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Posted at 12:19 PM ET, 02/10/2011

Line change: Thoughts on the Ovechkin-Backstrom-Semin line?

By Washington Post Sports Editors

Coach Bruce Boudreau experimented with his forward lines during today's practice, and with the return of Alexander Semin from injury came a familiar combination affectionately known as the S-O-B line.

There is still another practice before Saturday's game against the Kings and there's no guarantee that the Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-Semin trio will remain intact.

But should the line stay together for Saturday's game, would it be a good way to provide an offensive spark to a team about to embark on a five-game road trip? Or would it compromise the more defensive-oriented system the Caps are beginning to grasp?

Weigh in below. More to come soon from practice.

By Washington Post Sports Editors  | February 10, 2011; 12:19 PM ET
 
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Next: Mike Green still must undergo testing, but says he 'should be good to go'

Comments

Without a 2nd line established center, might as well.

I love what Marcus "dont call me Calle," Johannsson is going to be, but for this stretch run...we need someone else.

Posted by: SA-Town | February 10, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I enjoy the SOB line for the 2 shifts before BB shakes up all the lines again.

Posted by: Redwolf1 | February 10, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

if all three stick with their defensive responsibilities, it could work. this line can only increase the chances of scoring more than 0 goals.
it is possible that when they need that one goal late in a game these three will be together. in that sense, they should spend some 'game time' with each other.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | February 10, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Predators got Mike Fisher from ottawa for a 1st round pick and conditional draft pick according to Kevin ALlen USA TOday

Posted by: ThePat | February 10, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

How bout Eakin, Poti and our #1 for Penner and Kurtis Foster?

Would Edm bite?

Posted by: tominsocal1 |

Possibly. That would be fine with me.

I think the most likely current Caps to be traded who could help net a valuable return are Fehr, Schulz, and Laich.

They are middle of the road salary guys who are not absolutely relied upon by the Caps(i.e. not a #1 line guy or a top 3 D-man) but would have good value to other teams looking for young players who can play now.

Ovie and Backstrom are not being dealt. Green is highly unlikely to be dealt(not impossible though) and I do not see Semin getting dealt(for a variety of reasons). Carlson and Alzner are not getting dealt. MJ is highly unlikely to be dealt also. Hendricks won't be traded also.

(On Alzner, were people on here actually criticizing him for his play? He has been awesome this year and will only improve. He is probably the Caps most reliable defenseman in terms of defensive responsibility).

Chimera, Knuble, Steckel, BGordon, and Bradley, do not have much trade value(why would a seller want any of these guys).

Posted by: sgm3 | February 10, 2011 12:40 PM | Report abuse

@ThePat

I wonder if Fisher had any push from his wife to request a trade to Nashville over other teams even though he did not have a NTC. It makes a lot of sense from their family standpoint, and she makes more money than him(I'm assuming).

Posted by: sgm3 | February 10, 2011 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Predators got Mike Fisher from ottawa for a 1st round pick and conditional draft pick according to Kevin ALlen USA TOday

Posted by: ThePat | February 10, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Shocker that Mr. Carrie Underwood is going to Nashville.

Posted by: cainoo7x | February 10, 2011 12:43 PM | Report abuse

One of the problems the Caps have not addressed is the scoring potential is not well-distributed across their lines.

Winning teams have defensive forwards that don't score that often, but they do score when in front of an empty net or on a breakaway in a key situation.

Here the depth forwards such as Steckel and Gordon can't buy a goal.

Unlike Pittsburgh whose third line forwards can convert a turnover, Washington is depending upon Ovechkin-Semin-Backstrom-Knuble-Laich for all their points.

Matt Bradley who has been out injured is one player along with Hendricks that seems able to transition and score a key goal when it is really needed.

But that ability isn't there for guys again like Gordon, Steckel and the call-ups like Beagle and Andrew Gordon.

Chimera is another guy that with his speed ends up in scoring position quite often but is a poor finisher.

How many times has he beaten a sole defender to the puck in the defensive zone only to whiff on a shot or send one shooting over the crossbar with a goalie vulnerable?

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | February 10, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

The trades are starting to move now with all the moves of the past few days. I wonder if this will push other teams to start making a move now instead of waiting for the deadline and possibly missing on a player.

The price set on Fisher was not too high, which is a good thing.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 10, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Poti is untradeable. No gm wants him except McPhee. Edmonton ran him out of town once already.

Fisher did not have a NMC, McPhee must be working on an extension for Boyd Gordon.

Posted by: underpants2 | February 10, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't matter:
A.) No one is scoring
B.) BB will change the lines again on Sunday
C.) M.P. has no businees being in the NHL right now-especially as a second line center.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 10, 2011 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Poti is untradeable. No gm wants him except McPhee. Edmonton ran him out of town once already.

Fisher did not have a NMC, McPhee must be working on an extension for Boyd Gordon.

Posted by: underpants2 | February 10, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

You won't see McPhee trade a #1 pick.

He enjoys the scouting and draft process too much as GM to put the Caps on the sideline come time for the amateur selections.

In that regard he is not that different from the Eagles front office in the NFL.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | February 10, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Well, so much for getting Fisher. If Washington wants to do something they should get it on pretty soon. Other teams are getting things done instead of waiting until the last minute when teams are more desperate as players they are interested in get taken.

Posted by: Stu_c | February 10, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Georgie Porgie, puddin' and pie,
Screwed the fans and made them cry,
When it came to trading day
Georgie Porgie ran away.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 10, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

If we lose the final game of the regular season and miss the playoffs by one point, McPhee will say that he won't make any rash decisions based on 1 bad game.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 10, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Even worse, tmac, if we lose in OT, it will be, "We can't let five bad minutes change our plan."

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 10, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

You know who is really losing out....the tv stations in Canada that devote a whole day to trade coverage. And to think, I was going to take off work that day. At this point it seems like all the trades will happen before then.

Posted by: ThePat | February 10, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Even worse, tmac, if we lose in OT, it will be, "We can't let five bad minutes change our plan."

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 10, 2011 1:15 PM

Good point... all the more agonizing.

Maybe we'll resign Flash in the offseason. That would be golden. It would certainly complete our offense.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 10, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I think the Backstrom/Ovechkin/Semin line should be nicknamed the
"BOSS LINE"...might invigorate them. A couple of 3-goal nights and the name will stick all over the NHL.

Remember the "French Connection"? People all over the country knew about them - even non-hockey fans.

Posted by: JunkGoal | February 10, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Good to see the crack staff at the post on top of the Fisher trade.

This bad...now what are the caps going to do?

We all wanted Fisher...he was the best possibility out there.

Now we are settling for fillers...just like last year!


And two picks for a quality guy...that's a steal for nashville...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | February 10, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Does it really matter what we think of the 8, 19, 28 line?? One "cute" pass instead of a shot and Semin will be back on the 2nd line.

When there are 20 games left, just LEAVE THE LINES ALONE and allow them to get comfortable.

Posted by: MattBradley10 | February 10, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I say the caps go after this Corvo guy...

I hear he's good.

Maybe they can give up Fehr and a few picks...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | February 10, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

get RJ Umberger and Steve Mason from Columbus! Trade Neuvirth, MP a prospect and a pick!

Posted by: jmurray019 | February 10, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

If I had to guess Ottawa is in full sell mode. You can probably get Spezza for not a whole lot more than what Fisher cost. Yes his contract is longer, but turn around and trade Semin for a cheaper winger to offset the cost. There are still things that can get done. This Fisher deal just sets the market.

I really wouldnt be overly concerned about not getting Fisher. Would it have been nice, yeah. But all signs pointed to him ending up in LA or Nashville.

Posted by: ThePat | February 10, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

@tmac2yao: Maybe we'll resign Flash in the offseason. That would be golden. It would certainly complete our offense.

Comments like these just go to show how delusional some Caps fan are. The grass is always greener on the other side...

Flash was in DC; fans called him Flush and said he should be traded. The Caps trade him and now, getting him back would complete our offense. Of course, if he came back, people will just call for him to be traded again.

Some fans will never be happy, no matter what. The Caps can win their remaining 28 or 29 games by a score of at least 10-0, sweep everyone in the playoffs and win the Cup, and fans would still complain that Ovie looked a little chunky or that Schultz didn't hit someone when he had the chance.

Posted by: sabredc | February 10, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

1) 'The Care Bears' line(for being too cute) is exciting and infuriating all at the same time.
2) It makes it much easier for opposing coaches when all the offensive weapons are on the same line.
3) Keeping #8 and 28 seperated is the correct move in my opinion but, as another posetr correctly mentioned, without a real #2 center its not easy

Posted by: jmol2112 | February 10, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

1) 'The Care Bears' line(for being too cute) is exciting and infuriating all at the same time.
2) It makes it much easier for opposing coaches when all the offensive weapons are on the same line.
3) Keeping #8 and 28 seperated is the correct move in my opinion but, as another posetr correctly mentioned, without a real #2 center its not easy

Posted by: jmol2112 | February 10, 2011 1:33 PM | Report abuse

@sabreDC

Tmac was being SARCASTIC.

Posted by: ThePat | February 10, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Check the sarcasm meter, sabre. Flash is garbage. He could've score 40 gaols this year and I wouldn't want him back - certainly not on this already way too soft bunch.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 10, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

sure. whatever.
people forget (or ignore) one basic thing: the reason we lost in the playoffs last year was due to our impotent powerplay, semin shooting blanks and no goals from secondary scoring (or even primary scoring) during the last 3 games. since that time we might have become a bit better defensively...but our powerplay still stinks, semin goes on protracted runs of invisibility, there is no secondary scoring...and our main guys aren't stepping up. there is no switch for the caps to flip. this is what was wrong with them last year...it's what's wrong with them this year, and it will be what is wrong with them in the post season as well. the team needs drastic change. putting semin on the top line always works for a game or two...but it is not the long term solution this team needs to go further in the playoffs. for that, the team will need to look elsewhere...either a new coach or more veteran leadership.

Posted by: dingram3 | February 10, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

@tmac/ThePat: I concede the part about Flash. I can see how it was meant as sarcasm. My apologies.

I stand by my post about how some fans will never be happy.

Posted by: sabredc | February 10, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

1st line: Ovie - Johansson - Knuble
2nd line: Semin - Backstrom - Laich
3rd line: Fehr* - Stecks - Chimera
4th line: Bradley - Gordon - Hendricks

Perreault not ready for prime time. Semin needs help getting his offense going, Ovie does not. Hence, Semin gets Backstrom.

1st pair: Carlson - Alzner
2nd pair: Green - Erskine
3rd pair: Poti - Schultz

Scott Hannan's breakout passes are more often than not to the other team. Hate to put the pressure of checking the top line on the kids, but no one else on the team can do it.

Posted by: tryks | February 10, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse

B.B. will try it out for 3 shifts and if they don't score he'll break it apart and take them off and then give M.P. as much ice time as he can. I say let them stay together for 5 games straight and see how things are going then. I think Semin does great when he's playing with Ovi.

Posted by: anton8359 | February 10, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Sure, secondary scoring is important..... But who cares when youve got one line scoring all the goals anyway !?!? As long as we're scoring, I'm happy. This is the best way. Get MJ90 on the second line, he's been brilliant when playing with good wingers.

Posted by: jacobware222 | February 10, 2011 2:31 PM | Report abuse

@tryks - I like Ovie with Marcus...

@thePat - not sure when Spezza has ever outscored Semin. And he's got a bigger cap hit with a longer term locked in. It's not an upgrade...

Finally - Katie's question - will this hurt the defensive emphasis? Well, maybe THAT line attacks. NHL teams have lines that attack. The Caps are confused right now...

Posted by: RedLitYogi | February 10, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I think Washington DC needs to give up on having a viable hockey team. McPhee doesn't know anything. Nor does Boudreau. The players are all horrible and should all be traded to teams in Europe. I like to save all of you the headaches of having to go watch this bunch of lazy hockey players and just ship them out. All of them.

There. That seemed like the spirit most of you are thinking but afraid to say it. Yeah, the easiest way of never having to deal with the lackluster performance of the Capitals is to get rid of all of them. You guys have the Redskins anyways. One good team is good enough for you guys. Oh, wait, they weren't that good this year either. Ship them out too....

End overly dramatic pessimistic whining.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 10, 2011 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I think Bruce needs to bench Ovie and Backstrom for a game and try to light fire under them. Neither one is playing extremely well right now. A benching might do them both some good.

Posted by: kevers23 | February 11, 2011 8:57 AM | Report abuse

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