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."
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