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Morning Links: Bourque Gets His Break

(AP Photo)

For the first time in his career, Chris Bourque will start the season as a Washington Capital, having made it through the final roster chop along with fan favorite Quintin Laing and defenseman Tyler Sloan.

Voted off the island: Karl Alzner, Alexandre Giroux, Keith Aucoin and Brandon Sugden.

Your Tuesday Morning Link Spectacular awaits:

* Caps aim to end playoff disappointment for good ( [Ed Note: Okay, but seriously, who wants to continue their playoff disappointment for good? Just sayin'.]

* Ovechkin: Our time has come (

* More than Crosby-Ovechkin ... what about Malkin? (USA Today)

* Jeremy Roenick says Ovechkin is "jealous" of Malkin. Ooooh, snap. (CBC Sports)

* NHL2k10 gives Ovechkin, Crosby too much credit (MTV)

* Whaddya know, the Caps are rising (The Hockey News)

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  September 29, 2009; 5:24 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Making the Cuts
Next: Tuesday Morning Update


Ovechkin, himself, admitted in an interview recently that he is jealous of Malkin and the Penguins but he said something to the effect of "it's good jealous not bad jealous."

And that article is a playful discussion about "the lighter side of the game." Roenick said nothing worthy of an "Ooooh, snap." He actually complimented Ovechkin in his response.

Posted by: tmac2yao | September 29, 2009 6:32 AM | Report abuse

WOOHOO BOURQUE!!! I love this kid so much, what a deserving, hardworking, gritty guy! Join the offical Chris Bourque group on facebook show your support for #56

Posted by: capsfan387 | September 29, 2009 6:51 AM | Report abuse

Here's the headline for Chris Bourque opening the season with the Capitals: "The Son Also Rises".

Posted by: greggwiggins | September 29, 2009 6:58 AM | Report abuse

haha cute greg

Posted by: capsfan387 | September 29, 2009 6:59 AM | Report abuse

tmac2yao, couldn't have said it better myself. And reading some of the comments after that article, it's pathetic how some people just don't get Ovi. He is anything but a trash talker

Posted by: dfe1 | September 29, 2009 6:59 AM | Report abuse

Most people here and in Canada don't understand Russians. Semin, not a bad guy either.

Drop the puck, I have good feeling about this season.

Go CAPS!!!

Posted by: noreaster1 | September 29, 2009 7:16 AM | Report abuse

Poor Aucoin and Giroux, I kinda hope some team picks them up off waivers so they can in the NHL -- they've done all they can in the AHL. Or the Caps find room for them, but if they can't play 2 way, oh well.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | September 29, 2009 7:47 AM | Report abuse

giroux had his chance, he cannot translate his AHL success into any kind of NHL success. aucoin on the other hand, he has promise

Posted by: capsfan387 | September 29, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

So what do you guys think the lines will look like most often until Fleischmann and Fehr return?

I'm thinking something like this:


(Nylander in the press box or elsewhere)


(Pothier and Sloan rotating with Schultz, Erskine and Jurcina)


(goalies will split time early in the season as BB suggested)

I think Laing may get 3rd line duty over Bourque based on a comment BB made but I just threw Bourque in there for the heck of it.

Posted by: tmac2yao | September 29, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

*Morrisonn on the top D line, not Morrison (for the spellcheckers out there)

Posted by: tmac2yao | September 29, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Congrats Bourque... it's about time!

Posted by: MNMNT | September 29, 2009 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Semin got a bad rap from a bad translation of an interview last season, and it's going to hound the poor man the rest of his natural life, because he said something that someone interpreted as derogatory against the NHL's Golden Boy, Crosby. Never mind that it was badly translated. There's a reason he didn't give interviews last season.

This year, he has a good translator. Let's see what he has to say. :-)

Posted by: irockthered | September 29, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

@tmac2yao: I agree with everything except the last D-pairing.

* Pothier is a solid puck-moving defenseman, and based on his pre-season play I think he's too solid to sit plus offers offensive upside. I also think he sees time on the second PP unit.
* Erskine / Jurcina is a disaster because neither one of them has a lot of speed and had better not get caught behind the play. If you look at your first two pairings, both of them have a puck-mover and a shutdown guy on them - make the last Pothier / Erskine and you duplicate that. Jurcina and Sloan will split time with Erskine and possibly ShaMo.

Posted by: kittypawz | September 29, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse


I always like to pair a puck mover with a defensive defenseman and recognized I didn't do that with the 3rd line. The main reason I had both Erskine and Jurcina there is that our first game is against Boston. They are a physical team that will be revved up at home on opening night. I figured we'd want both Erskine and Jurcina in there for those reasons.

I also don't think you always need to pair up on offensive defenseman with a defensive defenseman, especially on the 3rd line. I would guess that most defensive lines in the league don't have good puck movers on them. Those kinds of players are relatively rare.

Posted by: tmac2yao | September 29, 2009 8:23 AM | Report abuse

I agree that Juice and Sexylumberjack = bad pairing. Sloan has more speed, as does Alzner (who will get called up often I imagine), so the last pairing will be tuff/mover pairing. I think Alzner will get used to the Hershey-DC routes so he can play top-2 in Hershey and bottom-2 in DC to maximize his maturing.

I also think Bourque makes good sense on the 3rd line with Steckel and Clark as those latter 2 can hold their own in terms of size and grit where Bourque adds speed, energy, and scoring touch. Putting Laing on the 3rd line is a waste of his talent and Bourque's

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | September 29, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

It's good to see some new blood in Caps sweaters to start the season (well not new per se, but you know what I mean). Also WTF are they talking about in that CBC article:

Sid the Kid chimed in about Ovechkin's wild style of celebrating goals, saying: "Some people like it, some people don't. Personally, I don't like it."

And Ovechkin's assessment of Crosby? "He is a good player, but he talks too much."

Who will Alex the Great target in a war of words this season?

-- How the F is a line from each guy a "war of words"

Posted by: superpaqman | September 29, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

It's be awesome if one of these days there was no mention of anything Pens-related in the links list.

Posted by: TheOriginalEgon | September 29, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Nylander was loaned to the Redskins to play QB.

Press Conference coming later today.

Posted by: SA-Town | September 29, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

@superpaqman - I know, right? The media will turn anything into a war. And bluntly, that comment from Crosby is old news anyway. :-p The media's just bringing it back when all these guys want to do is play hockey, and I think it's ridiculous.

Posted by: irockthered | September 29, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

@JIMALLCAPS - Every time someone refers to Erskine as The Sexy Lumberjack, I get visions of Monty Python dancing in my head. Make it stop, LOL!

Posted by: irockthered | September 29, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

@SA-Town - Why not? It'd have to be an improvement over what they have now... :-p

Posted by: irockthered | September 29, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse


One mistake of note in Mark Giannotto's otherwise good article this morning, there are currently 8 D in DC, not seven. New blood for the Caps reporting team? Or is Tarik just taking a break before the season start (in which case why didn't you get the nod?).

Two days, man, two days. Go Caps!

Posted by: Sonyask | September 29, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

When I saw Erskine at the convention he kind of reminded me of Jim Gaffigan.

Posted by: ds_kelly | September 29, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

From Hockey News:

"The Capitals can’t be much better in the regular season than they were last year, but it certainly wouldn’t be a surprise to see them usurp the Bruins for first overall in the Eastern Conference. The question for the Capitals is goaltending."

Along with comments re: the blueline, this contention regarding goaltending has been infectious in the season previews among hockey journalists. No one here seems worried. I'm not. We've got three -- count 'em three -- strong goalies to throw in the mix in hopes that one gets hot when it matters. One of them brings long experience and all have something to prove.

I like our odds.

Posted by: Sonyask | September 29, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse


Hah! I never thought about that but I can see it.

Next time Erskine makes a pass to an opposing player in the defensive end, I will refer to him as John Gaffe-again.

Posted by: tmac2yao | September 29, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I don't know. I'm not convinced the problem is Jason Campbell, except that he has more arm than he knows what to do with and has a tendency to overthrow his receiver on the long bomb. Consider that they can march that ball up and down the field all day long until they hit the red zone. Memo: The red zone is not a brick wall.

I honestly have to question Zorn's play-calling more than I question Jason Campbell - Campbell can't even change the play if the defensive lineup shows that they've read the play. He needs more freedom.

Posted by: kittypawz | September 29, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I like this quote:

"It's time to win some team trophies," said Ovechkin

Posted by: Greg S. | September 29, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Hey - I'm a real Bourque fan and glad he is getting this opportunity with the Caps.
BUT - you don't keep a guy who scored 75 GOALS in the AHL last year OR the guy who set-up most of those goals and was 2nd on the team in points? What does Giroux have to do to make this team? As much as I'd love to see him in Hershey - I hope he gets claimed by another NHL team and comes back to haunt the Caps BIG TIME! I think BB has screwed-up on this one!

Posted by: hersheybearfan | September 29, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse


I grew up in DC but now live in Houston. I'm a Redskins fan at heart but also follow the Texans.

A few of the biggest issues talked about with the Texans (aside from their putrid defense) are their inability to capitalize in the red zone, the questionable play-calling and Matt Schaub not having the freedom to call audibles.

I suppose a lot of issues are common to many teams.

Posted by: tmac2yao | September 29, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

This is the honest truth, too:

Worst 08-09 Number 1,011
Giveaways by the Capitals, the second-highest total of any team (Edmonton was tops with 1,038). As good as the Capitals are, they need to take better care of the puck.

Posted by: Greg S. | September 29, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

hersheybearfan - I have to disagree with you there. Yes Alex G. put up a lot of goals, and yes Aucoin put up tons of points in the A, but why would you put players that need to be scoring to be effective into checking line roles? Coach picked the players that best fit the open spots, plain and simple.

Posted by: superpaqman | September 29, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Excited about the home-grown additions to the 09/10 lineup! Rock the Red!

Posted by: chrislarry | September 29, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

FOR TARIK - any merit to the forsberg rumors? its all over the internet that he says he wants to come to dc and that we want him, pending ability to move nyles. thanks.

Posted by: mmitch34 | September 29, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

@ Greg S.

I agree, giveaways are a collective problem.

The funny thing is I've heard a couple of our players refer to the Caps as a puck possession team. I don't see that at all. Detroit is a puck possession team. San Jose is a puck possession team. The Capitals are more like a wild, run 'n gun team that makes tons of long, risky passes.

Posted by: tmac2yao | September 29, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

@ mmitch34

Even if there was any merit to those rumors (which I doubt were completely accurate since every article I read had a different set of teams he was interested in and there was not a single direct quote that came out of Forsbergs' mouth), the latest news should kill the possibility once and for all:

"I can hardly walk, but it feels OK when I skate," Forsberg said. "I'm going to let this stress fracture heal, but I am not sure that I am ready for the NHL yet. We will see. I will make a decision the next couple of weeks."

Forsberg simply can't stay healthy. It was a nice pipedream for some but that is all it will ever be.

Posted by: tmac2yao | September 29, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Giroux can't beat NHL caliber goaltendering. Simple as that. He's gotten chances but doesn't produce and he's not here to be a Bradley. Not to mention he was a UFA and no other team offered him a one-way obviously.

Posted by: koalatek | September 29, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I am so happy for Laing! He deserves this chance. I also think we need someone willing tosacrifice their body like he is.

Is anyone else worried about how small Bourque is?

Posted by: capscoach | September 29, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

OV should be jealous & so should he rest of the team & fans.
We need to work our collective butts off & use our collective heads to win a Cup.
The time to be young & foolish is over.

Posted by: Rocc00 | September 29, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I'm happy for these guys, but thought that Aucoin really earned a spot. Strong skating and nifty plays all preseason long; bullheaded determination at the end of last season. I'm disappointed because I think he'd be a great Capital - in addition to his skill, it's obvious he adds motivation and spirit to the mix. I hope he gets an NHL spot soon...

Posted by: fronesis1016 | September 29, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

@ capscoach

St. Louis, Savard and Kane are all midgets.

In this era of the NHL, with all the rule changes, there is a much better chance for smaller players to be successful. I'm not saying Bourque is the next St. Louis, just that there is less reason for concern in this day and age.

On a side note, I went to college with St. Louis. He is surprisingly short in real person. I don't think he's 5'9 as listed on his profile. I'd say he's closer to 5'6 or 5'7.

Posted by: tmac2yao | September 29, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Bourgue over Fehr all year.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | September 29, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

From what I saw in the games, I would have chosen Aucoin over Borque.

Posted by: ejohnsto | September 29, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Both Aucoin and Giroux will have their day when their type of play is what the Caps need. We need a guy like Bourque right now, and a guy like Laing, more than we need another goal-scorer type, and while I want to see Aucoin and Giroux play for the Caps, now isn't the time.

Besides - think of the Bears. They get two BEASTS back, if nobody picks them up off of waivers (fingers crossed!)

Posted by: irockthered | September 29, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

@kittypawz - Re: Zorn. Yeah, I'd have to agree with you there. The Nylander comment was just a snark. On both of them. :-p

Posted by: irockthered | September 29, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Bourque is a wing and Aucoin is a center. Even though we tend to clump forwards together, Aucoin was trying out for a different spot.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 29, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Aucoin played very well for the Caps during pre-season, and while I did want to see him have the chance to play, I understand the line we'd need to play him on does not suit him.

Who do you move to play Aucoin where he belongs? How does he fit in? Do you play him someplace he *doesn't* belong, and then grouse when he fails, or do you save him for later when you need him someplace where he WILL fit in?

This is why GMGM is General Manager, Bou is the coach, and I am just a fan. I leave the tough decisions to folks above my salary grade. ;-)

Posted by: irockthered | September 29, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

So excited about Bourque! I've been follwing his play and development in Hershey and think he will be a great addition to the Caps. Congrats! I like Laing, though I think I see things a bit differently than BB. We can get some of what Laing offers from Gordon (granted not everything, Laing is a shotblocking machine) but think I would rather have Aucoin up to see what he can do.

Posted by: Grape8 | September 29, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Let's Go Caps!!!

48 hours!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | September 29, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Puck Daddy:

The most interesting twist in the Forsberg situation was provided by the man himself, when he mentioned the Washington Capitals as a desired destination. Doesn't mean there's a love connection here, as the Capitals have Nicklas Backstrom(notes) as their undisputed No. 1 center and signed Brendan Morrison(notes) for the second unit. We tend to agree with Spector on this one: With limited cap room, one would expect the Caps to upgrade in other areas rather than bring in Forsberg. (BTW: Rumors chat returns on Wednesday at 1 p.m. EST.)

The speculation game with Forsberg is a fruitful distraction from reality, which is that as good as the guy looks in a few Swedish League games he's still, as Parent called him, "the world's only 36-year-old with 96-year-old feet." That doesn't mean he won't find another NHL job ... but it does mean his health will remain as random and inconsistent as the rumors flying around him now.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | September 29, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: lylewimbledon | September 29, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse


I'd say his chances of finding an NHL job went to about zero yesterday:

"I can hardly walk, but it feels OK when I skate," Forsberg said. "I'm going to let this stress fracture heal, but I am not sure that I am ready for the NHL yet. We will see. I will make a decision the next couple of weeks."

Posted by: tmac2yao | September 29, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

A lot of those giveaways were various Russians (often named Alex) trying to go through 9 guys on their own. Its awesome when it works, but a turnover otherwise.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | September 29, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse


Yeah - I don't want that broken has-been...A.) we would have to move Nylander first and replace him with another contract for a player that will never play...makes no sense at all. B.)Everyone is saying Forsberg is still a second line center - I think he may be a fourth line guy at best at this point in his career.

I do think something happens to Nylander very soon though.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | September 29, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Forsberg might have old feet - and no spleen - but even on 1 foot he's still better than 98% of the guys in the league. Also, I doubt he'd play center at this point: he's been mostly a wing in recent years, whether for the Swed. Olympic team, Avs II, or Modo - but the guy can play anywhere and excel.

If GMGM says no to Forsberg coming to the Caps - and if you don't think he'd make Semin a 60-goal scorer [never mind if they put him with Ovie and Backstrom as an off-wing] - you're crazy, I just really hope he doesn't go to another team in the East.

Whatever team Forsberg winds up on, their power play instantly improves dramatically - and how many playoff series come down to special teams?

Posted by: govtimbo | September 29, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Yo, govtimbo...

Did you read about the fact that he has a stress fracture in his bad foot?

Posted by: tmac2yao | September 29, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Bourque isn't going to survive long in the NHL has a 5'8 175 pound winger. Durability is definitely a question mark at this level.

His true position in the NHL is going to be at center and if he is unable to make that switch down the road than I would expect him to be traded.

Posted by: leopard09 | September 29, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

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