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Posted at 11:20 AM ET, 03/ 9/2011

Nicklas Backstrom to miss game against Oilers with thumb injury

By Katie Carrera

Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom will miss tonight's game against the Edmonton Oilers because of nagging problems with his fractured left thumb, an injury that was suffered Feb. 21 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Coach Bruce Boudreau said it will be a short-term absence, one to two games, and that Backstrom is wearing a hard cast to protect the thumb by limiting movement and the possibility of additional injury. Boudreau added that the cast, which is made of fiberglass, can be taken off at any time and that Backstrom did not suffer an additional injury over the weekend.

"We just want to protect his thumb," Boudreau said. "We like him playing every game, but to us, making sure that he's ready and healthy is the most important thing. We didn't want a nagging little injury to keep him out and keep re-injuring it and that. He'll probably be out for a game or two."

This will cause Backstrom to miss a game for the first time in his career, ending a streak of 341 consecutive contests that the Capitals' No. 1 center has played in between the regular season and playoffs.

More to come.

By Katie Carrera  | March 9, 2011; 11:20 AM ET
Categories:  Nicklas Backstrom  
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Next: Marcus Johansson to center top line with Nicklas Backstrom out

Comments

Awww... thought he would beat Cal Ripken! Get better Backs! Let it heal.

Posted by: capscoach | March 9, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

SMART MOVE!

I say let him sit out and see how it is before the Chicago game.

Posted by: SA-Town | March 9, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Tom: He did go on to say that his ideal third scoring line would also be able to serve as the shutdown line for the opposing team's top line. With that mentality, that is shooting for 2 scoring lines, a scoring line with the ability to shutdown teams, and then a 4th line, or energy line.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 9, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Good rest him and get him 100%

Posted by: icehammer97 | March 9, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I kind of hope BB keep Arnott with Semin...let them develop chemistry. MoJo can hand with the Ovie line for a few games!

Posted by: capscoach | March 9, 2011 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Hey at least it's only the Oilers tonight and Canes on Friday. Really not looking forward to 85 being back in the lineup. Hopefully they just play Beagle if he isn't injured.

Posted by: TimeForACup | March 9, 2011 11:32 AM | Report abuse

@TimeForACup

yeah...but we have a bad reputation for not playing well against bottom feeder teams...especially after an emotional victory

Posted by: capscoach | March 9, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

"Way to reinforce your blowhard credentials yet again."....Posted by: yosemite_sam | March 8, 2011 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Everyone here is a blowhard. Some, like sgm and capscoach, just happen to blow harder than others....Posted by: vermontcaps | March 8, 2011 6:59 PM | Report abuse
-------------------------
Everyone here is a blowhard."
Posted by: vermontcaps

Some blow harder than others. MUCH harder...Posted by: Wiley_One1 | March 9, 2011 10:16 AM | Report abuse
--------------------------

C'mon Wiley, you've got to do better, MUCH BETTER, if you're going to catch me...can you at least come up with something original in your attempts to put me in my place? As usual, very disappointing.....

Posted by: vermontcaps | March 9, 2011 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. His streak. :(

Posted by: richmondphil2 | March 9, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Are you a blowhard Vermont?

Posted by: capscoach | March 9, 2011 11:46 AM | Report abuse

"GMGM said he wanted 3 scoring lines and a checking line."

Is that a Cup-winning formula in your estimation?


Posted by: tominsocal1

Yes, that is what many teams do.

Now the question of whether the Caps checking line is good enough is a fair question. Just like it is fair to question if any team's scoring lines, checking line, defensive pairs, and/or goalie are good enough. We will see.

I think that checking line is good enough to make a run. Whenever they are on the ice they play great D and forecheck hard. That is what you want.

The fact that there is 3 "scoring lines" is absolutely fine. The reason a 4th line is generally termed an "energy line" is that the team has run out players with enough skill to score consistently. So they put out the best of the rest. The most important thing for most 4th lines is to not allow any goals while on the ice. If they generate some forechecking time, that is great, but the main goal is to eat up time without being a liability.

However, if your 4th line (the "3rd scoring line") can score some, but do so without being a defensive liability(so they let up no more goals/minute played than other 4th lines) then that is plus.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 9, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Even though I don't think MP is getting called up (there may be salary cap issues with that), wouldn't this be the ideal game that MP would shine in.

He almost always shines in his first game called up or games against teams from Canada. Well, this is the combo platter, his first game called up against a team from Canada. MP would probably get a hat trick in this game.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 9, 2011 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Glad to BB came to his sense. It seemed that the Caps weren't sitting Backstrom due to a lack of 2nd line center and a number of key games including TB. I think sitting him for tonight and Friday are wise moves. If he's better, then they could play him against Chicago. The next really big conference game is in a week vs. Montreal on the road by which time hopefully he'll be back to 100%.

Posted by: wizfan89 | March 9, 2011 11:53 AM | Report abuse

He should sit out the remainder of the regular season.

That would be a smart move.

Posted by: joek443 | March 9, 2011 11:53 AM | Report abuse

@capscoach

I don't blow, but all this talk is kinda making me......

FREE DJK AND THE OILERS GO DOWN!!

Posted by: vermontcaps | March 9, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

@Tominsocal...regarding a checking line, the old Caps usually tried to have two scoring lines, a 3rd line checking unit and a 4th line...but you have to adapt to your roster, since Bruce doesn't really match lines all the time you can have three solid lines with scoring ability and have your 4th line as a checking unit, the current group of Hendricks-Gordo-Brasdley is a pretty good unit, only wish Gordo was stronger physically, if you could combine the best assets of Steckel & Gordo and that would be a decent checking center

Posted by: boomer44 | March 9, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

If he has to miss a game (or games), I'd rather it be now than in late April, although I suppose it's fair to recognize that they still have to qualify to play in late April.

Posted by: 1995hoo | March 9, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

"Hey at least it's only the Oilers tonight and Canes on Friday...."
Posted by: TimeForACup

THESE are the teams to be most afraid of. They have nothing to lose.

Posted by: j3rockstar | March 9, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

The reason a 4th line is generally termed an "energy line" is that the team has run out players with enough skill to score consistently. So they put out the best of the rest. The most important thing for most 4th lines is to not allow any goals while on the ice. If they generate some forechecking time, that is great, but the main goal is to eat up time without being a liability.

However, if your 4th line (the "3rd scoring line") can score some, but do so without being a defensive liability(so they let up no more goals/minute played than other 4th lines) then that is plus.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 9, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse
------------------------

You really are a piece of work, sgm...thanks for that info but you've got it all wrong. Think about it, revisit what you wrote and re-write, post it and I'll let ya know if you're in the ballpark.

Posted by: vermontcaps | March 9, 2011 11:59 AM | Report abuse

8-90-22
28-44-16
26-21-18
83-15-10

Would be my vote, but i think it will be

8-90-22
28-44-16
25-21-16
26-15-10

Posted by: chatton | March 9, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Tom: He did go on to say that his ideal third scoring line would also be able to serve as the shutdown line for the opposing team's top line. With that mentality, that is shooting for 2 scoring lines, a scoring line with the ability to shutdown teams, and then a 4th line, or energy line.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 9, 2011 11:30 AM

OK, I agree with this 100%. It says what is ideal (please read, sgm). The problem is, like boomer44 said, we don't have the players. And I think that is the basic criticism of McPhee here, is doesn't get the players.

My understanding of basic hockey 101 is one line needs to be adept at shutdown. Since they are top players at that aspect, they probably score also. See: Miller/Ridley. Or: Kono/Dahlen. Call em 1st, 2nd, 3rd line, whatever, they can do shutdown when required.

Another line isn't "the players that can't do anything else," but a tempo line. You put them in to hit the other team, fight when needed, put energy when the top lines are struggling, etc. The Wings always have a 4th line with guys like Helm that do stuff like that.

We have a 3rd line that doesn't excel at really anything (except MaJo on PK) and a 4th line that is about 50% of a true checking line/50% of an energy line.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 9, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Count me as one of the few who would prefer to see Semin play with Johansson, now that Semin seems to be getting over his phisical ailment, it is time to let him play with his future partner so they can develope a good chemistry. Arnot was a great player, and has a little left in the tank, but he is only a temp.

Posted by: hock1 | March 9, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Sucks

Posted by: lylewimbledon | March 9, 2011 12:17 PM | Report abuse

chatton:
i know fehr hasn't played in a while - but isn't it a little unfair to have him pull double duty on the 2nd and 3rd lines? jk
i'm guessing you meant 18 on the 3rd line.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 9, 2011 12:18 PM | Report abuse

oops, missed the keyboard a bit. I know boudreau can be dumb, but I don't think he's that dumb. revised below.


8-90-22
28-44-16
26-21-18
83-15-10

Would be my vote, but i think it will be

8-90-22
28-44-16
25-21-18
26-15-10

Posted by: chatton | March 9, 2011 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Another line isn't "the players that can't do anything else," but a tempo line. You put them in to hit the other team, fight when needed, put energy when the top lines are struggling, etc. The Wings always have a 4th line with guys like Helm that do stuff like that.

We have a 3rd line that doesn't excel at really anything (except MaJo on PK) and a 4th line that is about 50% of a true checking line/50% of an energy line.

Posted by: tominsocal1

Yes, but when your first line with Ovie provies that hitting tempo that almost all other first lines do not(what other first line players have as many hits as Ovie) that can take out the need for a 2nd line to only hit.

Like I said before, it is important that the 3rd scoring line is defensively responsible, but if the 3rd scoring line (the 4th line) lets in as many goals against as other "4th lines" but scores more than they do, then that is a win, correct?

Especially if the checking line does it's job, and the Ovie line provides plenty of energy when it hits the ice(which it often does), and the 2nd scoring line of Arnott, Lacih and Semin do what they have been doing. I don't see why it would be more beneficial to have a 4th line, that is equally defensively responsible, but scores less.

I think too many people fall into the trap of pigeon-holing lines and what their exact role has to be. Such as the thought that a 4th line must be an energy line and that if it scores goals like a scoring line, while still being defensively responsible, it must not be effective.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 9, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Just in case anyone missed the hilarity/insecurity late last night:

Sometimes, I just wanna jump through the tv and pull the remaining hair out of Jellow Man’s head. No offense to Rask, but how can you not go with the best goalie in the league when we’re going into our hated rival’s barn for the first time since our set-to with them? Additionally, with the Sabres and Islanders coming to town Thurs. and Fri. (and with a couple days off since Pitts) you’d think it would make sense to go with Thomas tonite and give Rask one of the later games. Whatever. That decision aside, Julien should’ve pulled Rask after the first period, down 2-0 and him giving up juicy rebounds on EVERY SHOT! The weak goal he allowed in the 2nd was the nail in the coffin.

Even worse, nobody followed Boychuk’s lead and tried to smash any teeth. I wish he would’ve cleaned Subban’s clock, and it was unfortunate that he had to eat a few from Ryan White (who probably just earned himself a spot in the lineup for the rest of the year); but good fight anyway, Jonny, and get some ice on that face. McQuaid, Thornton, Lucic, Campbell, Horton….where’d you go tonite? (I know where Chara was, but he had to leave early. Glad to hear Pacioretty is conscious and moving all his limbs, but the hit didn’t warrant 5 and a game. I think that’s the first time I’ve ever seen a major given for interference.)

With physical play in mind, I still don’t know what the B’s are doing with Seguin, and he looks totally out of place on the 4th line. When we fell down 3-0, it looked liked Campbell and Thornton tried to get something going but instead of engaging as well, Sequin stood meekly on the outside of it all. (He kind of reminded me of that guy in D.C.. Scultz I think his name is.) Anyway, Sequin should be down in Providence, getting good minutes in key situations and learning the ways of the professional game.

Despite it all, we still could’ve won the game if not for our woeful pp. ANOTHER 0-FER, JELLO MAN, WAKE UP!! If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that Julien is trying to model the pp after that of the Washington Capitals. I know the Caps are a good team to emulate in some regards, but the pp isn’t one of them. GIVE #22 SOME PP MINUTES DOWN LOW AND I GUARANTEE IT’LL START CLICKING AGAIN!!

All in all, a night to forget.

Posted by: vermontcaps | March 8, 2011 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Darn, did it again....wrong paper

Posted by: vermontcaps | March 8, 2011 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | March 9, 2011 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Just having some fun with the Bruins. I can't think of a better rooting situation I've grown into, as I don't think it's possible I could've taken to another team like I have the Bruins. I'm still married to the Caps, but living in New England 15 yrs...what can I say? I have no problem with divided loyalties and proudly wore my jersey . . .

Posted by: vermontcaps | March 8, 2011 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | March 9, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Such as the thought that a 4th line must be an energy line and that if it scores goals like a scoring line, while still being defensively responsible, it must not be effective.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 9, 2011 12:24 PM

i'd think if your 4th line has energy, scores and is defensively responsible - it would become your 1st line paired up against the other teams 1st or 2nd line.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 9, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

And after I called him on it (the full text of which can be read on last night's thread):

"C'mon, stevie boy, you don't really think I thought I was posting on a Bruins site, do ya?"

Can't even own up to it and just say, "Yep, you caught me - and if I'm honest, I'm a little insecure about it." On an anonymous blog.

Oh, the hypocrisy.

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | March 9, 2011 12:32 PM | Report abuse

My understanding of basic hockey 101 is one line needs to be adept at shutdown. Since they are top players at that aspect, they probably score also.
------------

You are not alone in this view - this is absolutely the philosophy of the generally acknowledged top GMs and coaches in the league - guys like Kenny Holland, Brian Burke, Holmgren, Babcock, etc. For example, guys like Draper and Maltby were never "scorers" at any level, but they could chip in the odd goal, because of their speed and tenacity - but everyone knew their primary job was defending. Draper in particular made Canadian national teams over other much more prominent guys - and was the object of national scorn because of it - solely because he excelled at his primary job, checking [it certainly wasn't his sweet hands or playmaking abilities].
He knew and his coach knew, any added points were icing on the cake - his real measure was in keeping the Forsbergs of the world off the scoresheet.

Similarly, Burke took heat for leaving TJ Oshie off Team USA [from JR, among others] because, for his 3rd line, he wanted a prototypical '3rd line/ checking line' who could keep the Ovie's, Malkins and Crosbys of the world off the scoresheet at even-strength - rather than a guy who wasn't quite good enough a scorer to crack the top-6. On the other end of the spectrum, there are more talented American scorers right now than Kesler and Dustin Brown - yet Burke went out of his way to telegraph that Brown in particular would play a prominent role, and took criticism for it.

GMGM and BB aren't alone that in their view that three scoring lines are better than just two [Gretzky espoused this view, both for PHX and as GM for Team Canada] - but that is a decidedly mixed record.

To return to the micro - this is my main problem with, i.e., an E Fehr - he doesn't two key components to be a top-6 at this level [power and quickness] - but he's not really suited for a checking role, either.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | March 9, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse

i'd think if your 4th line has energy, scores and is defensively responsible - it would become your 1st line paired up against the other teams 1st or 2nd line.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

Not if it scores at a slower pace than your 1st or 2nd line. Hence, it is a team's 3rd scoring line.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 9, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

@stevie_in...in case you missed my response as you loved that post so much:

"Ha! Perhaps the most positive thing you've ever said about the Caps as a whole you THOUGHT you were saying on a Boston blog.....Pathetic....(and, in the end, borderline psychotic)

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | March 9, 2011 1:57 AM | Report abuse

C'mon, stevie boy, you don't really think I thought I was posting on a Bruins site, do ya? And as for the "most positive thing" I've said about the Caps, well, you apparently read as well as capscoach's 8th graders.

FREE DJK TONIGHT, SOMEONE'S GOING DOWN!

Posted by: vermontcaps | March 9, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

@stevie

You really are a moron if you couldn't catch the humor in those posts, and you're a simpleton if you think I inadvertently posted a Bruins post here....where ya been all year? It's embarassing enough that you root for the same team as me, but at least you didn't accuse me of gay-bashing like you do other posters...so thanks, I think

Posted by: vermontcaps | March 9, 2011 12:41 PM | Report abuse

sgm:
i took - "that if it scores goals like a scoring line" - to literally then

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 9, 2011 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Here are tonight's Rooting Instructions (Wednesday March 9):

EDM (50 points) @ WAS (84 points): A win tonight moves the Caps into 2nd seed past BOS (who lost in MTL last night). EDM beat-up by the Flyers 4-1 rout last night. No Mercy, boys! Go Caps!!!.
ATL (65) @ CAR (71): A win by ATL tonight makes things harder for CAR and helps TOR (who are currently only 4 points out of the 8th spot) Go Thrashers.
STL (67) @ CBJ (70): The West is still in chaos, with only 5 points separating the 4th through 11th seeds. The outcome of this game will do little or nothing to relieve the confusion. Go Blues.
LAK (77) @ DET (86): I'm pretty sure Lefty & tom would like to see DET get their Wings clipped in the Southland. Go Kings.
CHI (80) @ TBL (82) : A loss by TBL helps the Caps by potentially increasing the latter's lead in the Division. However, CHI faces an uphill battle after losing last night to a weaker FLA team. Go Blackhawks.
CGY (79) @ DAL (79): Now this is a game that could prove pivotal in sorting out the Mess In The West. CGY is my 2nd favorite team (after the Caps), and--as previously mentioned--my religious beliefs prohibit me from rooting for any Dallas team. Go Flames.
NYR (74) @ ANA (75): ANA--being a somewhat chippy team--seems well equipped to dish out some (well-deserved) punishment to those fruity Rags. And also the "Flying V"... I look forward to seeing images of Torts staring up at the ceiling and muttering "O Dear God, why do you hate me so much?" Go Ducks.

If the current status quo holds through the end of the regular season, Caps face MTL.

Posted by: Rhino40 | March 9, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Darn, did it again....wrong paper

Posted by: vermontcaps | March 8, 2011 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | March 9, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

At Tominsocal
from previous post.

I love how people l;ove to point out how long they have watched/played and coached hockey on here. Well, I for one have been a fan since my first hockey game at the Cap center in 1980. Played street and roller hockey since I was 10. PLayed pickup ice hockey whenever I had the chance. (Parents wouldn't foot the bill for me to play organized ice hockey as a kid or drive me 45 mins to practice since we had no local club hockey). I guess since I have watched, attended and read about hockey for 31 years, I don't know the game.
I played team sports. I may not be an expert (nor do I claim to be), but I know you give a team time to mature and learn how to win. I don't blindly support BB or GMGM. This team is young and winning isn;t a given. Its pretty tough, from what I keep hearing hockey players say, to win a Cup. Just because the team has had issues and problems this year doesn't mean you fire the coach. If they go out early in the playoffs and play like crap next season, fine fire BB. But give me a break about how much you know or I don't. I'm a fan who supports my team and always holds out hope that they will prevail.

I have to agree, though, that I think the team coasts and doesn't play 60 minute hockey like they should. That's BB's fault. Totally. But, just because a team faces adversity doesn't mean you start firing people. Its one season, which isn't over yet might i point out. Andwho cares how they play in the regular season. Its the playoffs that matter. Last season should have taught all of us that.

BB has had success as a cach everywhere he's been. Bad coaches dont know how to recover. The best coaches and players learn from it and get better. I believe you have to give them that chance (and not over 20 games, but a whole season). Knee jerk reactions are what the Redskins do. Not the Caps. See it through. Fire the coach if the team doesn't play better in the playoffs and into next season.

That's the opinion of an apparent hockey doofus who doesn't know anything about team sports.

Posted by: capsfan0837 | March 9, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

new thread

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 9, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse

BB has had success as a cach everywhere he's been. Bad coaches dont know how to recover. The best coaches and players learn from it and get better. I believe you have to give them that chance (and not over 20 games, but a whole season). Knee jerk reactions are what the Redskins do. Not the Caps.
-------------

Fair points and I think I agree with a lot of that - my main problem is though, has BB really learned and made the requisite adjustments? [A nibble is, minor-league success doesn't = NHL success]. MTL figured out our PP last year - and I've yet to see where we've counteracted that. [And for those who scream "#52's out!" I call B.S., the PP's been stagnant since last spring, moreso when he's out there, if anything - just look at the numbers].

Good teams match up well ES in the playoffs, the difference for those who advance almost always boils down to special teams. [Yes, our PK's vastly improved - and our goaltending's been top-notch all year]. But at some point, your power play needs to score, if you want to go deep in the playoffs.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | March 9, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Sorry you are out Nick! Better now than down the road. I want to see Ovi & Semin score, score, score tonight. GO CAPS!!

Posted by: allforSemin | March 9, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully, Ovechkin, Semin and Arnott will step up with Backstrom out and propel the team to a win over the Oilers at home.

After all the hard work to get into first place, it would be a shame to lose momentum by losing a game like this.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | March 9, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Hey TominSocal,
According to you there are two separate lines called shut-down and tempo...In Hockey we call that the checking line which is ONE line. In Hockey you want 3 scoring lines and a checking line and don't want two hybrid checking lines as you suggest. P.S. I read what you said to Caps0837 and I played college hockey. I guess to you that makes me an expert! The lines are irrelevant as BB changes them every shift!

Posted by: Caps73 | March 9, 2011 2:01 PM | Report abuse

To all the experts out there, we have 16 games left including tonight and we have 37 wins and 84 points and are in first place in our division and 3rd in the conference.

YEAH BB SUCKS AND REALLY NEEDS TO BE FIRED!

Posted by: Caps73 | March 9, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Are all Vermonters zombies??? Or do they just Talk and write that way???

Talk about BLOWHARDS???
MUST BE RELATED TO LEAHY.

PS. FROM WHAT I KNOW ABOUT VERMONT ITS WHERE MOST GAYS MOVE TO FROM THE ANAPOLIS AREA!!!
LOVE THE STATE NOT SO MUCH THE PEOPLE---THEY ARE EITHER GAY OR DRUNKS

Posted by: duckyjimpond | March 9, 2011 5:07 PM | Report abuse

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