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Sloan Will Suit Up in Calgary (Updated)

Coach Bruce Boudreau has shaken things up a bit this morning, particularly among his forward lines. Here's what they're looking like right now:

Ovechkin-Fedorov-Clark
Laich-Backstrom-Semin
Fleischmann-Nylander-Bradley
Brashear-Steckel-Fehr/Gordon

Meantime, Backstrom, who has one point in five games, has been dropped to the second line. Donald Brashear (hand) looks ready while Tom Poti (groin) is not skating. Call-up Tyler Sloan is one of the six defensemen and is skating with Milan Jurcina Jeff Schultz.

Update: Some post-practice nuggets for you:

*Theodore will start in Calgary.

*The pairings are as follows:

Morrisonn-Green
Sloan-Schultz
Erskine-Jurcina

*Sloan said that his father, Fred, a power skating instructor in Calgary, had driven 36 hours to follow his son in Hershey this week. Now, he's making plans to fly home to catch tomorrow's game with Tyler's mom, Gayle, and brother, Trevor.

"I didn't think it was going to be this soon, but I'm ecstatic," Sloan said of the call-up. "I'm going to Calgary, my hometown, you can't ask for any more than that."

Sloan said he was literally on the golf course when Hershey GM Doug Yingst called him May 2006 to ask him if he wanted to come help the Bears during their playoff run. Sloan, who had just been eliminated from the ECHL playoffs, jumped on the next flight to Hershey and played in two playoff games for the Bears, who went on to win the Calder Cup that year.

Sloan ended up earning a full-time job with the Bears in 2006-07 and slowly began moving up the Caps' organizational depth chart, an improbable climb that culminated today.

"I'm a big believer in you call them up and let's play 'em, rather than letting them get more nervous by letting them wait," Boudreau said. "Let's get the indoctrination over with and see what we've got."

"If he could play a Jeff Schultz-type game, where he gets the puck and moves the puck, and not get himself into trouble, we'll be very happy."

As for how he ended up with Hershey, Boudreau added: "We had heard good things about him, and we were in a emergency situation in Hershey. He had been off for 10 days, and we were wondering why someone would give up on a player who is 6 foot 3 and could be your faster skater."

"We thought he was a great project, so we signed him the next year. He had a really stellar year [with the Bears], and this year [Washington] signed him to an NHL deal because he's getting close."

*Brashear will be a game time decision. Poti and Viktor Kozlov (knee) will travel with the Caps and could return at some point.

*Boudreau on the forward shakeup: "I'm trying to jumpstart Nicky a bit with Semin and put Alex with Fedorov. [Alex] looks like he's frustrated. The puck isn't bouncing the way he would like it to bounce."

As for putting Bradley on a scoring line, Boudreau said with a smile, "We're hoping he can snipe a couple." Boudreau then turned serious, adding, "He's a great forechecker and he's a physical player, where I don't think you can say Tom or Michael are. He'll be able to get in the corner and muck it, and it's a reward for Brads playing so hard all the time."

*Mike Green, also a native of Calgary, said he has rented out a suite at Saddledome and is expecting 25 (or more) friends and family. He also said he's hoping to get home for a few hours to visit with his folks.

*Jeff Schultz, yet another Calgary boy, is also jacked up about tomorrow night. It's going to be his first game in his hometown since he played juniors with the Hitmen. Schultz is also expecting 15-20 friends and family members, all of whom will be seated in the same section. He, too, will be getting a home-cooked meal tonight.

"It's going to be nice to play in front of people who haven't seen me play for a while," Schultz said.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  October 20, 2008; 9:20 AM ET
 
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Next: Neuvirth Called Up to Hershey

Comments

If Sloan doesn't pan out on defense, when will Karl be ready to get called up?

Posted by: asnowballschance | October 20, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

first... and i wish nyls was top 6. him and semin are money.

Posted by: capthis! | October 20, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Holy crap! The second and third pairing on defense might be the worst in the league. I think I'd take Tampa's over them.

Posted by: billie.b | October 20, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Guessing the Nylander move is to help spread the wealth around a bit, and maybe Backstrom can hit stride next to a white-hot Semin. As Calgary and Dallas are sieves right now, hopefully 19 and 8 will go on a run.

Posted by: Section 117 | October 20, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I like clark, but we really need kozlov back. Clark looked lost on the first line and really didn't work out too much. I don't know why BB would mess with the fourth line, which has probably been our best line all year

Posted by: stevo | October 20, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

PANIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Jerry Jones style.

Posted by: JT's Swiss Cheese Factory | October 20, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

I'd give Laich a shot on the top line. But that's just me.

Posted by: Murshawursha | October 20, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Tarik, thank for the update.

Any word on Kozlov? Did he practice?

Posted by: Danny | October 20, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Bruce is not scared to shake up the lines, so I dont feel this is set in stone..BUT

Why split up Nylander and Semin?

I also think Gordon has been playing very solid 2-way hockey, and needs to be in the lineup.

Posted by: SA_Town | October 20, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

I think this will be good for Backs to play with Semin. And Ovi will get back on the scoring sheet.

Posted by: Go Skins Go | October 20, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I saw Kozzy love in line at McDonald's this morning buying 4 bacon/egg and cheese biscuits.

Posted by: JT's Swiss Cheese Factory | October 20, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

The east teams have 92 pts in 77 games.

The West has 83 pts in 77 games.

Posted by: Useless Stat? | October 20, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Isn't the Laich-Backs-Semin line the one that worked well towards the end of the playoffs last season? I remember a pretty goal and some great chances. Its balanced out pretty well, too.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | October 20, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I've been wondering if Laich deserved a shot on the top line myself.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | October 20, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

@Useless Stat?

The East has combined for 16 OTLs in those 77 games, while the West has combined for only 5. Head-to-head, the West has won 11 and the East 10, but 5 of East's losses have been OTL. In conclusion, I think the conferences are pretty even so far.

Posted by: kenjab | October 20, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

@kenjab

I hate the OTL. Give me 3 pts for a win in regulation or OT, and 2 for a shootout win, and 1 for a shootout loss.

I will take that system all day.

Posted by: Useless Stat | October 20, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

The league probably wants to avoid this in the standings though

W W(SO) L L(SO) Pts
3 2 2 2 15


The average fan checking to see how their local NHL team was doing, would look at this like it was in a foreign language.

Posted by: Useless Stat | October 20, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I cannot imagine breaking up Nylander and Semin as long as they are producing like this!

Posted by: stepguybrian | October 20, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Just stopped by Chucky Cheese and saw Kozzy and JT eating a large pepperoni and slugging a few beers.

We in trouble guys.

Posted by: JT's Swiss Cheese Factory | October 20, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Presumably Poti will be healthy enough to travel. If he plays, Sloan will be on a commercial flight back to Chocolate town. If not, he'll probably play.

Posted by: old time hockey | October 20, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

http://japersrink.blogspot.com/2008/10/great-moments-in-journalism.html

J.P. with a post featuring Hilariously misguided quotes from a Pittsburgh journalist

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | October 20, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Semin at Backstrom did alright in the playoffs together. Not too worried. I think this is more to jumpstart Ovechkin and Backstrom than anything else.

I think it's a good move.

Semin is on pace for 98 goals... according to ESPN fantasy hockey.

Posted by: 828 | October 20, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

*and not at

Posted by: 828 | October 20, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

@ SA-Town -- I agree, breaking up the Semin-Nylander combo is not a good idea.

I also think that Gordon and Fehr have earned their ice-time more than Clark. Clark still seems to be missing a beat. I think Feds on the top line is a good call to help OV, but put Fehr up there instead of Clark -- for now

Posted by: JIM | October 20, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I also hope that Slaon is just insurance for an ailing Poti, that Sloan is just filling in at practice and that Poti will skate in the games with Juice. I also hope to have seen the last minute EVER for Erksine wearing a Caps jersey

Posted by: JIM | October 20, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

@Sombrero Guy

Would you expect anything else from Pitts? It reminds me of how crazy the Flyers fans went when M.Wise called them a bunch of thugs that promote violence.

Look at what they print in the paper about taking out the MVP of the NHL....

Posted by: SA_Town | October 20, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

if you're going to post jokes, at least make them funny. thanks.

Posted by: Hey JT Factory | October 20, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Awwww... Poor boopla!

I guess that taking their sniper out of the game shouldn't be part of hockey? Ovie's harassment of Malkin took him out of the game and allowed the Caps to shut down their offense.

I do find it appalling that a newspaper would advocate that kind of action. Next thing you'll know, they'll be asking for Obama's head - oh wait, they have...

Posted by: Greg S. | October 20, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I did not get to see the game, but I heard Malkin Boarded Semin? And they are complaining about Ovechkin taking runs at him?

http://fans.nhl.com/members/Steel5586/blogs/22194

Take a look at the first lady's comment: I was very upset that the Pens let Ovechkin head hunt Malkin all night without response. Finally at the end of the game Crosby is the one that confronted Ovie. You can tell it is very personal with Ovechkin and he wants to seriouly injure Malkin.

Posted by: 828 | October 20, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I think this is to spread some grit to each line, as Calgary and Dallas all have a lot of grit(think Avery, Ott, Iginla, Phaneuf, etc....)

Posted by: fashi13 | October 20, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Sloan will be on the entire trip because of the distance between Hershey and the road games. That way if there is an emergency then he is there.

The salary cap is the biggest reason Sloan is up there. He isn't up there because he is the best defenseman in Hershey.

But I think for a few games he can be a solid stay at home d-man who does his job well.

http://hersheybearshockey.blogspot.com/

Posted by: greg | October 20, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

A couple of days ago I was told in no uncertain terms that we didnt have salary cap issues. Today there are all sorts of posts indicating that the cap has dictated the Sloan callup. So I respectfully ask do we or dont we have a cap problem that needs to be addressed?

Posted by: wendel | October 20, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

1) Don't expect to see Alzner any time soon. The Caps are just too close to the salary cap max and the kids salary cap hit is probably triple Sloan's.
2) Considering the 1st line has done nothing in 4 of the 5 games,they have a forward playing big minutes on defense and the #1 goalie hasn't looked great, the Caps record is pretty dam good!
http://newfaux.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Fauxrumors | October 20, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Call up Karl Alzner!!

Posted by: IWA | October 20, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

@828

It is really funny that they think we are cheap shot artists running around trying to head hunt when Brashear wasnt even on the ice for protection.

If Malkin had a problem with it, he should of done something...and he did...which was smack Semin's face into the boards and get himself in the box.

They can go after Ovie all they want, as long as they hit him clean..Most people bounce off of him anyway.

Posted by: SA-Town | October 20, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

@ Jim,

Did you miss Erskine's complete play set up for Semins 2nd Goal?

Posted by: Super | October 20, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I don't post much, but I was really surprised to read this. I know Backs is off to a slow start, but the offense is really producing scoring chances and putting on strong pressure on from every line.

I think it is a really gutsy call for Bruce to switch things up. He must be trying to jumpstart Backs and get Ovie scoring again, but still. The problems are on PK, not on full strength O.

Posted by: Drew | October 20, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

@Wendel,

Yes, you made your position on the cap clear. I think the point is that even if we could call Alzner up within the cap now, if we want to add rentals at the deadline, we might need some space, so saving now can help us later when we sign a better goalie.... (or whatever).

Posted by: old time hockey | October 20, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Nylander with Bradley?

What the hell is going on? We are scoring 4 goals a game, are we this desperate to get Ovechkin going?

Posted by: Mike | October 20, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

@ Super -- I saw his rush up the ice and falling at the end of said rush. I also noticied him falling on his can trying to cover a NJ rush and just about every time the Devils entered the zone they picked his side, if he was on the ice. They also usually entered the zone successfully on him.

Posted by: JIM | October 20, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

@Sombrero re: the JP post,

Mark Madden isn't really a reporter per se. Think of him as a Jay Mariotti for the Steel City.

Posted by: Section 117 | October 20, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

"[Alex] looks like he's frustrated. The puck isn't bouncing the way he would like it to bounce."

Playing on that nice Calgary ice will help releive that a bit I hope.

Posted by: Section 117 | October 20, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I do think that it's premature to start shuffling lines. We are getting good production from everyone but the top line, and that's because teams are keying on OV. OV will break out of whatever is happening. And scoring 3 goals against the New Jersey trap when the caps had an off night is pretty good.

Sloan being called up is definately a salary cap move, which means we are closer to the cap then GMGM lead us to believe. Whatever. As long as teh "Lumberjack" is on the ice, any call up from Hershey couldn't be any worse.

Posted by: Leeguru | October 20, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Hope the Caps can keep their focus and bring 100% effort - lots of homecomings and new pairings going on. Six points in three games is not unrealistic if they bring their A-level road game (meaning no fancy crowd pleasing passing).

Posted by: Steve in Jersey | October 20, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Remember this is just a practice line up. BB could just be looking at a few things. Personally, I don't think we have a problem 5 on 5 and should keep with Feds on D. I'd have:

Ov - Backs - Fehr
Liach - Nyls - Semin
Flash - Gordo - Clarkie
Brash - Stecks - Bradders

Greenie - Mo
Feds - Juice
Erskine - Schultz

Boo,
Pretty sure if you refer to the Queen as "Liz" you aren't allowed in the country. And Greg was right, going the Sir route would help.

Posted by: Sir Dave UK Caps Fan | October 20, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I love all the talk about Pitt since I hate them with a passion, but nothing Ovie did was wrong. He played the game tough and physical. Then Malkin got upset and off his game so he took a cheap shot on Semin (which clearly should've been a 5 min boarding). I'd still like to see him fined for that hit. And who cares what Palin thinks.. she's an idiot when it comes to hockey..

Not sure about anyone else, but the glaring problem to me so far (besides Jose's play) has been our power play. It is god awful. We can't get setup and we're pressing too much. Anyone care to way in on how to fix it?

Posted by: AJ | October 20, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

If Sloan is a Jeff Schultz type player why play with with Schultz? Wouldn't it make more sense to put Sloan with Juice and have Schultz with Erskine?

Posted by: Dave UK Caps Fan | October 20, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Thats "why play Sloan with Schultz...." not "why play with with Schultz"

End of a long day - I'm off home!!

Posted by: Dave UK Caps Fan | October 20, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Viktor Kozlov (groin)?

Tarik is this a typo? Kozy has a knee injury right or has his groin injury from preseason resurfaced? Just curious - read before he is close to coming back - hopefully soon!

Posted by: Caps Caps Caps | October 20, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Mike: This may be more for Backstrom's benefit than Ovechkin's. Here's what I think is happening (insights and thoughts welcome):
Backstrom and Ovi feed off of each other. Teams have discovered that Ovi can be stopped with continuous double coverage, and they're doing that as their first priority.
Pros: Locking off Ovechkin leaves Backstrom nobody to feed off of, and Backstrom's too shy and self-effacing to make shots and set up the play on his own.
Cons: This cuts Semin loose to be the beast that he's currently being, and frees people like Green, Bradley, Gordon, and even defense.
So, the lines that Boudreau is using does the following things:


  • Puts a center on the top line who can handle having Ovi locked off. Clark adds a physical presence to try to clear Ovi some space. Feds can create plays out of nothing practically, and that's what our top line center has to do right now.

  • Pairs Backstrom with someone he can feed off of - Semin. Backstrom doesn't have to feed off Ovi, as the playoffs proved. He just needs a hot goal-scorer. Laich is fine where he is.

  • Puts Nyls the magic playmaker with a third line that could do a little more, IMO. The hope is to get a third legitimate scoring line - and the setting up Bradley to snipe falls in with that.


Looking forward to having Brash back in the lineup. We need him, and I think him being out for a couple of games was a real eye-opener for those of us who thought maybe we could do without him.

Posted by: this space for rent | October 20, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Agreed that the power play has serious issues. Tarik, what is Boudreau doing to address the power play issues? Why can't they get set up?

Posted by: this space for rent | October 20, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

agree wit rent a center

Posted by: vik | October 20, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

i think he said he was goin to use two guess and not shuffle guys in and out. he said he was using to many people and there was no chemistry... somtin like that

Posted by: vik | October 20, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

*welcomes the formatting geekiness of "this space for rent"*

Posted by: mauree | October 20, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Bet the over if Theodore and Kiprusoff are playing... We should be able to score 5 against Kiprusoff... I have him in Fantasy hockey (drafted him high) and he sucks.
I think our record is fine at the moment. It could be worse - look at Philly (2pts in 5 games) or Anaheim (2pts in 6 games).

Rent, I agree with you thoughts. Alex has been double teamed before, so this is nothing new. If teams start doing that, I would play Semin with Alex and see what happens. We are in good shape - Ovechkin will get his points eventually. We are tied with the league lead of Goals per Game: http://www.nhl.com/ice/teamstats.htm?fetchKey=20092ALLAAAAll&sort=avgGoalsPerGame&viewName=summary We just need our goalies to step up. If we can fix that, then we will be looking very good.

Posted by: 828 | October 20, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Mauree, how was it?

Posted by: Leeguru | October 20, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I saw Jeff Schultz play for the Hitmen at the Saddledome back in January 05.

Very foggy out that night, couldn't see the Saddledome til we were about 100 yards away. I was blown away thinking about all the Hockey History at that venue.

They won 1-0 Schultz had a great game.

Let's hope he plays just as well tomorrow night.

Posted by: Rong Capsfan | October 20, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Kozlov is indeed a knee. my bad.

Posted by: Tarik | October 20, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Question: How many holes in JT's Swiss Cheese?

Whoever answers it correctly gets an autographed donut from JT.

SWISS CHEESEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

Posted by: JT's Swiss Cheese Factory | October 20, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

@Swiss cheese,

Are we talking baby swiss or regular swiss?

Posted by: Bobo | October 20, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, Thanks for the fabulous report. I hope the Caps win in Calgary, but I especially want Green, Schultz, and Sloan to shine.

Posted by: Chris | October 20, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

@Tarik - what ARE the Caps doing to try and alleviate their problems on the Power Play? That seems to be where 90% of the issues are coming from... If we'd been able to score on one more Power Play against New Jersey, we would have won that game.

I like the fact that Boudreau has been shaking up the lines frequently. Everybody needs to be able to play with everybody else, or if we get a bad injury, people will be floundering out there and lost, and it will take precious game time to recover. Shaking up the lines is a good strategy, as is splitting Ovechkin and Bäckström, for the reasons folks have stated above.

Posted by: i rock the red | October 20, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I will say that I am a little worried about pairing Sloan with Schultz. Schultz is too nice a guy to play defense effectively against a physical team. I haven't seen him make any big hits at all, and we need to knock these guys off their feet more.

We all know that Erskine (for the most part - though he did wake up during the last game) is not all that and a bag of chips. The delay of game penalty he took kindof overshadows the good things he did manage to pull off, in my book, though he did manage a primary assist against New Jersey as well... I'm willing to give him a chance to prove himself, but if he keeps up with the stupid penalties........ well, we all know what the popular opinion of what to do with him is. :-p

Like others, I would rather see Fedorov on defense as well, but that will depend on Brashear's hand, I expect, come game time. As someone said, this is a lineup for practice, not for the real game yet, so all of this is rank speculation. We'll see the real lineup tomorrow. :)

Posted by: i rock the red | October 20, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Have to admit, I'm not much of a fan of Clark on the first line.

Posted by: Steve R | October 20, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Just got back from lunch - did ya hear George has decided to beef up the Power Play by inserting Slap Shot on the second team power play unit. Damn George you are good.

BTW - Man the defensive lineup is looking Halloweenish. Scary -- BOO! (no pun intended Boo.)

Wow 64 posts -- must be a slow Monday in the trenches.

Can't wait for THE ZOO tomorrow night. Tickles me pink.

Posted by: JT's Swiss Cheese Factory | October 20, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

828: I think we do have some issues on the power play. NJ had a veritable parade into the box, and yet we couldn't capitalize. If our power play had been up to snuff, I think we would have toasted NJ on penalties alone.

mauree: Thanks. For the rest of you, the bulleted list code looks like this:
<ul>
<li> text #1 </li>
<li> text #2 </li>
</ul>

Posted by: this space for rent | October 20, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

JT's Swiss Cheese Factory????

What are you saying? Cheese with extra e's on the end - halloweenish - the zoo??? Are you from the dungeen?

Posted by: 828 | October 20, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Ah yes, the "Dungeen of Doom", seldom seen but often feared.

Posted by: Steve R | October 20, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Rent - agreed, never said we didnt have issues on the PP... I just think our goalies should be able to allow fewer goals. If the caps score 4 goals, we should win every game.

Posted by: 828 | October 20, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,

I'd love to hear why they called up Sloan vs. Lepisto. I thought Lepisto would be a 1st call up if not Alzner?

Posted by: Stormblue | October 20, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

@Lee
I had a blast (see Tarik's blog of the Devil's game)

Clark is kind of invisible right now, I see him more often back-checking on defense than on offense.

Look out for Calgary, they are going to want to win bad after the two losses and a 1-3-1 record. Need to light up Kiprusoff - time to unleash the fury :D

Posted by: mauree | October 20, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

@828: True dat. I'm a bit less worried about the goalies than the power play, simply because the goalies both show signs of improvement - BJ got us to that shootout Saturday night, make no mistake. He did some good stuff out there. The goalies appear to be being addressed, but the power play needs that same TLC.

Posted by: this space for rent | October 20, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

@ i rock the red - I completly agree about the Power Play! That was one of the biggest that annoyed me last year.

I personally wish we could move OV off the point on occasion as he causes much more havoc elsewhere.

Chris Bourque basically runs the power play in Hershey (he's not ready here yet, but i like his play) He makes that powerplay work.

Posted by: Grape8 | October 20, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Hey guys & girls, off topic, but I just wanted to shamelessly plug Hershey for a minute. If you have the opportunity I'd definately recommend it. The arena is great, same goes for the surrounding area, and fans. For the cost of one 400 level center section seat me and my girlfriend were able to get two seats 1 row up from the glass, got a chance to heckle some baby pens, which wasn't too hard. So there I'm done.

Posted by: AP | October 20, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

The line shake ups will work or they won't. There is NO REASON to second guess them before they've seen the ice.

Posted by: Whiter Mage | October 20, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I'm hoping that Backstrom and Ovechkin explode tomorrow night, because otherwise, they may just be stuck at the moment -- who knows why?

Posted by: Drinking Partner | October 20, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

@AP
Glad you and your girlfriend had fun. Too bad you didn't get to see a win, but I think the guys were tired...third game in three nights. Hope you make the trip north again sometime.

Posted by: tess | October 20, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone scared that Schultz wil be the "veteran" on his D line now? I hope Sloan outplays him so people can see Schultz for the 6'6" D-man that he really is. Bouncing of smaller players like Brian Gionta and being out of place cause goals to be scored on us

Posted by: Anonymous | October 20, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I dont think Bruce has said one good thing about Nyls all year. In fact, most things he's said (albeit they were true) have been pretty negative.

And, when he plays well, he gets demoted.

Posted by: Joe | October 20, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Me me spot on - remember me. Kneelynder will get traded. Absoultely he will. Kozzy will continue to underperform and pussyfoot around the boards and in front of the neet and JT's Swiss Cheese Factory will blow a hole wide open something you haven't seen since the Great Depression.

George panicked, Jerry Jones panicked, Bernanke panicked, The ZOO will panic this week.

Me me spot on

Posted by: JT's Swiss Cheese Factory | October 20, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

@828, I rock, etc.

I'm less worried about the PP than our PK. Its approaching the truly horrid, although has shown some signs of life.

Posted by: old time hockey | October 20, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Im worried about Ovie hurting Malkins feelings.

Posted by: S. Crosby | October 20, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Im worried about Malkin hurting Semins feelings.

Posted by: Ovie | October 20, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

@Wendel - We don't have a salary cap "problem" in the sense that we're in danger of going over the limit. We do have a salary cap "problem" in the sense that we have to consider the NHL salaries of any player we bring up. This is one reason why we're only rostering 22 players instead of 23.

We are just trying to keep the salary cap costs at a minimum so we have some room to maneuver at the trade deadline. Sloan makes the league minimum at the NHL level so he is the cheapest option as a replacement for a few games.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | October 20, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I am not sure that Nylander is getting demonted, exactly. I think that BB is trying to get Alex and Nick going. Probably thinks Alex would work better with Feds at this point and Nick has obviously worked well with Semin. Do not think Nick would work with the third line. I love Matt Bradley, but Matt Bradley as a sniper? I hope he does score a few, but prefer him on that fourth line where he shines.

Hope Kozlov gets better soon. Clark is just not working on the first line right now.

I agree about Alex on the point on PP. Why is he always there? If it were working, maybe okay. But since it is struggling, I hope BB also will mix that up a bit.

Erskine/Jurcina scares me. Get ready on the PK boys.

Posted by: Kim | October 20, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm less worried about the PP than our PK. Its approaching the truly horrid, although has shown some signs of life.

Posted by: old time hockey | October 20, 2008 2:47 PM
---------------------------

We wouldn't have to worry so much about the PK if we would just learn to STAY OUT OF THE BOX.

Posted by: tess | October 20, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I'd rather see Fehr on the 3rd and Bradley on the 4th but that's just me. Fehr has a nasty shot and has played well in limited time.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | October 20, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,
Still reading that Nyls might be moved, in this specific case to Calgary. Only reason I bother posting this rumour is the Sloan call-up. Personally, I do not want Nyls moved, what he's doing for Semin is tremendous. Having said that, I just find the timing curious and was looking for your input.

Thanks,

Mike

Posted by: Anonymous | October 20, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

This early in the season, the line change experiments don't bug me. Especially since there are a number of guys that look to be slow getting out of the box this season. Maybe some chemistry can be found or rekindled.

That said, the Caps powerplay is ATROCIOUS!! BB has simply got to diagnose the problem and get it fixed ASAP!! The NJ game should have been a W. Had the powerplay preformed averagely, Brent Johnson and the Caps would have another W and 2 points in their books. This is the biggest problem I see for the Caps right now (Jose and spotty D aside). OV will come around.

Posted by: doughless | October 20, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

If your sources are from the Toronto Sun, or any of the Sun papers for that matter, ignore the rumors. They're not worth the paper or the electrons.

Nylander isn't going anywhere.

Posted by: Greg S. | October 20, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

@ Mike

If that rumor is from hockebuzz.com dont believe it. That guy just makes up stuff to get people to visit his site. Nyles has a no movement clause, I doubt hed wave it to go to a team that isnt going to contend out west.

Posted by: Pat | October 20, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Tess, and the boys really need to get more disciplined and learn to take fewer penalties.

Posted by: AP | October 20, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

If you think Nyls is trade bait right now, you aren't a parent and you don't know many. He's got six kids, some of whom are in school. He doesn't want to move his kids all over God's green earth, and that's why that NTC is in his contract to begin with. He doesn't want to move his wife and kids all over everywhere at the drop of a hat, and I don't blame him one bit. That NTC is there in his contract for a damned good reason, and I would not put any money on him being traded that I could not afford to lose.

Give it up, folks. Nyls isn't going anywhere.

Posted by: this space for rent | October 20, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

doughless: 100% agreed. If we had been able to make hay out of all the power plays NJ gave us, we'd've crushed 'em, Brodeur or not. They spent way too much time in the box that game (and you think we were bad). They should have lost for that reason alone.

Posted by: this space for rent | October 20, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Also, isn't Sloan a defenseman? If you're trading Nyls while he's in Calgary, wouldn't you call up a forward?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 20, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

More nonsense from TSN -- the Caps are ranked 15th. Dropping from their preseason 7th. Geuss which two teams they beat 4-2 are ahead of them? If you guessed Pissburgh and Chicago (who fired their coach for incompetence and their big offseason goalie who used to play umm somewhere we all know well is playing horribly), would be right. I for one am really sick of the Canadian lovefest for SidBaby and Toews/Kane.

Posted by: JIM | October 20, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

@JIM

I think this is the year of change. You can tell already WASH has more respect than last year. And I think PIT is overall weaker, and I bet it will show (I think it's already showing). Be patient, karma will smile at us.

Posted by: mauree | October 20, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Backstrom is chubby. Discuss.

Posted by: housefest | October 20, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I think I prefer us at 15th, we seem to do better as the underdogs. Just my opinion though.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | October 20, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

tsn can rank us wherever they want, if we continue the year winning 60% of our games, losing 20%, and OTL 20% then we would finish the year with 114 points (just a hunch but that may win our division)

Posted by: stevo | October 20, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

1) I think its a silly idea to separate Nylander and Semin when they account for close to half of the entire team's offensive production thus far. Obviously something is working, and if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
2) Not to beat a dead horse, but Nylander has a No Movement Clause. He's not going anywhere, end of discussion.
3) After the calm, collected, reliable game that Brent Johnson played Saturday, I see one more gaffe in JT's future before Johnny takes over. It's JT's job to lose, but Johnson sure is making his case.

Posted by: FOHS Marc | October 20, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

actually TSN has us ranked 8th

Posted by: stevo | October 20, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Jar Jar Binks really needs to find a job. If you're gonna post something, make it witty at least. Chief was at least funny 15% of the time; he's been too busy in Ohio trying to work while hiding his cute little bear tattoo on his forearm to post on here regularly. He's never played hockey before, much like you. So of course we wouldn't expect either of you to be knowledgeable. So JT's Swiss Cheese, Truth be Told, Anonymous, and whatever other names you've posted under... we know it's you. Grow up.

Posted by: MNMNT | October 20, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

TSN's rankings has us at 15th.
http://www.tsn.ca/fantasy_news/feature/?ID=548
But what confuses me is the Lightning. They're ranked ahead of the Leafs, Flames, and Stars, all of whom have better records. They're also ahead of the Flyers, but that's not an issue. Am I missing something obvious or is TSN getting their rankings from HockeyBuzz?

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | October 20, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Malkin's quote " He keeps hitting me I do not know why"

Uh.....um because you wear a Pens jersey!

Posted by: Note to MALKIN | October 20, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

@jmu_capsgirl -- Thanks for posting the link

The 8th ranking is NYR. Given the Rangers start, they should be ranked higher. Also ranked above the Caps: Boston and Ottawa. They both have worse records. Silly Canadians -- they're just gonna have to cry when the Caps win the SE and race towards the cup.

Posted by: JIM | October 20, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Hi Tariq, thanks for the update! Great to see Fedorov with Ovechkin, Laich should be on that line as well. Keep us posted my friend!

Posted by: Adam Masterson | October 20, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

I think the word for those TSN rankings is wishful thinking XD

Posted by: this space for rent | October 20, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Hello again Tariq.

It seems that on the discussion boards, Sergei Fedorov is an early season favorite to win the Lady Byng trophy for "sportsmanship while playing at a high level". He still has 0 PIMs and is going to rack up some points this year. Any chance you could ask Sergei his feelings on winning another award, and whether or not he is playing smarter this year, therefore taking less penalties? Best regards,

Adam Masterson

Posted by: Adam Masterson | October 20, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

If you want to make an omelet, you've got to break a couple of eggs. I don't think that Nylander is the reason why Semin's on fire, entirely; the two do have good chemistry together, but Semin/Backstrom did just fine in the playoffs. If you look at the last couple of goals, it is not always Nylander htat sets Semin up. Semin is just a badass that way. ^^ Sure, you've got one good pairing, but you should have all three lines on the scoreboard with that kind of depth. You don't, so it's working only partially, and it's time to make the top line work.

I'm taking a wait and see on D.

Posted by: this space for rent | October 20, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

I hate to see Nyls continue to be treated like trash. 6 pts in 5 games, and #3 in scoring behin Semin and Green. Put him out of his misery and trade him if you going to play him on the 3rd line with 2 no namers. He use to play with Jagr for heaven's sake!

Posted by: Anonymous | October 21, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

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