2

Have the Cap run six winning months in a row before?

It wasn't long ago - maybe 4-6 weeks - that I wasn't much worried about the #2 or #3 seed. With the 'Canes and Pens surging, I've changed my mind. There's little doubt that the Rangers or Habs would be a better option than either of those two. One point lead with the Devils holding a game. This will be fun...

Posted by: saintex | March 30, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

The Fluffy Bunny thing is pretty funny.

It seems like BB has been moving Semin from line-to-line after the second period in a lot of the recent games. Seems like he wants a look at the energy level and success through two periods and then make a late game adjustment. Anyone else notice this...

Posted by: saintex | March 30, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Oh no. The Care Bear Line returns. Make it stop, Mommy.

Why not use the lines from Tampa or close to it? Fehr did just fine on that top line, thank you. I'd much rather see:

Ovi-Feds-Fehr
Laich-Backstrom-Semin
Flash-Nyls-Kozlov
Brash-Steckel-Bradley

Posted by: kittypawz | March 30, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

kittypawz i wondered the same thing, but maybe it's bc that 3rd line looks like an identity crisis waiting to happen. I can't remember how they did in the tampa game

Posted by: honed | March 30, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

@oo7, pokerface1208: Awesome. Let me know details and how to participate. Do you have a bracket form or similar?

Also, my main computer's hard drive has bitten the dust and will need to be replaced. I may be scarce after-hours for a bit.

Posted by: kittypawz | March 30, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

@honed: I thought Flash/Nyls had a couple of good chances, especially in the first.

The thing I like about these lines is that each of the top three lines has a physical presence, a playmaker, and a finisher (if it works right). 21-19-28 is a known beast in the playoffs. Nyls and Kozlov and Nyls and Flash have shown chemistry at times.

Posted by: kittypawz | March 30, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Tarik,

Did you happen to catch Joe Finely's play with NDU? He was horrible and has been this year from what I've read. Does he go to South Carolina now that his college career is over? I hope he plays better!

Posted by: darrylrbaker | March 30, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

darrylrbarker, while I don't want to make excuses, my understanding is the Finley had a serious concussion early in the season and never quite found his stride. That said, I wasn't overly impressed.

Boy is HUGE, though. He looks like he eats small forwards for breakfast.

Posted by: RedBirdie | March 30, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

TWO SENTENCES REQUIRED A JUMP FOR THIS POST? SERIOUSLY? GET A CLUE.

Posted by: TCJR2000 | March 30, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

darrylrbaker,

To go with what RedBirdie said, there was the concusion, but I read somewhere else he might have had a separated shoulder, which is why he was having trouble controling the puck lately

Posted by: superpaqman | March 30, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

darrylrbaker/RedBirdie:

Was watching that UND/UNH game (after the UVA/UMD lax game finally ended)- and it was a great game. Finley didn't do that well, but he is a beast and I look forward to seeing him up here someday. Bummed UND won't be here for the Frozen 4. Anbody else going to that- btw?

Posted by: Fro_ | March 30, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I also read Finley was playing with a separated shoulder. I'll have to find the article again.
kittypawz I agree about the 21-19-28 line. I think the third line's success depends on whether Flash can can play finisher again.
and when the heck is Gordo coming back?

Posted by: honed | March 30, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I'm not a huge fan of Ovi & Semin together, but I am very glad to see Sasha back! Friday night was terrific, but coulda been even terrificer with Semin

Posted by: Sonyask | March 30, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

If this holds up that would be two in a row with Koz on the third line. Demotion or balance?

Posted by: Sonyask | March 30, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Is no one concerned about a missing Lambogreenie?

Posted by: Bagher | March 30, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: honed | March 30, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I had no idea about the separated shoulder.

I was considering going to frozen four, because I love UMD and my dad went to NU, but seeing as both teams are out.....not so sure. Not even my love of Bemidji can justify the $200 price tag. I may go, we'll see.

Can any BU alumni confirm that BU will be renting a space to watch the games, for those unable to get tickets? I'm also trying to nail down that games will be shown at Penn Quarter Sports Bar.

I was checking out the team rosters this weekend to see what names jumped out, and there is a fair numebr of guys who are sons of NHLers (Hextall at UND) or the younger brother of a current player (Towes and Kessel, among others).

back to the Caps, I think Gordo is out AT LEAST another week, if not more. Shame, because I really like our baby-faced penalty killer!

Posted by: RedBirdie | March 30, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I personally liked the O-F-F line. I'm a little sad to see them disband.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | March 30, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

The lines against TB looked fine. Would it kill Boudreau to let some of these guys develop some chemsitry?

Posted by: Hatfield223 | March 30, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

@RedBirdie:

I was watching the game on Saturday afternoon and Travis Zajac's (NJD) brother also plays for UND.

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | March 30, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

It seems like BB has been moving Semin from line-to-line after the second period in a lot of the recent games. Seems like he wants a look at the energy level and success through two periods and then make a late game adjustment. Anyone else notice this...

Posted by: saintex | March 30, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

How could you ever see this pattern when Sit Out Semin doesnt play week after week!

Posted by: StanleyCup1907 | March 30, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

IRTR from previous,
I see where you're coming from but it doesn't matter to us if PHI catches NJD, we still couldn't be lower than 3rd seed.

Carolina, as hot as they are right now, are too far away. That race is over, guaranteed.

Just like the 7 point gap BOS has on us is uncatchable. Their two wins this past weekend has put them over the edge I feel.

It's a dog-fight now between us and NJ and I think avoiding CAR/PIT and getting NYR/MON/FLA instead make it a battle worth winning.

I'm not that worried about being third by default (I don't think it would happen anyway) because all that is forgotten in the playoffs. No one remembered PHI finished ahead of us on points last season when the 1st round started. Most people thought it was an upset we lost, mainly because of the run we entered the playoffs on, but they gathered more points than us during the regular season.

Also, I think FLA will grab 8th at the expense of MTL so the SE will have 3 participants and the SouthLeast thing will go away for at least a year!

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | March 30, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Semin should be playing in the Minors under the EMERGENCY send down rule .

Posted by: StanleyCup1907 | March 30, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

LOL at the fluffy bunnies line. Makes me think of the John Cusack/Demi Moore movie "One Crazy Summer". The evil Cute and Fuzzy Bunnies!

And I agree with the sentiments many have posted already...I thought the lines against tampa looked pretty good. but I guess the bottom line is, they didn't produce (all the goals came from the PP/defense).

Posted by: GusDaMan | March 30, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

From The BU washington alumni association...
FROZEN FOUR PRE-GAME & GAME WATCH PARTY
Thursday, April 9, 2009 at 3 p.m.
Penn Quarter Sports Tavern (639 Indiana Ave NW, 2 blocks from the Verizon Center – Archives stop on the Metro yellow/green line)
Free admission – cash bar

Frozen Four Game Times – Game 1 at 5 p.m. and Game 2 at 8:30 p.m (ESPN2).
Audio broadcast will be available at GoTerriers.com.

Should we advance to the National Championship Game…

CHAMPIONSHIP PRE-GAME & GAME WATCH PARTY
Saturday , April 11, 2009 at 4 p.m.
Penn Quarter Sports Tavern (639 Indiana Ave NW, 2 blocks from the Verizon Center – Archives stop on the Metro yellow/green

Posted by: RichC3 | March 30, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

@Bagher

I am!! Hope it's not his arm/shoulder/ribs/whatever.

Posted by: AmyS1 | March 30, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, could you perchance clarify for us what Quintin Laing's official status is? Obviously he won't play any time soon, but is he on LTIR or what? The NHL listed him as a scratch on Friday night for some reason.

Posted by: 1995hoo | March 30, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Fro/Redbirde,

Thanks for the info, To use an injury as an excuse is hard to take, However if he was I can understand, I guess i was looking for more from him being that it was his final year and I know he wanted to stay at NDU for one more run...

That being said.. Like you guys have said wasnt impressed at all.... He looked very tenitive with the puck and I saw no pyhiscal presence at all.. I guess we'll have to wait for Carlson!!

Posted by: darrylrbaker | March 30, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

@Bagher: Not yet. It's too early to speculate; after all, it could be as stupid as he overslept. I'm taking a wait-and-see on this one.

Posted by: kittypawz | March 30, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I agree, Dave, it's really coming down to that fight for 2nd for us, and catching Bos or getting caught by Car or Phi really isn't in the cards. Motivation enough, though -- let's take it!

Whether on the F St. line or otherwise, Fehr's gotta put it in the back of the net.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 30, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

course we can't really get "caught" by Phi, but I don't think they'll catch NJ either.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 30, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I have another question..

When is Flash going to get benched? Not b/c he cant score but b/c he's as soft as a pillow on the boards.. Guy bring nothing to the table as far as im concerned.

I would like to Feds center Semin and Fehr.. Not Opie!!

Posted by: darrylrbaker | March 30, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

@DaveUK - Last year we were essentially tied with Phil so it was a pick 'em series, but the only reason Phil had more points was that Pits threw their last 2 games (home-and-home w/Phil) so they would finish 2nd and get Ott in the first round. Had Pit played and won the Flowers would have been 8th and Pit would have been 1.

Posted by: ds_kelly | March 30, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

ds_kelly,
The records show the Flyers had more points. In fact Division winners didn't get priority we would have been ranked 8th.

You can't say, if the Pens would have played, what happened happened.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | March 30, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I agree with those that don't want to change up the lines from Friday night.

I think we need to have to real legit scoring lines, and I think Backstrom now has really come into his own, from the stand point of not needing OV joined to him at the hip for him to make things happen on the ice.

Feds is still good enough to center the top line, and he's responsible in his own end. Feds, Ovi, Fehr I can defenetly see getting goals. And if Backy and Semin can develop some good chemistry, that would make 2 real sick lines.

Posted by: floms | March 30, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I agree with those that don't want to change up the lines from Friday night.

I think we need to have to real legit scoring lines, and I think Backstrom now has really come into his own, from the stand point of not needing OV joined to him at the hip for him to make things happen on the ice.

Feds is still good enough to center the top line, and he's responsible in his own end. Feds, Ovi, Fehr I can defenetly see getting goals. And if Backy and Semin can develop some good chemistry, that would make 2 real sick lines.

Posted by: floms | March 30, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

ds_kelly/UKDave:
I always thought that Pitt threw that game so that they would have an easier first round and the Caps would feel more pain (not that I am a conspiracy theorist or anything ...).

Posted by: Boo- | March 30, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Boo-, I remember watching Pitt's last game. They definitely played like they could care less. I was paying more attention to the Jays-Sox game that was on, but even the Pens fans at the bar were pretty much 'WTF?'

Umm, so that third line. How's that work? Nyls does circles, Koz works the boards and circles, and Laich stands in front of the net. Soooo, how does that generate goals? Unless Brooksie suddenly develops telekinesis or puck magnetism, we've got no pucks going to the net. Will be interesting to see if it sticks and/or works.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | March 30, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Are you kidding me, we're changing lines again? When is this team gonna figure out some chemistry? Not a good sign this close to the playoffs and we still don't have lines established.

Posted by: ParticipatoryDemocracyNow | March 30, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Aewful lines, I agree guys.

Personally I think we play best with a top 9 of:

Ovechkin-backstrom-Kozlov
Laich-Fedorov-Semin
Fleischmann-Nylander-Fehr

and a PP1 unit of:

Backstrom-Fedorov-Semin
Ovechkin-Green

Posted by: greener1 | March 30, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Awful*

Posted by: greener1 | March 30, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

No offense but after all is said and done, the lines will be the lines that Boudreau chooses. Whatever rationale they have for switching up the lines and putting Semin back up on the first line, I'm not gonna' question it. Why? It's great though, Caps fans discuss what they would do but it boils down to the fact that there's only one head coach for the Capitals and last I checked, my name isn't Bruce Boudreau. Let's give the guy some credit that there's a method to his madness. I'll take Semin on any line and let's hope that Nylander contributes in his new position. He did get us a goal recently, so I'll take him being productive. Whether it's a matter of developing chemistry, let's hope this works. Otherwise, settle down, fill out that application for Assistant Coach and hope to hear from them next season. Goo, Caps!

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | March 31, 2009 1:28 AM | Report abuse

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