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Caps Getting Healthy?

Several of the injured Caps are participating fully and appear close to returning. Mike Green (bruised shoudler), Alexander Semin (upper torso strain), Tom Poti (groin muscle pull), Tyler Sloan (heel) and Eric Fehr (shoulder) are all out there.

Alex Ovechkin is not practicing, but that's not a new development. He's been playing big minutes and is nursing some minor nagging injuries (shoulder, groin).

With Ovechkin out, it's tough to say with any certainty what the lines are going to look like tomorrow against the Bruins. But here's how they are lined up right now:

Giroux-Backstrom-Kozlov
Laich-Steckel-Fehr
Fleischmann-Aucoin-Nylander/Semin
Brashear-Gordon-Bradley

John Erskine (concussion) and Sergei Fedorov (sprained ankle) are not skating.

I'll get a formal update on everyone's status after practice.



By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 9, 2008; 10:44 AM ET
 
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Comments

this is the best thing ive heard in about a month!!!

Posted by: bearsfan26 | December 9, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Please oh please let Semin be fully ready for tomorrow..

Posted by: _jordan | December 9, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

We'll need all the firepower we can get against the Bruins. They are the best in the east right now and they are getting great goaltending.

Posted by: ccCapsfan | December 9, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Alright! Healthy hockey players make my day!

Took all that time composing a well-thought out argument, and Tarik updates. Oh well.

kittypawz, I'll bite on the Brooks comment. ;)
I think Brooks got the contract based a lot on his goal scoring last season and how that projects to the future, but if you really pay attention to high-intensity shifts, listen for who's clearing the puck out of the zone. His defensive game has picked up a lot already this season over last season. Its not circumstance he's the forward to drop back to the blueline when necessary. He's not going to win the Selke, mainly because he's not a high profile guy. Maybe he will be in the future, especially since he loves running his mouth to the media. (He's like our own little polite, unvulgar, funnier, more intelligent, better looking Sean Avery!) He's fair to good in the faceoff circle and he is willing to throw himself around in the crease, whether its blocking shots in our own end(see Kings, LA) or (and he needs to do this more) hanging out, screening goalies and going after the garbage goals.
Unfortunately, most of his contributions don't show up on the score sheet. (And I know he's on the wrong side of the +/- right now, but most of the team is spread between 2 and -2; Flash is at -8 with 16 pts, so *shrugs*) But he's 6th on the team in points and goals right now behind the usual suspects. I say he stays. So there. :PPPP

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | December 9, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

From last thread:

@jmu_capsgirl: Fair enough on Laich, but I still would like to see more scoring out of him.

So, I'm not on crack. Let's assume for a second that everyone's healthy except Clark and Schultz. What about ....

8-19-28
14-92-25
21-91-16
87-15/39-10

26-52
89-3
27-23


1
60

Scratches: 15 or 39, 4
Sent Down: 62, 43, 20, 33

Sorry I'm doing this in numbers, folks, but I'm too lazy to type names out right now.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 9, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

FINALLY!!!

kitty I don't know everyones #. IF you are too lazy to spell it out can someone translate??

Do you think OVIE will play

Posted by: DCSPORTS | December 9, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

dcsports:

ov-backs-semin
flash-nyls-koz
brooks-feds-fehr
brash-gordon/stecks-brads

mo-green
sloan-poti
alzner-juice

Posted by: Steve_R | December 9, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Also, jmu_capsgirl, I never suggested getting rid of him! I'm not advocating getting rid of anyone right now. I'm saying I'm looking to him for more scoring than he's been doing. He needs to start going to the butcher (so to speak) again. That's all. :)

OK, fine, DCSports, I'll help.

Ovi(8)-Backs(19)-Semin(28)
Flash(14)-Nyls(92)-Kozlov(25)
Laich(21)-Fedorov(91)-Fehr(16)
Brash(87)-Gordon(15)/Steckel(39)-Bradley(10)

Mo(26)-Green(52)
Poti(3)-Sloan(89)
Alzner(27)-Jurcina(23)

Johnson(1)
Theodore(60)

Posted by: kittypawz | December 9, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Im curious to think...who believes that some of the call ups are better than our injured guys??

Who in particular do you think deserves to STAY up with the CAPS?

Posted by: DCSPORTS | December 9, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

kittypawz, he definitely needs to score more goals. I'm okay with those lines. Your first line is a bit "eggs-basket"ish, but if secondary scoring gets going, it could work. Now that Flash is getting his finishing ability going, that second line could work as well. Both Nyls and Koz are patient, Koz willing to go to the corners and act "big" and create space for Nyls fancy-schmancy passing with Flash. I think Fehr might benefit from being on a line with Feds and Laich, especially if (and I may not remember this correctly), but he was played up as a sniper(?) in junior and the A. That fourth line is pretty much a given at this point. It may work to switch Sloan and Alzner though. At least to give Alzner some time with a "veteran D" and a mentor (sort of). Not sure how Sloan and Juice would do together, though. Just my 2 cents.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | December 9, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

when can Semin come off the LITR?

Posted by: Blahblahblah73 | December 9, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

@DC Sports,

I like Sloan, Alzner, and Sami. Juice hasn't been playing like a turd lately, so it's rough to decide who would go to make room (other than Erskine).

Posted by: _jordan | December 9, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Sloan and Alzner are better than Jurcina. That's about it...we're pretty stacked up front, in case you hadn't noticed.

Posted by: ThisGuy | December 9, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Honestly...our team defense has been better without Green, Poti, Schultz and Erskine. We have given up less goals...

I think the call ups have been consistent but a little bit more conservative in their play

Posted by: DCSPORTS | December 9, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Semin can come off LTIR today

Posted by: majiksea | December 9, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

DCSports

The only players who have come up from Hershey that have played their way into staying, IMO, are Sloan, Alzner and "Gold-Coin" (my geek nickname for Aucoin)

The FWDs are tough though, as Aucoin's the only one who was placed on a line that suited his talents. I'd love to see CB back, but keeping him down in Hershey makes me curious if theres some other stuff going on. (Maybe he pissed off management/feels he belongs with the Caps. Wouldn't be the first time the son of a famous sports star had an over-inflated ego).

Before the injury, Erskine was playing some really good hockey, and Juice seems to have grown up now that he's been forced to with the injuries.

As for who I see staying up, if we can get healthy enough to send Alzner back down, we will. Being able to build some more cash for a late season charge will be more crucial than having him here now.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 9, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Very True, it is comforting to know that we have some solid back-ups down in Hershey that now HAVE a little NHL experience

Posted by: DCSPORTS | December 9, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

The Bears are leaving tomorrow on a road trip to Texas. It'll be interesting to see if anyone gets sent down in time to go along.

Posted by: tess2201 | December 9, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

@Blahblahblah73 - Today.

Posted by: irockthered | December 9, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

With this news, I'm really trying not to get my hopes up. Not that the guys aren't ready to come back. I hope they are, but wouldn't be shocked if all of them have setbacks.

But more importantly, we are taking the ice against the best team in the east with a bunch of guys who have been out for @1 month. I just hope we get out of the game healthy, and if we can gather a point, I'll be happy.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 9, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

tess, is GMac healed enough to deck Avery one good time for me on their way by?

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | December 9, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

If everyone is healthy, make no mistakes, Nylande is going straight back to the third line, where he belongs:

ovie-backs-kozlov
flash-feds-semin
brooks-nyls-fehr
brash-gordon/stecks-brads

mo-green
erskine-poti
alzner-juice

IMO

Posted by: DrAdamson | December 9, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Ovie Backs Semin (Kozlov)
Flash Nyls Kozlov (Fehr)
Laich Steckel Fehr (Giroux)
Brash Gordon Brads

Mo-Green
Alzner-Juice
Collins-Helmer

It's possible we'll get Green and Semin back, but, especially against a team like the Bruins, I'd prefer them stay out until the weekend. We've been "okay" without them, and, unless they're cleared and feeling excellent, I think they should take more time to heal. Just being cautious.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | December 9, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

jmu: I wish!

Posted by: tess2201 | December 9, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

FFSEnough...totally agree.

Hope everyone keeps their heads up when Lucic is out there, if Pothier hasn't had the chance to tell them.

Posted by: Hatfield223 | December 9, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

@jmu_capsgirl: Agreed on line #1 being a bit eggs-basketish, but the idea and my thinking in these lines was to give every line a different character and make the opposing D constantly switch gears, in keeping with my earlier comments. My line combos are intended as something of a mindgame, if that makes sense?

Line #1 is the fireworks/onslaught from hell line. Line #2 is about patience, space and time, like you said, with a sniper on it for the fancy passing, and besides, Flash and Nyls have already shown chemistry, why not? Line #3 is about the sniper and the garbage goal - Laich going to the net and screening the goalie for Fehr or Fedorov. Line #4 we know.

D thoughts were "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", though you could be right.

Dr Adamson: My reason for putting Feds on third and Nyls on second is one of minutes. Especially coming off of an extended absence due to injury, Feds may not be able to handle the minutes asked of a second line. We need him too badly -- let's be gentle with him?

Sloan > Erskine, IMO.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 9, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Just got back from practice... they were jumping, lots of drills that required full-length sprints. Semin looked healthy but understandably had his stick on his knees a lot. Fehr only lasted about 15 minutes but Green, Semin & Poti look about ready (based on the fact I have zero medical training).

Completely unsolicited observation -- he doesn't seem to be busting his butt, but Kozlov consistently beats the others up, down and around the ice. I think his natural grace and fluid style makes it look like he's not trying as hard as some fans would like to see... I think he's destined to be underappreciated.

Posted by: Dave_in_Alexandria | December 9, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

DrinkingPartner,

I agree, let the injured have a bit more time off, instead of having em play against the Bruins. I hate to see OV sit out, but it's better for him to play 100% so give him time off too. But, I expect him to play just because he is OV.

Posted by: dezlboy1 | December 9, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

@Dave,

Agreed. Kozlov is fast as hell when you see him at practice. Long, nice stride.

Posted by: _jordan | December 9, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Ovie really hurt.

Posted by: windjammersouth | December 9, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

windjammersouth = tool

GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: chucktownCAPSfan | December 9, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Great news on the "getting healthy" roster. We really have to appreciate the efforts of the call-ups though who did a respectable job in the interim. That a few of them will begin to trickle back to the Bears ranks will help to keep the 11 game streak going strong.

Tarik, please send a note to Greenie and Mo to stay away from Chara! They aren't big enough to take him out and we don't need those guys back on the IR list so soon! Chara doesn't have the reputation of Pronger, but he's one BIG RIG just the same.

Posted by: dogdaze | December 9, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

FFSEnough re: Gold-Coin

I don't think "Coin" translates to greek. More like its French where "Coin" means "Corner" as in "Au Coin de Feu": which literally means "With the Corner of the Fire" but is used as a cozy phrase meaning "Fireside" and is a common name for French restaurants, inns, chateaus, hotels, etc.

Posted by: dailykos1 | December 9, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

That's a pot au feu

Posted by: uncatim | December 9, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

dailykos1: I think that his name is more a reference to the english homonym, with "Au" being the periodic table name for gold. Hence, "gold coin".

Posted by: kittypawz | December 9, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I truly believe the defense has looked quicker and less out of place the last couple weeks without Shultz and Erskine in the lineup. Sloan and Alzner are simply better and should stay. Can't Schultz still be sent down without having to clear waviers?

Anyone else agree that the caps occupying the sixth spot in ESPNs power rankings http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/powerrankingis a bit generous? Maybe when all of our players are back and fully healthy I could see us being top five but with Jose Crapadore giving up three or more (plus a young inexperienced D-fense) I just don't think the Caps are really that great...yet.

Posted by: skinzfan4 | December 9, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

and btw how awful are the wizards and skins...thank God for the Caps

Posted by: skinzfan4 | December 9, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

chucktowncapsfan,
That, sir, is an insult to tools everywhere.

Posted by: _Mark | December 9, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

dailykos

I think my dyslexia may have transferred over the interwebs to you.

I thought I typed "geek" as in the famous SNL gameshow "Geek, Dweeb or Spaz.."

And I realize his name is a bit more French than anything. Kitty's got it right though, Au=Gold. Again. Complete Geek.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 9, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

It would be nice to get Semin back even if just to be used in a limited role tomorrow. Maybe some 4 on 4 or PP work. I suggest that only because of his conditioning, if he's still not 100% injury wise I'm all for holding him out until Friday. The Bruins take and give up 30+ shots a game and Tim Thomas is playing out of his mind right now (sv pct 94%). He really is due to come back down to earth so hopefully we catch him during his descent. With the team giving up 30+ shots a game (which is more than we give up) he's stealing games for them this season. Manny Fernandez has played well too his save percentage is 92.6. They have 3 shutouts from their goaltenders. TWO OF THEM WERE 1-0 wins! Man I'm jealous.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 9, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

FROM the Enemy Newspaper----

Here's the daily post-practice injury update:

*Alex Ovechkin was just taking the day off and will play tomorrow.

*Tyler Sloan says he is ready to go.

*Mike Green and Tom Poti both said they would like to play tomorrow but will wait to see how they feel in the morning. Green put his shoulder at 90 percent, and he thinks it could be very close to 100 tomorrow. Poti said this was the first time he has skated as hard as he can for a full practice in two weeks, so he needs to see how his groin reacts.

*Sergei Fedorov and John Erskine did not go on the ice at all.

*Bruce Boudreau did not want to commit to having any of the injured guys tomorrow night, saying they are all still questionable.

*Eric Fehr skated for the first part of practice, but left early and is not ready to play.

*Keith Aucoin was getting ready to back to Hershey, so if that does happen then the Caps either have to recall another forward tomorrow morning or a wounded forward (likely Alexander Semin considering the status of the other guys) will be ready to come back. This interview with Russian journalist Slava Malamud certainly didn't make Semin's return seem too optmistic.

Posted by: SA-Town | December 9, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I totally disagree with Schultz getting blasted. After 21 games his plus/minus was 0, he had 7 assists and only 6 PIMs. He is a stay at home defenseman that does his job. I never noticed him no the ice scrambling around like Erskine or Jurcina which is exactly what you want from your defensive-defensemen. He broke his hand blocking a shot. IMO with a healty Caps team my top 5 would be Green, Poti, Schultz, Alzer, and Sloan. Numbers 6 and 7 would be tough.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 9, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

What is the deal with practice? Can anyone go?

Posted by: DCSPORTS | December 9, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

DCSports:

I want to keep Alzner and Sloan, which is why I promoted the idea to trade Morrisonn.

I also think that Fehr, when healthty, has earned a regular game sweater.

Collins and Aucoin have looked good, but it's too soon to tell.

With so many relatively cheap D in the system, I wonder if Mo's days are numbered.

Sorry to any fans who hate speculation about potential trades, but that's a big part of what they call the hot stove league.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 9, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

What if Giroux suddenly catches on fire and starts scoring at a crazy pace?

OK, not likely. But think of the stories the hockey world could write about "The Three Alexes"

Posted by: Cerealman | December 9, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I agree - our D looks better when it's the Bear brigade. Just as a wild guess, we end up carrying seven D, Sloan staying up for the year (if we try to send him down someone WILL snatch him off of waivers, and that would suck). Alzner ends up being sent back down when the injury insanity is over, but Mo does not get resigned at the end of the year and Alzner takes his place in 2009. Maybe not ideal, but if they can send him down without risking losing him on waivers, that's what they'll do.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 9, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

DCSPORTS,
Most of the practices are open to the public at Kettler. They usually have a scheduled posted on the Caps website.

Posted by: _Mark | December 9, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I would be surprised if Semin gets into the line-up tomorrow even if he is healthy. He needs a few full practices first, before it is game time for him. IMHO

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | December 9, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

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