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Knuble, Steckel and Bradley may get some rest

It was a relatively light practice at Kettler this morning - about 30 minutes of organized drills. But here's some notes from the post-practice chatter:

*Whoever guessed those quirky lines that I posted earlier were just an indication of what players will get a rest when the Capitals take on Atlanta tomorrow night was dead on. Here's what Coach Bruce Boudreau had to say:

"I think if we're reading it, we're reading our lineup for tomorrow and the guys that won't be sitting and won't be playing tomorrow. That's how I'd be reading it."

So expect Mike Knuble, David Steckel, and Matt Bradley to be in the press box tomorrow night.

*Speaking of rest, Boudreau was asked whether he would sit center Nicklas Backstrom in one of the final two games considering he's never missed a game in his career and therefore has a 244 consecutive games played streak going. He's also just two points away from breaking the 100-point mark for the first time in his career.

"Again, these are tough calls," said Boudreau. "Is it better to play Nicky and risk injury to keep him going, figuring he's not gonna get hurt because he hasn't been hurt in X amount of games yet? He's playing tomorrow and then we'll review that and how that goes and we'll see Sunday ... I don't know how much [the consecutive games streak] means to him, quite frankly, but I'll talk to him about it."

*When asked about Mike Green today, Boudreau jumped at the opportunity to praise his star defenseman, and once again, stumped for him to be awarded this year's Norris Trophy.

"He can't do anything about what other people say, and what other people say, to me, they're all wet because they don't see us play enough. We've played 80 games and we've gotten points in 65 of them, which is incredible if you can just picture as a team that if we're successful in the next two games, we're 40 games over .500. And Mike Green is the best we have at that position. Last week they were touting him as a Norris Trophy winner, and then he misses two games and it's all back to [Duncan] Keith and [Drew] Doughty. I don't know why people don't want to vote for him, but if the awards are based on statistics ... he's got by far the best statistics, so I don't see what the deal is. He's the best defenseman on the best regular-season team, so I think he should win it."

Speaking of Green, he told me he's refreshed after getting two days off to heal some nagging injuries. "I feel so good," he said. "I can skate again." Considering his play of late, that's a scary thought for the rest of the NHL.

*Boudreau was also very complimentary of defenseman Tyler Sloan's play against Pittsburgh Tuesday night, saying it "might have been his best game of the year."

*And in the "maybe this is interesting to you" department, I noticed a nearly-complete USA Today crossword puzzle by defenseman Joe Corvo's locker today. Apparently he does one every morning before practice. And since I brought up Mike Green's Norris Trophy candidacy above, Corvo had an interesting take considering he's played against and with Green this season.

"Any time you're successful, it's kind of boring and people try to pick out your flaws as you're going along. It'd be easy to pick out for him just because he's not the most physical defenseman, but he's plus-I-don't-know-how-much and I think his numbers just speak for themselves. ... He's got my vote."

By Mark Giannotto  |  April 8, 2010; 3:44 PM ET
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Green for Norris!

That USA Today crossword puzzle is pretty darn hard. I'm impressed Mr. Corvo.

Posted by: md268 | April 8, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and its a +35. The club record for a season (until Sunday, at around 3 pm) is +36.

Posted by: md268 | April 8, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Sloan did play a superb game, sacrificing the body to block a breakaway shot late in the 3rd. He's just one of those players who finds his rythm with consecutive games.

Posted by: rockdaredlangely | April 8, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

He has my vote too Joe!

Posted by: NatyBG | April 8, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I said this in an earlier blog but being at the game against the Pens the two players who impressed me the most in their own zone were Sloan and Beagle. Both were out often agianst the Crosby line since that was the matchup that Pens wanted and they did a good job of shuting down Crosby.

Posted by: icehammer97 | April 8, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

I hope BB doesn't play Green too many minutes the final two games. He should keep Green in the 20 to 22 minute range for the final two regular season games. No point getting him tired.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 8, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Green for Norris; Corvo for Crossword Nerd! Goodonhim!!!

Posted by: OvechkinFan92801 | April 8, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I hear Malkin does a coloring book before practice as well.

Posted by: SA-Town | April 8, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Crosby recites "People like me" in the mirror 14 times before each game. =P

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | April 8, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Corvo has really impressed me defensively as of late.
I mean he's smart with the puck & definitely moves it out of the zone quickly unlike some other d-men we have.
I am impress that he keeps his turnovers to the lower risk variety.

So far his offense hasn't really impressed me but then he doesn't need to do that much on this type of team.

As for Greenie, we don't get to see Doughty much, but then neither do the west coast folks of Greenie. So it' up to the coaches to stump for each.

Greenie will be the Paul Coffey of this era if we win a couple of Cups.
Coffey wasn't feted as a Norris winner until his 4th year which was 1 year after the Oiler's first championship year.

So it could take a bit longer but ppl usually realize that the game is about puck possession & scoring more than the other guy. That should be credited not discredited.

Posted by: Rocc00 | April 8, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

i agree with rockdaredlangely... sloan did play very well against the pens on wednesday and deserves to remain in the lineup while we rest our regular d-men..


Posted by: wowkanut | April 9, 2010 7:22 AM | Report abuse

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