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Capitals Make Big Changes

Coach Glen Hanlon made several major changes to his lineup following Friday's debacle against Atlanta at Verizon Center, where the Capitals squandered a two-goal second period lead and lost, 4-3.

Hanlon's boldest decision involved Ben Clymer, who is now a defenseman-turned-forward, instead of the other way around, which he was for the season's 12 games. Drafted as a defenseman by the Tampa Bay Lightning, Clymer was moved to right wing early in his NHL career and remained there until September, when Hanlon put him back to the blue line on an experimental basis.

It didn't work. Clymer had a plus-minus rating of minus-5 and only two assists. So he has been reunited with left wing Matt Bradley and center Brian Sutherby, the Capitals' most effective checking line last season.

"We talked this morning and pretty much agreed that it was for the best," Clymer said. "I'm excited. Playing D is fun, but I like playing forward a little bit more. It fits my personality. Playing D you have to be pretty patient and pretty passive. I get a little restless back there."

"During games, I was always looking to see what [Bradley] and [Sutherby] were doing," he added. "I was kind of envious. I miss playing with those guys."

Hanlon said: "We both looked at each other, and I barely got it out of my mouth before he said, 'I hope you're going to talk to me about playing forward.' We feel his calling is as a forward."

The defensive lineup will look like this: Shaone Morrisonn and Brian Pothier; Jamie Heward and Mike Green; and Bryan Muir and Steve Eminger. Clymer's move will result in Green getting more minutes, Hanlon added.

Another major development was the recall of winger Tomas Fleischmann from Hershey of the American Hockey League, as I reported the other day. The 22-year-old Czech native was tied for the AHL lead in goals with eight in seven games.

"I played in Hershey the only way I know how," Fleischmann said. "I knew I had to play like that to come back here, which is what I want to do."

Hanlon said Fleischmann will play left wing with center Jakub Klepis and right wing Matt Pettinger. But Fleischmann might get moved to the right side in future games if necessary, Hanlon said.

"I don't mind," Fleischmann said. "To stay up here I will play anything. It's just a different side of the ice. You can get used to it after just two practices."

The other significant news was that Richard Zednik was a scratch against the Flyers because of an undisclosed injury. He was hurt in the second period and against the Thrashers and did not play in the third. I'll see if I can get more details on this.

Brooks Laich and Kris Beech were the healthy scratches.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 4, 2006; 6:34 PM ET
 
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