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Posted at 11:54 AM ET, 01/26/2011

Capitals forwards taking shots against Semyon Varlamov in skate

By Katie Carrera

With the forwards taking practice shots against Semyon Varlamov at Philips Arena this morning it looks like he will make his first appearance back in net for the Capitals since facing the Flyers on Jan. 18. Varlamov stopped 20 of 22 shots in two periods against Philadelphia when he entered the contest in relief of Michal Neuvirth.

Also, Matt Bradley is skating with the rest of the group this morning and Coach Bruce Boudreau said there's a chance the veteran right wing will return to the lineup tonight.

More to come.

By Katie Carrera  | January 26, 2011; 11:54 AM ET
Categories:  Matt Bradley, Semyon Varlamov  
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Next: Semyon Varlamov to start, Matt Bradley to return against Thrashers

Comments

@opticlguy - I couldn't agree more. I think MaJo is a great 2C & is only going to get better. I also really liked seeing him up with OV & Backy.

As far as all this trade talk going on I can tell you this, we are not looking to "move" a goalie in either direction. There have been sniffs out there lately for a 2C but I'm being told that GMGM is looking more at a top 6 wing to obtain now. Remember guys this is the part where I'm just telling you what I hear and you do with it as you want. So it appears he's happy with goaltending, he's ok with D, becoming ok at C and looking for a lil more punch at wing.

My 2 cents, I said from the offseason that I wanted to see MaJo at the All Star break or 1/2 way point and see how he's doing. I think MaJo is coming along and almost seems to grow every shift and every game. Will he be enough and be able to maintain his level of play or step it up in the playoffs? Don't know that yet so depth might be an avenue to pursue. Wings, we could definately use some help there.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | January 26, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I would love to see Bradley make his return this evening.

Posted by: j3rockstar | January 26, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

GMGM is in a very tough spot as far as C is concerned. I think you'd like to have a bit more playoff experience there but you're in a tough spot b/c you have Eakin & Kuzzy ready to come in and contribute. So do you get a vet center or go with MaJo this yr?

I haven't seen Kuzzy play much but I did see him in the WJC and the kid is a 1 or at least a 2C in the NHL right now. I've also said many times that I think Kuzzy will be here next yr. He does have 1 more yr remaining in his KHL contract but the bottom line is if he wants out he can get out.

As far as Eakin, once again I haven't see much of him outside of the WJC but it's sounding like Eakin might be targeted for the Bears next yr.

My point in all of this is in 2-3 yrs we are probably going to be the strongest team up the middle (not exaggerating) so IMO we shouldn't give up too much this yr for another 2C. That is of course if MP & MJ continue to improve and stay healthy.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | January 26, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Can't wait to see Brads back in the lineup. Just looking at our scratches makes you think how good we will be with these guys back in the lineup

Posted by: cappies | January 26, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

My 2 cents, I said from the offseason that I wanted to see MaJo at the All Star break or 1/2 way point and see how he's doing. I think MaJo is coming along and almost seems to grow every shift and every game. Will he be enough and be able to maintain his level of play or step it up in the playoffs? Don't know that yet so depth might be an avenue to pursue. Wings, we could definately use some help there.

Posted by: pokerface1208

I also like the progress of MJ, but I don't see him being much better than a lower 2 line center for this season, especially in the playoffs. I love him on the line with Beagle and Hendricks and providing energy and some skill. I would be concerned if he is the Caps #2 center going into the playoffs.

Next year I see him moving up to the #2 center role full time and being more than capable to succeed in that role.

As for wings, I have to admit I am confused by that. Right now the lack of talent at the wings is apparent, but when Semin and Fehr come back that should take care of it.

The implication I am taking from GMGM looking for a top-6 wing is that he no longer feels Knuble can fill that role(I feel the same as well).

However, does this also mean he doesn't feel Laich can fill that role either(IMO, Laich is a great 3rd line player and an average(at best) 2nd line forward).

Posted by: sgm3 | January 26, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

pokerface1208

Looking for more wings becuase they are looking to replace semin. rumor had him going to islanders for 2 high draft picks bailey/comeau/rolie. it got shot down by wang chang.. did not want to pay the money

Posted by: samb99 | January 26, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

@pokerface

Kuz is not going to play C. Hes not even playing C in the KHL this year.

MP improve??? what game are you watching man. He has stunk for almost the whole time he has been up. Dumb penalties, basically no points other than 3 games.

MJ will be fine, but I think he is better off as a 3C especially this year for the playoffs.

Posted by: ThePat | January 26, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse

@samb99 We won't be moving Semin. I've said this from day 1. He wants to stay (altho also tends to go where the money is) and GMGM wants him to stay. A deal will get done unless something very unforseen happens.

The reason we're looking for a wing is for depth #1 but it's also something to look at in a bit of a longer term approach b/c you have expring contracts there aka Knuble. This yr it seems like our most durable wings are the ones not producing and the ones producing always get hurt.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | January 26, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Hmm I'd trade MP and some other stuff for a proven 2C as a rental or 1-2 years left on the contract.

A top 6 wing? Really? No, we need a 2C playmaker way more, as we are set on wings.

I also think we should trade pokerface for Eklund insider info. They both seem to get it right once in a blue moon, and Eklund already has a website. =)

jk poker (thanks and keep up the good insider trading tips).

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | January 26, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

@ThePat

I do think the plan is for Kuznetsov to play center in the NHL and that he will play center for the Caps.

I agree on MJ and MP. MP hasn't shown anything in a while. At least he has been responsible defensively though. But I wouldn't want him as anything but an injury replacement for the playoffs this year. (He would be great for a 1-game substitution if someone got hurt)

Posted by: sgm3 | January 26, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

so you are saying that if GMGM got a deal that was proposed with islanders happen he would no do it.

Posted by: samb99 | January 26, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

Im sorry I disagree that that is there plan for Kuz. I think he's a winger unless they trade Eakin. MJ and Eakin will be the 2C and 3C 2 years from now. With Kuz playing as a winger. If they trade Eakin then yes I'd agree that they'd move Kuz to C.

Posted by: ThePat | January 26, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

My 2 cents, I said from the offseason that I wanted to see MaJo at the All Star break or 1/2 way point and see how he's doing. I think MaJo is coming along and almost seems to grow every shift and every game. Will he be enough and be able to maintain his level of play or step it up in the playoffs? Don't know that yet so depth might be an avenue to pursue. Wings, we could definately use some help there.

Posted by: pokerface1208

Didn't Eakin play wing in the WJCs also? He looked good there too. Eakin and Kuznetsov are both very young and it probably could go eitehr way, putting one at wing and the other at center.

I was sort of thinking they would want a bigger(as in taller) player at center with already having the smaller MJ as a center on the team.

But it's early, it could go either way.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 26, 2011 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Woops.

That last post was supposed to be in response to ThePat's last post, not pokerface.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 26, 2011 12:45 PM | Report abuse

As far as all this trade talk going on I can tell you this, we are not looking to "move" a goalie in either direction. There have been sniffs out there lately for a 2C but I'm being told that GMGM is looking more at a top 6 wing to obtain now. Remember guys this is the part where I'm just telling you what I hear and you do with it as you want. So it appears he's happy with goaltending, he's ok with D, becoming ok at C and looking for a lil more punch at wing.

My 2 cents, I said from the offseason that I wanted to see MaJo at the All Star break or 1/2 way point and see how he's doing. I think MaJo is coming along and almost seems to grow every shift and every game. Will he be enough and be able to maintain his level of play or step it up in the playoffs? Don't know that yet so depth might be an avenue to pursue. Wings, we could definately use some help there.

Posted by: pokerface1208

I just threw up in my mouth.

Posted by: underpants2 | January 26, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

@pokerface1208

Semin will not be resigned under any circumstances.

He will either be traded pre-deadline, or his rights will be moved in the summer prior to July 1st. Even if we win the Cup, I still believe this to be true.

Posted by: underpants2 | January 26, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

@pokerface

Kuz is not going to play C. Hes not even playing C in the KHL this year.

MP improve??? what game are you watching man. He has stunk for almost the whole time he has been up. Dumb penalties, basically no points other than 3 games.

MJ will be fine, but I think he is better off as a 3C especially this year for the playoffs.

Posted by: ThePat | January 26, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse
------------------------------------------
I agree that's why I was saying it's a rough spot to be in. Is MJ's spot this yr for the playoffs at 2C or 3C? If it's 3C then you need a 2C but there's a problem, either the 2C's that are available aren't any better than MJ or the ones that are available are much better and command a bigger return. Well why do you want to give away big assets when you already have the answer in the coming yrs?

As far as Kuzzy, I understand that he's playing RW now but he is pegged as a C. To me him playing RW is only a good thing. That means when we have Backs, MJ, MP, Eakin, & Kuzzy then Kuzzy can go to wing.

Granted I know we're trying to win a Cup this year but lets fast forward for a sec to next yr (assuming Eakin & Kuzzy come here) here are your top 3 lines.

OV - Backs - MJ
Semin - Eakin - Kuzzy
Chimmer - MP - Fehr

Obviously Chimmer is interchangable. I think MJ & Kuzzy could flip between lines 1 & 2. I don't typically get caught up a lot in the trade talk (as far as lets trade "x" for "y" or what our team will look like in the future but I'm pretty excited for the future of this team. This doesn't even mention the fact that we have 3 NHL goaltenders either playing in the NHL on a regular or part time basis.

We're in really good shape for the future, lets see what we can get done this year. It won't take a lot but this team has the opportunity to do something really special in the playoffs. Especially if we can get our star players playing like star players and get out PP going.


Posted by: pokerface1208 | January 26, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I don't think any of the young guys (MaJo, Eakin, Kuznetsov) are pure centers in the way that Backstrom is. I'm not talking about skill level, I'm just talking about the fit between the skill sets and the job description.

Posted by: zmega | January 26, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I assume you mean that MJ will center the 3rd line, pokerface1208?

Posted by: j3rockstar | January 26, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Hmm I'd trade MP and some other stuff for a proven 2C as a rental or 1-2 years left on the contract.

A top 6 wing? Really? No, we need a 2C playmaker way more, as we are set on wings.

I also think we should trade pokerface for Eklund insider info. They both seem to get it right once in a blue moon, and Eklund already has a website. =)

jk poker (thanks and keep up the good insider trading tips).

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce

I completely agree with the above bolded.

MP85 and a 3rd for Arnott might be good... looking at the Centers for the rest of the league, can't really see anyone other than Arnott that could be had easily.

Posted by: FrankM73 | January 26, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, nevermind....I looked again.

Posted by: j3rockstar | January 26, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse

The only other 2 I can think of are Mike Fisher and Steven Weiss but both have 2 more years on the contract and that's probably asking too much to take on and will cost more in prospects and picks going out...

Posted by: FrankM73 | January 26, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse

@FrankM73

My guess is that Arnott could be had for relatively cheap. I think just a 3rd or 4th round pick might do it. He is a pending UFA and NJ has no interest in re-signing him. They will deal him for anything and I'm not sure if there is that great of a market for him to raise the price.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 26, 2011 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I know his stats are not stellar in Hershey right now, but, anyone think Dmitri Kugryshev could stick with the Caps next year, or would he be in line for another year with the Bears?

37 GP 4G 8A 12 Pts -1 +/- 6PIM

Posted by: wolvi6987 | January 26, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3:

I would think so... a 3rd... but some team could easily offer a 2nd since we don't have one...

and if LA falls out of the race, Jarret Stoll? 3.6 for 1 more year after this!, thoughts?

Posted by: FrankM73 | January 26, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

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