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New Lines For Caps

After last night's 5-3 loss to Florida, the Caps' second in a row, Coach Bruce Boudreau has rearranged his injury-depleted lineup. It's probably too soon to read much into the new combos since Alex Ovechkin isn't practicing, but they're worth getting on the record.

Here's how they are lined up:

Laich-Fedorov-Kozlov
(If Fedorov isn't ready to return, is Laich the new top center?)
Fleischmann-Backstrom-Fehr
(Young Nicklas has been moved)
Steckel-Nylander-Bradley
(Nylander down a line)
Brashear-Gordon-Mink
(Same as last night)

The injury situation doesn't appear to be getting a whole lot better. Fedorov (sprained ankle) is skating hard, but we won't know until later if that means he's coming back. Alexander Semin (upper back strain), Mike Green (bruised shoulder), Tom Poti (groin) and John Erskine (concussion) are not skating. (Semin and Poti skated lightly before practice.) So I'm assuming that means they won't be available tomorrow against the Islanders.

I'll have more after practice.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 3, 2008; 11:12 AM ET
 
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Comments

Dear Santa,

All I want for Xmas is a healthy Caps roster.

ThisGuy

Posted by: ThisGuy | December 3, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

What is gonig on with ovechkin? Will he play tomorrow?

Posted by: DCSPORTS | December 3, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

It's like Groundhog day.

It's just the same report, over and over and over again.

Posted by: SA-Town | December 3, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Why is Graham Mink still in the lineup? I applaud Boudreau's loyalty to his ex-players but Mink has not justified his spot in the lineup. Laing is a much better choice for a 4th line energy player.

And when is Nyl getting the axe? Hopefully soon. He hasn't been godawful this year but if some team wants to give us something of value I say good riddance!

Posted by: cstanton1 | December 3, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

AP is reporting the Peter Laviolette has been fired from the Carolina Hurricanes.

Posted by: puckman | December 3, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Tell Fedorov not to skate too hard until his ankle is better. My specialty is by no means in the field of sports medicine, but I would assume that skating hard on an injured ankle only slows recovery.

Posted by: DrAdamson | December 3, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Dude! Chill!

Laing is not better than Mink. You need a reality check. And do you really think that Nyls is going to be traded while we have all of these injuries? That's stupid! We already have a shortage of offensive players and you want to trade one? The idea of trading Nyls is to get d help and cap relief. If we trade him for more offense, which we would have to do in order to replace him at this point, we defeat the purpose of the trade.

Patience cstanton1

Posted by: waitingsince75 | December 3, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

cstanton

QLaing is also an ex-boudreau player. It's not about loyalty. We call up Laing and he's gone to waivers. Period. We won't see him in a caps uni until next season, if at all, ever again.

I'm getting tired of the line shuffling but like Tarik said, too early to read into it.

This just in. Windjammer says Ovechkin is out with slight tears in his shoulder that will require surgery.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 3, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

from last post...

I chuckled too. But is it all Avery's fault? The whole world knows he has no filter between his thoughts and his mouth. So the media says, "Hmmm. Need a good quote and Dallas is in town. Let's talk to...Avery. He's always good for one."

And he produced.

A hearty "here, here" to JSchon on his 10:42 posting. This team is constructed for offense and some defense. We are not looking for a Lundquist between the pipes. We're putting the money on the front lines.

Games like last night will happen when you use a lot of green kids and expect them to play like seasoned pros.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 3, 2008 11:47 AM

Posted by: Greg S. | December 3, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

FFSEnough: I am assuming you are busting on windjammer for putting med reports out as if he/she has inside information. If OV is really hurt I will curl up with a blanket and eat bon-bons tonight.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 3, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Sources tell TSN the Carolina Hurricanes have fired head coach Peter Laviolette and in a unique about face, have replaced him with former Hurricanes head coach Paul Maurice.

Posted by: rarcr | December 3, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

They just played the press confrence from carolina coach change on XM.

Posted by: cocorules | December 3, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I think Avery can say what he wants. The issue is a Dallas Stars thing, not an NHL thing.

Dallas pays his paycheck, and they should be responsible for the image they want to portrait. If Dallas did nothing, then the NHL can meet with Dallas owners and discuss conduct with the media. My guess is Dallas does not need the NHL to be involved, as they are upset with the distraction.

Jusy my 2 cents.

Posted by: SA-Town | December 3, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Also Alzner will be on NHL live at 1:30 today.

Posted by: cocorules | December 3, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

@ Avery

Girlfriends be crazy dog...

Posted by: JSchon | December 3, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

fanohock
of course I'm making fun of Windjammer...

however. after the way this season's going...would any of us be surprised?

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 3, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

RE: Laviolette firing...

Did he refer to Car's GM's wife as his sloppy seconds?

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 3, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Hey Tarik.... Very random here... but, isn't it a little odd that former Caps members are getting hurt too?

Pettenger(Right knee)
Sutherby (Groin)

Posted by: chrismiss628 | December 3, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

@FFSEnough: Why were you frustrated and weeping last night?

Update: Same as below. The more time goes by the more dire it gets.

what are we going to do the rest of the season without a healthy Greeny,scratched Semin, and Feds bum ankle? And a overpriced goalie to boot? and an overpriced Russian winger (kozlov) and a got n heart Nylander (he's knows he is on his way out so why give it all -- all attitude)?

Team is in trouble boys and girls.

Posted by: windjammersouth | December 3, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I don't care - backlash all you want, but Jose sucks and we are in big-big trouble without a legit #1 NHL goalie! It's hard enough to win 6-5; 5-4 games in the regular season, and impossible to win in the playoffs. I know the defense sucks, but seriously, does anyone think we can do anything substantial with these two goalies?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | December 3, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

SA-Town, I agree with you, but I think the NHL had to step in because 1-he's Sean Avery and how many more times is he going to try to push the envelope, 2-he did it on camera (seemed pretty premeditated) and 3-he's taking a cue from the NFL for throwing out suspensions quickly (shoot first ask questions later)

Posted by: superpaqman | December 3, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

tylewimblewon...I don't think anyone here will argue that our goalie situation leaves a lot to be desired but who do you think we can go after with our cap problems??

Also, what are the odds Avery will be in a Philly uniform soon?? He seems to fit their mold.....no class little punk who takes cheap shots whenever possible!!

Posted by: PhilR | December 3, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I don't know what the solution is - the salary cap is a big problem. Trade away Nylander and Clark - open up some room. Get rid of Theo- trade for a goalie? Bring one of the kids up from Hershey?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | December 3, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

We are deep at center. If Philly added Avery then they would be deep at "no class little punk who takes cheap shots whenever possible". Seems like a perfect fit there.

Posted by: _Mark | December 3, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

If you have a troublesome employee that could have access to the media on a regular basis, you SIT ON HIM. That's what Detroit did. Hard to do in NY. Should be easy in Dallas, but they gave him free reign. It's unfortunate for the other players as this has apparenlty been the last of a long line of distractions surrounding Avery.

Yes, Avery should shut his yap or watch what he says. And, yes, the Dallas organization should have done a lot more to control his environment. They apparently have done nothing.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 3, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Tell Avery to go play in the NBA or NFL if that's the kind of stuff he wants to do. Our sport doesn't need it and never will. It's exciting on the ice, not off the ice -and on the ice is where it matters and will draw young fans. The guy should go away - why are some people so interested in a guy who has never scored more than 39 points in the NHL?

Posted by: Roose | December 3, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Check the shift charts from last night. OV played like 25 minutes which is really insane bordering on idiotic by BB. That's got to be why he isn't practicing.

Yes, he's great and its better when he's on the ice, but that amount of time is just crazy for a forward, espcially for someone who closer to a power forward than pure sniper (like Semin).

Posted by: oldtimehockey | December 3, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Check that - a whopping 48 points is his max...

Posted by: Roose | December 3, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Elisha Cuthbert is hot.. I'd take those "sloppy seconds". And Avery's an idiot. Sounds like he's regretting letting her go.

As for the Caps, I'd like to see Osala come up instead of Mink. With all of the high scoring people out we need more scorers in the lineup. And I'm sure Ovy's just taking a day off.

Posted by: ovys8 | December 3, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

@DrAdamson - I would tend to agree. I assume the Dr. part is M.D.? I have plenty of experience with sprained ankles, and none in the actual medical field, but my experience supports that aging slows recovery as well, and Fedorov is no spring chicken any more. Do you believe that could have to do with why the sprain is taking such a "long time" - and for the record, it's been less than a month - to heal?

@cstanton1 - what could another team give us for Nylander that would A) be under our salary cap, and B) better than what we have? Nylander is NOT GOING ANYWHERE. 1) He has a no-movement clause, and 2) nobody has even approached him yet about being traded, so he plays for Washington, and that is good enough for me.

Similarly, Laing is not coming up without clearing waivers, and chances are being plucked away by another team greedy for a good, solid defenseman, so I don't think we'll be seeing him any time soon. Are we regretting the decision to send him down? Probably. Can we do anything about it now? No. And that sucks.

Posted by: irockthered | December 3, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

@lylewimbledon - bringing up one of the boys from Hershey and sticking him in goal before he is ready to come up would be disaster. Utter disaster. Machesney is good; I've watched him several times this year, but I don't think he's better than what we have yet. He will be in a couple of years.

Posted by: irockthered | December 3, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Observation from last night. In the 3rd, before the goal surge.. There was a point where our top line was out there for a while, and Backs/Koz went off and Ovie stayed on. On the break-out (a decent one, we were 3 on 3) to come up the ice, Ovie got called off in favor of fresh legs, and he didn't look happy about it at all.

Makes me wonder what nick name BB uses when he means business with 8. Kinda like a parent using a kid's full name when they're mad.

25 min is a metric ton of ice time, for a forward. Though, it could be argued that he took the first 2 periods off last night.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 3, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Could it be any worse than what we have now? I'm not sure.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | December 3, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I agree that OV was on the ice too much last night, and he did look very frustrated, but there is no way he can be accused of not working hard last night. He was the only one throwing his body around last night. I know that is part of his game, but that is the ONLY thing Brash and Brads are here to do and Brash had one hit in the first and Brads had zero. OV did have an off night, but he still rattled some bones. I suspect BB gave him the morning off because he WAS the only one that played with any heart. The only thing that worries me is OV never misses a chance to skate. He was the only Vet that came out to skate with the rookies this summer because he said he was tired of summer and ready to get started. I hope he's just tired and frustrated and not injured.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 3, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

@FFSEnough re: Makes me wonder what nick name BB uses when he means business with 8. Kinda like a parent using a kid's full name when they're mad.

Alexander Mikhaylovich Ovechkin, you get over here RIGHT now!

Posted by: irockthered | December 3, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

tylewimbledon---those kids down in Hershey are not ready for the NHL yet....they need a couple years between the pipes down there...that is why Theo was signed to begin with....bring one of them up now and they will get shell shocked....as far as trading Clark....there is no market for him right now as he has not proven he is back from the groin injury last year.....and who in the world would trade to get Theo and his contract at this point??? We are stuck with what we have.....just have to hope Johnny can start showing those flashes of brilliance he had before hurting his hip!!!

Posted by: PhilR | December 3, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

fanohock

I'd argue the entire team was invisible for the first 40 min of play last night. Even our 8. He wasn't hitting until the 3rd.

I also find it interesting that the team, while not playing inspired, didn't look horrible in the 1st period. It wasn't until that damn own-goal that the team really seemed to deflate and stop trying. The panthers then just pounced on us and didn't let go.

One thing I did notice was many bad clearing attempts last night from Sloan, ShaMo and Alzner, and some good coverage by Juice (of all people) on things that could have been major mistakes by Alzner. Lepisto looked pretty bad. Skated well, but the guy has yet to handle the puck on the blueline.

If anyone can get BB's ear behind the net on Thurs. If Poti or Green are not yet back (which it sounds like they won't be) can we just TRY Juice at the point on PP? The man's got a damn howitzer and he can't be any worse than Lepisto at keeping the puck in the zone.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 3, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

correction above. *if anyone can get BB's ear behind the bench...

not net.

duh.

Though, if someone can fix the damn red-light behind the net that'd be cool, too.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 3, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Didn't see the game last night but one poor game doesn't make us a bad team, the injuries were bound to catch up at some point. Our very inexperienced (NHL level) D could have something to do with it (why does Steckel even attempt a pass through the crease on the PK) Feds has more experience on D at this level than most of them. However the bright side is we get to see what we really have in the organisation as far as true NHL talent and when needed they can be called up. personally I am a fan of Nyls and don't think we should trade him, where would we be if we had pulled the trigger in early november like so many wanted? Usin laich at centre on our #1 line? Time to take Theo out for a few games and ride Johnson again now his groins better, maybe he can go on a streak. BTW have you all voted for the ASG? Crosby and Malkin are gaining ground lets make sure all our boys are there.

Posted by: Kiltmon | December 3, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Kiltmon

Until the NHL does something about the MTL Ballot stuffing, I won't vote, nor watch anything but the skills and young stars.

Reading some postgame stuff, Alzner said he called for a crossing pass. It was steckel who chose to pass infront of the crease BUT who's fault is it?

Sure the pass should have gone behind the net, but we were on PK, and Stecks had his back to the ice. A fellow player calling for a crossing pass could easily be misinterpreted when you have a bunch of guys who are not used to playing together.

Our whole section last night was weeping for Feds return. I believe he's the one we miss most, if only for his leadership. At the very least, we should stick him in a suit behind the bench and let him smack some kids on the back of the head...grab their ear... You know, grandpa type stuff.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 3, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

@Kiltmon - I would agree with you, except it isn't just one game; it's a pattern. Yes, by all accounts - and I missed the game, so I can't speak to it directly - last night was positively atrocious. Agreed. But what I'm seeing is that the team seems to think that playing "easy" teams (Atlanta, Ottawa, Florida...), we can back off from our system and just play junior level hockey... and it bites us in the butt every time.

Hopefully THIS game will be the last of its kind that we see this season.

Posted by: irockthered | December 3, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

* Sergei Fedorov practiced today, but came off early. He said he didn't want to comment on his status until he talked to the training staff. Bruce Boudreau said he appears to be the closest to returning, but he is questionable for tomorrow against the Islanders.

* Mike Green did not skate, but he was out on the benches talking to guys toward the end of practice, and then he was stickhandling with some masking tape in the dressing room afterwards. Translation: He is itching to get back. He said the plan is to skate tomorrow and Friday and play Saturday in Toronto, but that is still uncertain at best.

* No real concrete updates on the other three guys (Poti, Semin and Erskine) -- still a lot of "don't know yet" and "day-to-day" with those guys.

Posted by: SA-Town | December 3, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

lyle,
trade nyls and clark. well, it take two to tango, yes? who's going to take clark at $2.5M/year? sounds like they have been trying to trade nyls but other teams are cap constrained too. it may happen, but you can't just say it and make it so.

correct me if i'm wrong, but did two of the 4 non-empty net goals get deflected in? so that's 2 goals on theo right? not saying he's been playing great, but sounds like a couple from last night weren't on him. of course, since there are no highlights of fla goals, i don't know for sure...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 3, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I keep hearing how Jurcina has this cannon. He has played about 196 games in the NHL and has 11 goals. He doesn't shoot when he gets a chance. He usually just does a hard-around the boards. He probably doesn't trust his speed in the event he gets a shot blocked. Which is most likely the reason he's not on the PP. Jucina is so expendable, even now, it's not even funny. Neither he nor Morrisson stick out as Vets when they are surrounded by call-ups. Helmer plays a nice, quiet, solid game. He is the eldest of all D-men, but if are going to carry any extra D-men even when healthy I would like to see Helmer stay with the club. His leadership is probably missed in Hershey though.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 3, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I wish you all would quit making Fedorov sound so old. For pete's sake, he's 38! I'm 51! Do I feel old? Hell no! Of course, I'm not competing in the world's toughest league. I did play volleyball on a broken leg a few years back (it was only the fibula). I didn't play v-ball this past weekend, but did manage a couple of hours of beach football (touch). 38 is a youngster! Quit calling him grandpa! :)

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 3, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me or did the ref last night sound like Marvin the Martian?

Posted by: Steve_R | December 3, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

dcsportsfan

Only goal I'd say was on him was CAR's 4th. Their 1st goal was akin to Kozy's late in the game. From almost the exact same spot on the ice. All others were tipped in/bs/en/owngoal bs.

fanohock

Juice doesn't shoot because he doesn't get the chance to but he seems to be getting a little more comfortable with the injuries. He fired 4-5 attempts last night, not sure if any hit the net, but he sent 2 panthers hobbling to the bench. He shouldn't be worried about having to recover on a blocked shot on the pk. Guys blocking his shots don't get up that fast.

Am I advocating using Juice over 3/52/91 on the blueline on PP? Nope. I'm just calling for something OTHER than 42 right now. Lepisto couldn't hold the puck in the zone last night to save his life, very similar to the game in CLB a this weekend. My other complaint about Lepisto last night was his coverage on crossing plays. 3-4 times he would lock to one player and follow him wherever he went, ignoring the side of the ice he was supposed to be on, coming to ShaMo's side of the ice. Those didn't burn us, thanks to some nifty backchecking from 10/19/15, but they were very tough to watch.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 3, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

@FFS_Enough
I thought Alzner called "over" which was a behind the net call not through the crease, seems Steckel is at fault on this one IMO. On the ASG, I live in Montreal and yes there's been some stuffing but do you really think the NHL and bettman will do anything about it? Sure don't vote it's everybodys choice but I would rather see a Semin toedrag or Greeners new hairstyle than a bunch of Pens or Habs. I agree that Feds coming back is the key, he will allow us to be that little bit smarter with the puck, I don't think Alzner gets beaten one on one like he was and steckel makes that play with feds on the ice.
@ IRTR
I don't see any pattern other than we have more injuries than any other team in the league right now. Sure we should beat the "weaker" team but only when we have a NHL ready lineup.

Posted by: Kiltmon | December 3, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

As for the goaltending, it's not a matter of if this goal was a deflection or if that one took a bad bounce. It's that Jose Three-or-more isn't consistent enough to lead a team to the Stanley Cup. And if we think our team is headed in that direction, it's a shame to impede their progress with a goalie who's good one period and awful the next, or good one game and mediocre or worse for the next three.

Look at the guy's stats... apart from a good stretch last year, his gaa is over the past few seasons is over 3.0 and his save percentage in under .890.

There is a reason he was the only goalie left when we lost Huet. There is a reason he has that nickname.

No, you don't need a Vezina winner or finalist to win the Cup. But you need consistency. And you certainly need more than we have.

Posted by: sinbin | December 3, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Could it be any worse than what we have now? I'm not sure.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | December 3, 2008 12:28 PM

Oh, heck yes and by a mile! Look at Tampa.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 3, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

@Greg

Ha - yes - you are absolutely right. Poor Kolzig.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | December 3, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

@waitingsince75 yoah u chill dude
how is mink a better choice as a 4th line defensive and pk guy than Laing. Putting a 1st line scorer in to a 4th line role doesnt work since he is not going to be responsible defensively block shots etc. He is a goal scorer not a goal stopper.
This team sucks defensively and doesnt need more offense first guys.We need some forwards who will play defensively and help us to stop giving up so many goals and having brutal efforts like last night.
As for losing Laing to waivers so what? he is a ufa at end of season so will be gone anyway so why not make use of his skills that we are dearly missing

Posted by: wendel2 | December 3, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

sinbin

What would you rather have right now:
8-5, 3.08GAA, .889 SV
or
3-5, 2.97GAA, .897 SV

?

Cause that's all that was available this offseason.

Neither of us are going to agree with eachother here.. Are there better goalies in the NHL? yes. Could we have gotten one in the offseason. no. Can we have one now? not without giving up way too much to get them.

If you want to beat on a goalie, you can't ignore how the goals are scored. If you want to just look at stats, go right ahead, but then you get stuck into the rut of 1-0 loss is somehow better than a 5-0 loss because the goalie has a better GAA. You can't win if you can't score. It doesn't matter what sport you play. This team, right now, is not scoring.

Keeping on the same track, would you rather have:
Osgood: 3.05, .881
Krispypuff: 3.01, .895
Mike Smith: 2.41, .929

Again, it's a team game. Ignore the team they play for, looking just at GAA/SV, would you believe Osgood is 10-1? Krispypuff is 14-9? Mike Smith is 4-5?

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 3, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

WOW!!! I thought the Caps were slightly overwhelmed with the injuries, but after reading this blog it looks like the ones in DISARRAY are Caps fans.

Posted by: doughless | December 3, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

@ FFSEnough

I actually agree with a lot of what you said... he was the only goalie available, and it is a team game. And stats don't tell the whole story (over the course of 4 seasons, however, they come a little closer).

But that doesn't change the fact that we're still not going to come close to winning a Stanley Cup with the guy, does it?

Also, and I don't pretend to have an answer to this question, nor am I saying that there is some great goalie waiting to be traded (even if the cap wasn't an issue): but in terms of trading something away to upgrade, what is too much?

Ovie and Green? Of course, too much. Way too much. Backstrom? Maybe Semin, although why not dangle him?

But other than that?

What do you think -- you can trade Steckel for Luongo or Fehr for Lundqvist?

Maybe it's not that we'd be giving away too much but that we don't have enough to give (and the cap space if we did).

Posted by: sinbin | December 3, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

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