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Morning Skate

Viktor Kozlov, who missed four games with a knee sprain but played in Dallas, wasn't on the ice this morning for the optional skate but will play tonight against Nashville. He will skate with Nicklas Backstrom and Brooks Laich. Dave Steckel is in and Eric Fehr will be a healthy scratch. Brent Johnson will start tonight against the Predators.

Here are the lines:

Laich-Backstrom-Fehr Kozlov


Scratches: Fehr, Poti (groin strain)

*While these lines are in the order they would be if Alex Ovechkin were here, Coach Bruce Boudreau made a point of saying he wasn't labeling anyone a top line.

"I don't know what our top line is anymore," he said with a nod to Alexander Semin's strong start to the season. "I didn't want to change Semin's (practice jersey) color cause he's doing fairly well."

The Caps first line typically wears red jerseys in practice while the second wears gray.

*As you may have noticed captain Chris Clark has only been averaging 13:27 minutes per game so far this season. In 18 games last season he averaged 16:54, but two years ago in 2006-07 the Caps were a much different team and he held the fifth highest average ice time at 18:25.

"The team's a lot better than it was in the past," Boudreau said. "Two years ago there was no Semin here....(Clark) isn't on the first unit of the power play and he wasn't on the penalty kill. So if you have a lot of power plays and a lot of penalty kills you don't get the ice time that you deserve or think you deserve."

*Conversely second-year defenseman Mike Green leads the Caps in ice time again this year with 27:19 minutes on average. He's eclipsed the 29-minute mark three times in eight games, but because it's early in the season Boudreau isn't too worried about burning him out.

"We certainly wouldn't like him on a regular basis to play over 30 minutes," Boudreau said. "The last half of last year he was probably around the 26-, 27-minute mark. Now you've added penalty killing into his repertoire and now that Tom Poti's out it has put a bigger strain on him for staying out there for two minutes on the power play. He can handle it. He's young, he's very strong and it's October where you have the energy and games are a little more spaced out."

By Katie Carrera  |  October 28, 2008; 10:11 AM ET
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Wish Nyles would get time as the top center. Let Nicky play on the 3rd until OV is back.

Posted by: Grape8 | October 28, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse shows they will have the game it costs money but only like $5.00. here in Harrisburg Pittsburgh is usually blackedout but they showed the game so i will guess that the caps game will be on it.

Posted by: cocorules | October 28, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Hmm ... so how is this Hockey Streams getting TV cameras into the arena? Handhelds? :) Won't Gary Bettman show up and take their cameras away?

Posted by: Cerealman | October 28, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure I understand why Stecks is playing on the 2nd line wing (when he's a center) when I'd rather have Flash moving up to the 2nd (he's playing like he deserves the oppotunity)or I'd like to see Fehr get an opportunity. It's sad to see him on the bench, because he can't develop without getting some minutes....

Posted by: thecapsfan79 | October 28, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

They're scratching Fehr? That's unfortunate; I'd rather they scratch Steckel. I'm hoping Fehr will get his shot soon. He's not getting a second look right now, and that saddens me, because he is good.

Still, I'm glad Kozlov is playing.

Here's hoping the Caps crush Nashville in Ovi's honor.

Posted by: kittypawz | October 28, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

i disgaree, steckel is better then fehr. he's just having a slow start like lots of our other players. it'll be nice to see how the first line clicks, laich was on the first line last yr maybe he'll start scoring again

Posted by: capsfan387 | October 28, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

The only reason we are blacked out is our 7 PM start time. If we started at 7:30 on VS nights we would be able to show the game. Sorry if you live too far away to attend, the rest should buy a ticket and watch, it really has been great this year.

Posted by: majiksea | October 28, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse


When will Poti be ready to play? This Saturday in Buffalo?

We need him.

Posted by: DannyBoy1975 | October 28, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I seriously doubt HockeyStreams will have the game - the only cameras that will be functioning will be the jumbotron feed.

Posted by: Semvechkin | October 28, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I hope that Backs can simplify his game and the first line clicks tonight. It'd be nice to see Laich, Kozlov, or Backs get a goal. I'm also surprised that Fehr is a healthy scratch. It's coming time to play him or trade him for a veteran defender.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | October 28, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if the STH Media Notes will still come out. I guess so since there'll still be radio there. Also aren't the media timeouts and intermissions shorter when there's no TV coverage? Like 15.5 minutes instead of 17 or something?

Posted by: GregAnnapolis | October 28, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Check out the stats for the Bears: Sami and Karl are looking pretty darn good so far

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | October 28, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I too would rather see Fehr get some ice time over Steckel. Fehr has played well in the little ice time he has seen. If he got a chance to play with Semin and Fedorov, who knows what could happen.

I also think Nyls and Flash need to stick together. They seem to be clicking and knew where the other guy was going to be in the Dallas game. If they can keep it up, we might have 20+ goal scorers on 3 different lines


Posted by: SombreroGuy | October 28, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

This game will be filmed, trust me. Coaches need to review game film. It just won't be broadcasted live. My guess is that Comcast will re-broadcast it late tonight or it will be available via On Demand tomorrow.

Posted by: cbs75 | October 28, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Eric Fehr's the new Steve Eminger.

Posted by: capsbluelinedotcom | October 28, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I disagree that Fehr is the new Eminger. Eminger got passed over by Sami and Erksine as call-ups from Hershey. He hardly ever saw any icetime until almost the playoffs. Fehr is seeing some icetime and no one from Hershey has bypassed him. He is ahead of Bourque on the depth-chart. Both coaches also by-passed Eminger on a fairly weak defense last year; Fehr is sitting behind a very deep and talented offense. Eminger had YEARS to make the Caps; Fehr is really only in his second year with the Caps due to injuries in past years. Not really the same, sorry.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | October 28, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Coach B said there is no #1 line.

*While these lines are in the order they would be if Alex Ovechkin were here, Coach Bruce Boudreau made a point of saying he wasn't labeling anyone a top line.

"I don't know what our top line is anymore," he said with a nod to Alexander Semin's strong start to the season. "I didn't want to change Semin's (practice jersey) color cause he's doing fairly well."

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | October 28, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

@Capsfannmiss - when I posted those updates were not there, it just had the lines listed (minus Kozzy). I really just want Nyles to see a signifficant amount of ice time, especially with OV out.

Posted by: Grape8 | October 28, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

OMG It finally happened! Fios is getting NHL Center Ice and NHL Network!

Posted by: migz | October 28, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Looking for more perspective on the Caps.
Its the latest stop for news on the Caps and around the NHL.

Posted by: bagasome | October 28, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I am Very Excited about Fios getting NHL Network. I left DirecTV for Fios a few months ago and have been missing the NHL Network.

Posted by: MReilly9 | October 28, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Let the opponents figure out who the top line is. Whoever draws the #1 shut down man, that's the #1 line.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | October 28, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Fios already has the channels selected for NHL Center Ice 1 - 14 (Fios Channels 1475 - 1488).

See link:

Posted by: MReilly9 | October 28, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Do any DirecTV watchers know if they carry the backup CSN channel. Saturday shows the Wizards game on CSN. Don't they usually then show the Caps game on another channel (News8 I think). I can only find the Caps game listed on local Buffalo channel which I assume will be blacked out here.

Posted by: Ames00 | October 28, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Finally!! I switched from Directv a few months ago aswell and have been thinking of switching back. Now I will probably stick with FIOS.

Posted by: _Tim | October 28, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Saturday's game at Buffalo is listed as being on CSN+, which I think is on DirecTV channel 699 in this area.

Check out this link:

Posted by: MReilly9 | October 28, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Any predictions for tonight's game?

I say Caps win handily.

Posted by: _jordan | October 28, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I see NHL center Ice on my channel lineup, but I don't see NHL network, any ideas when they are adding it officially to the lineup?

Posted by: graig82 | October 28, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

obviously I was talking about my FIOS lineup. Thanks

Posted by: graig82 | October 28, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Jordan - am thinking 4-2 Caps.

Posted by: kittypawz | October 28, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

If Boudreau fails to recognize who the top line is, and tries to achieve level recognition across all line, then he must be a socialist and a Marxist, and he must be stopped.

Sorry...had to do it.

Posted by: SA-Town | October 28, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

If the Caps score more than 4, they win; if they score 2 or less, they lose. Teams seem to be playing some nuetral zone trap successfully against the Caps like NJ, Calgary, and Phoenix. If teams try to keep up the Caps offensively, they tend to lose (e.g. Dallas, Pissburgh, Chicago, & Vancouver). I think part of this phenomenon is that the Caps defense is not quite good enough to clear the puck consistently and in such a way to set up the rush. Some are (Green, Morrison, Schultz, and Poti); some are not (Erksine, Jurnica, and Sloan).

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | October 28, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse


I predict The Sexy Lumberjack will take one untimely penalty.

I predict Nyls will skate in a circle at one point, but it will be a pretty circle.

I predict Mike Green will make two end to end skates, and score on one of them.

I predect Semin will score a beautiful goal that you will have to see to believe.

I predict that sloan will lay another bone crushing hit.

I predict the Caps will win a close game in regulation, unless Nashville scores more goals, in which case we will all be mad.


Posted by: Leeguru | October 28, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I like the 4-2 (Caps) prediction...i'll add that Boyd Gordon scores on an empty net to seal the Preds fate.

Posted by: fullright | October 28, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse


takin your list to the game. as for seeing the game, 2 words: season tickets!


Posted by: doughless | October 28, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

That was beautiful ... I could almost hear you saying it with conviction at a podium in front of thousands of Caps Fans! I'm inspired.

Posted by: Boo- | October 28, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse


Unfortunatley my job doesn't allow me to get season tix. The hours I work don't make it worth while. ANd I did have the opportunity to go tonight (thanks Steve R. ENjoy my seat jordan) but I work until 9.

I will be listening on XM though!

Posted by: Leeguru | October 28, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

been away with no internet. its like being on a desert island.
why isn't the game on tonight? i don't get it. vs rights? huh? why dont they show it then? was hoping to see anther game. its been a while...

Posted by: oo7 | October 28, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

NHL Network on FIOS will be awesome! I made the jump to Fios in time for the finals last year since I had HD. I was missing out on the NHL coverage and am excited to have it back.

As for Versus sucking - yes, it's true. On so many levels.

@doughless - the teams make a fraction of money from season tickets, and a much bigger chunk from advertising both in and out of the arena. Fewer games on TV means less money.

(oh, and I'm broke and can not afford tickets to a single game, and if I did I would not spend it on the Thrashers game!)

Posted by: armonroe | October 28, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

i just want everybody to be at the Phone Booth makin much noise!!

Posted by: doughless | October 28, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I am frankly amazed that so many "hockey experts" on this list don't actually go to hockey games!!! I watch a lot of hockey on TV, in fact I have 2 games set to TIVO tonight, but TV hockey and live hockey are 2 very different things! Guess I will add a grain of salt to some opinions here.

Posted by: majiksea | October 28, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I must say, I don't think that is a fair statement. I feel very fortunate to be a STH. I have the work, family, financial and geographic situation that enables me to do so; not everyone does. There are a lot of people here who follow the Caps (and the NHL) very closely - they know what they are talking about. As much as I (and I am sure they would) enjoy being at the VC, that does not mean that my opinion is any more valid than theirs. Frankly, I think avid fans who follow the Caps without being able to go to games are the biggest, most dedicated fans of them all. So I don't think you need a 'grain of salt' when reading their opinions. But that's just my two cents ...

Posted by: Boo- | October 28, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

wow, everyone needs to lighten up. wasn't try to rub season tix (or not having them) in anybodies face. we are all Caps fans. Can't we all just get along!!!

Posted by: doughless | October 28, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

my prediction is the either the donald or the sexy lumberjack will lay a beating on TooToo, and that brooks will score. I do like nylander skating in circles prediction (its like saying ulf dahlen will do an open pivot)

Posted by: _stevo | October 28, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

That was not intended for you (a ";)" will get you a long way!). :-)

Posted by: Boo- | October 28, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Oh no, now I feel like a second claass citizen because I do not have season tix. In fact, i think we should share the wealth. Those of you who have Season tix should give them to those of us who do not have them. ANd those that own more than one Cpas jersey should give those of us that don't one.

Now, back to the predictions!

Posted by: Leeguru | October 28, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Is that a part of one of the platforms that I should be aware of before I vote next Tuesday?

Posted by: Boo- | October 28, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Don't mean I'm better or worse than anyone else, just mean there are important things you miss when you only see the game on TV (the replays are better on TV), and I believe opinions about the game are tempered by how it is watched. TV provides one lens and the live experience a very different lens.

All that being said, personally I just hope Johnny plays well tonight! It is time for our goalie not to suck!

Posted by: majiksea | October 28, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Hey Boo thanks for looking out for the non-sth Caps fans. Living in PA (you know, Flyers and Pens territory), I can't afford to go to that many Caps games. I support the Bears, the Caps farmteam because its closer and cheaper. It doesn't make me or others like me less important Caps fans. I never miss a game and follow my old hometown team. Thanks for lookin after your peeps.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | October 28, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

i predict Sasha Semin fall down go boom!



Posted by: doughless | October 28, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I would totally have season tickets if I wasn't a poor-ass college student. Like maybe if I was a rich-ass college student.

Posted by: _jordan | October 28, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

hey who needs a ticket tonight?

Posted by: mnmnt_snow | October 28, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Getting ready to head down to the game. Caps 3, Preds 2 in a game much closer than it should be.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | October 28, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I'll be there around 6:30ish

Posted by: mnmnt_snow | October 28, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

It would be expensive for me to get season tickets. Being 1100 miles from D.C. Hell it cost me 6- 750.00 every time I get to go see the caps "live".

I agree that the game is a little different live compaired to a game on T.V. I've played enough hockey,was a STH when living in Maryland, and watch all the games on Direc TV (Except for tonight). I do not proclaim to be an expert though, I leave that for some one else.


Posted by: Capsfannmiss | October 28, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

everyone, go to Irish Channel

Posted by: doughless | October 28, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse


You know you get first crack at my tickets.

But in the spirit of giving, I have a home Cooke with your name on it.

Posted by: Steve_R | October 28, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I did send my email request for those other tickets we use. No response yet.

And I am sooo all over those Cooke tickets! ;)

Posted by: Leeguru | October 28, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Hey Steve R,

Little change for tonight. My Lainger jersey smells like hockey, so I'm going with my gold Tre Kronor #19. haha, you won't be able to miss me in that damn thing.

Posted by: _jordan | October 28, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Hoping for another W tonight. I'll be there, I was able to pick-up some tickets second hand for cheap. GO CAPS!

Posted by: AMHV2772 | October 28, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Tough to be a sth when you live several thousand miles away in Canada. But we grow the worlds best hockey players so people like you can go to the games and think you r experts. Lol. Enjoy your bliss.

Posted by: wendel2 | October 28, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Hey Ken Klee was just grabbed off waivers by the Yotes. FYI for those old Caps fans who liked his play for old DC for so many years.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | October 28, 2008 6:39 PM | Report abuse

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