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Boudreau: Nicklas Backstrom, Tomas Fleischmann not switching lines

Following this morning's optional skate, Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau found particular humor in the speculation he was considering moving superstar center Nicklas Backstrom to the second line and promoting Tomas Fleischmann to skate with Alex Ovechkin and Mike Knuble on the first line.

While Backstrom and Fleischmann did swap spots during yesterday's practice, Boudreau insisted that it wasn't because he had any intention of breaking up his productive top line. Equipment confusion apparently was the culprit.

"They put the wrong jerseys out, and I said, 'Let's see what they look like,'" Boudreau said. "That's all that was. It was just no deep, dark secret, and then I'm reading that Backstrom is on the second line. I don't know. That line would be pretty good. I don't know why we'd call it the second line, but that's me."

By Gene Wang  | October 13, 2010; 11:32 AM ET
Categories:  Bruce Boudreau, Nicklas Backstrom, Tomas Fleischmann  
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Next: Tonight's lineup: Islanders at Caps

Comments

Maybe Backstrom should play with Semin instead. OV would probably still get 40-50 goals and take the other teams top defensive pair. Semin would get a little more space and probably but up more than 40 goals.

But it is a contract year for Semin so nevermind.

Posted by: caps512 | October 13, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

@SAOTI, well there goes your theory, ;-)

And still not crazy about OV being the only opt-out -- either it's an injury or he should be skating with his team, he is captain now.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | October 13, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I'm looking forward the the next meeting with the Devils when BB releases D.J. King on them.

On another note, I'm also looking forward to getting M Johansson healthy and a more productive Power Play.

I expect all that will come in time. I think this years mental toughness is solid but I just hope we don't peak too early like we did last season.

Posted by: Devo2 | October 13, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Ovi's probably resting his wrist/hand. No worries about missing an optional practice right now.

Posted by: _Mark | October 13, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I would like to know wwhat the he!! Fehr has to do to bump Laich down to the 3rd line where he is more suited so he can prove himself as the 2nd line winger he is? Laich is more responsible defensively and Fehr has proven he has the scoring touch and is now willing to go to the net and take the punishment. Could it be because Flash is 2C right now and putting Fehr up there as well would make that line a defensive liability? Maybe, but the guy deserves his shot!

Posted by: PhilR | October 13, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

For all we know Ovi may have been at KCI receiving treatment or working out but just not on the ice.

Posted by: MReilly9 | October 13, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

@JIMALLCAPS

Haha, I posted this on the other thread after I saw this one:
"And apparently BB saw my post and it made him chuckle. Then felt inclined to call me out. Looks like he is going with the normal 1st 2 lines."

@PhilR
I think it not only has to do with Flash, but that move would force BB to play Semin at his natural LW (which Im not opposed to by any means) but some posters here theorize BB doesnt want to do because Ovie plays LW and take longer shifts, ergo less ice time for Semin and even more so less for Ovie & Semin on the ice together. I for one think if that is BB's reason, that is inane, as you could easily have Semin play RW until the line change is complete and then shift back to the left. Problem solved.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | October 13, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Because Laich can dig a puck off the boards with two defenders draped on his back and place a perfect pass to Semin. That 2nd line needs Laich's grit, net presence, and board work. Fehr is getting to where Laich is, but he is not there. A second line without Laich and with Flash and Semin would be much less effective, imho.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | October 13, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

"you could easily have Semin play RW until the line change is complete and then shift back to the left."

I have to disagree with this. That could lead to a lot of miscommunication and could lead to allowing open scoring chances. All you need is 1 or 2 seconds of each player thinking they need to be on the same side and that opens up too much space.

Posted by: sgm3 | October 13, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Fehr will see top 6 ice time this year, no doubt. But why now? The season's long.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 13, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

@ Jim Small...excellent assesment of LAich/Fehr, both good players, but I like the current line combos...Fehr is bette ron right wing and Laich has always played on the left...if Fehr continues to develop he may replace Knuble on the first line, hopefully he can continue to learn from Knuble and keep progressing

Posted by: boomer44 | October 13, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

@sgm and SAOTC

Gotta agree with sgm, asking someone to switch his position mid-shift is ridiculous and will make for a lot of turnovers.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 13, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Actually, having Semin switch to LW is no problem at all.

There's certainly no law like with Moses and the tablets that states "Thou shalt follow thy first line with thy second."

The first can come after the second, the third can come after the first, whatever. They rarely roll them in order and usually start the game with the third or fourth if to set the tempo. And even if it's second coming after the first, it's only an issue with Ovi extended minutes when changing on the fly.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | October 13, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Man, does that Kings team look stacked and well-balanced.

It's early but just on paper, I like that team to come out of the West over Van, Det, etc...

Posted by: tmac2yao

OH REALLY???!?!?!

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 13, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

@caps512

Can we read into BB's remark that he's not thrilled with Ovie's playing? That would be a dynamite 2nd line, Backs and Semin, two players who think the game as quickly and lucidly as anyone in the league. Just imagine. Who to play with them?

@PhilR - seems Laich is doing very well and he has the speed and smarts to play with Semin. I like Fehr also - on another team he might even be more of a finesse forward - he skates very well and is agile - but it looks like he will be fashioning himself into a grinder type to get the toi.

Posted by: RedLitYogi | October 13, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

@sgm

Have you ever played hockey before? Because it really isnt that big of a deal, and these are professionals we are talking about.

To make it even easier (for arguements sake)...dont switch back until a stoppage in play. Happy? If this doesnt work, then how do players prevent the "miscommunication and could lead to allowing open scoring chances. All you need is 1 or 2 seconds of each player thinking they need to be on the same side and that opens up too much space." from happening when someone gets tossed from the faceoff circle? Sorry, I dont buy that it would be too confusing. BB just doesnt want to give his favorite 2 kids less ice time (Flash and Laich), which is what would have to happen in order for Fehr to move up.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | October 13, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

OFf the faceoff circle, you obviously just go right back to your position..no play as developed.

I don't understand why you're getting so upset...asking a player to switch his position, and thus the man he covers in our zone, forechecking responsibilities, etc, etc, mid-shift is just asking for trouble. Why complicate things for no reason? Just to move Fehr and Laich when our lines are doing fine? Um..well okay.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 13, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Hey now, not upset here...no caps were used to insinuate yelling etc. Was simply disagreeing and then explaining why I disagreed. Personally, I dont think it would cause an issue hence I buckled and said fine switch at the next whistle. But eh, i really am indifferent and just want to see what Semin with Fehr combo can do. Because I think he can be that net/gritty presence the 2nd line would need.

Again, wasnt meaning to sound heated. Lo siento.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | October 13, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Fehr will see some top-6 ice time this year, I don't think we need to worry about that.

I'm as big on Fehr as you and others are, but I'm just not seeing the reason to switch them right now. Laich is doing great with Semin and Flash now, let them be. Fehr/Chimmer/MaJo has been great as well, the only person really weighing them down offensively is MaJo. But that's fine, since they are the 3rd line. Eventually, I want to see the lines moved around a bit, (part of it being Fehr and Chimmy play similar styles) but I'm fine with it now.

And RE; Semin playing RW now instead of his natural LW position, I honestly think BB keeps him there because BB himself and Semin himself prefer RW. Keep in mind, Semin does not play LW for Russia anymore...he plays RW, usually on Ovi's flank.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 13, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

And that was exactly my point SAOTI, I think Fehr could be a 30+ goal scorer getting 2nd line minutes and Semin's numbers would most likely also increase. The guy is a natural goal scorer and he is stuck on the 3rd line which (on most teams) is the defensive/grinding line. Isn't that what Lacih is? A defensive, grinding forward? Why not put players in their natural postions?

Semin/Flash/Fehr=natural goal scoring line

ChimChim/MaJo or Hendricks/Laich=More defensive, grinding line

Not saying it needs to happen now but that is what would be best come playoff time IMHO.

Posted by: PhilR | October 13, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

@PhilR

I like the general idea but the only problem is that would have Laich playing RW. With his style of play, playing on the off wing would not be maximizing Lacih's skill set. It's too bad that neither Laich or Chimera are right handed.

Posted by: sgm3 | October 13, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

The guy is a natural goal scorer and he is stuck on the 3rd line which (on most teams) is the defensive/grinding line. Isn't that what Lacih is? A defensive, grinding forward? Why not put players in their natural postions?

___________________

I see what you're saying, but I think you are undervaluing Laich's own offensive abilities. His hands are generally better than most people of his ilk.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 13, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Ovie missed an optional practice ALREADY?

Wow, guess he didn't learn how to be a leader after missing all those "optional" practices down the stretch and in the first round debacle...

What a joke...Ovechkin is NOT Captain material...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | October 13, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Ovie missed an optional practice ALREADY?

Wow, guess he didn't learn how to be a leader after missing all those "optional" practices down the stretch and in the first round debacle...

What a joke...Ovechkin is NOT Captain material...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | October 13, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

SinkingCaps,
You don't know all the details as to why Ovi missed an optional practice and yet from the comfort of your computer you pass judgemnent. The joke is that you still want people to believe you are a Caps fan.

Posted by: _Mark | October 13, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Laich scored about 64 pts last year. That's plenty adequate for #2 line. However, he's also one of our better defensive forwards. If BB ever decided to actually construct a true #3 line, players such as Laich, Hendricks and Bradley I think would top that list. So Laich in that scenario would be LW. MaJo might be a true #3 center in several years. AGordon might become a true #3 RW. Chimera it seems is playing better, he has speed and size and could be a true #3 winger if he commits to it and if the coach were to ask him.

However, at this point, BB has never committed to making a checking line like you would see with guys like Kelly Miller and Kono. We just let Crosby do whatever he does and hope to outscore them by the time the dust settles.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | October 13, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Do you really consider the optional, morning of, pre-game, warm up skate a "practice"?

I sure as he!! dont. Some people just love to hate.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | October 13, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

OK, bear with my on the math and logic. Some of you will be surprised.

There are three first liners on each team. That means, if we just go by scoring, primarily the responsibility of lines 1 and 2, that the top 90 scorers as forwards would be "top line guys." So, guess how many pts and up you need to be in the top 90 forwards?

52 pts. That's right.

Ovi, Semin, Backie, Laich and even Flash had that many. Knuble had about that many too. So, we have six first line forwards.

Second line? 36 pts up to 51. Fehr fits, as did surprisingly Belanger and BMo. Chimera was close too I think.

You have to get below 36 pts to make players 181-270 who would then be 3rd line. Laich therefore is overqualified. Fehr is too and because the 3rd line should be about stopping the other team, he rerally isn't the best fit.

This is why many of us have said the caps should trade from strength (scoring forwards) in order to acquire defensive forwards and a top-pair D.

It's all there in the numbers.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | October 13, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

But you want to be at least above average, if not at the top, for those lines. So finishing with 52 points(if I am reading your statstics correctly) would be about 90th of all the forwards. However, 90th means you are the worst first line forward(in terms of scoring only, so calm down people) in the league.

But we would want a first line and a second line that averages in the top 5 for each group.

Posted by: sgm3 | October 13, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Mark...

I'm not the only one on this board who feels that while Ovie is the greatest player in the world...he is a terrible Captain.

You can believe I'm not a Caps fan. That's fine with me, because I don't need to prove anything to you.

All I DO know is Ovie missed every "optional" skate last year in the playoffs and coincidentally, the team collapsed in the first round.

Maybe you don't skate hard or do all the drills, but you are the leader...BE THERE!

So what if everyone followed his lead and didn't show up....?

Posted by: SoaringCaps | October 13, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Oh, btw, this is why I have Laich penciled in at $4M on a long term deal. Bottom range is $3.75M if he gives home-town discount and top is up to 5 even if he goes UFA. His numbers make him a first-line LW and his defense is decent. You list top 30 LW'ers for scoring and he fits in the middle of the pack. I can easily see an offensively challenged team offering him a fine sum of money to be #1 LW.

Sign him now.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | October 13, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

sgm: Yes, Flash could either be "worst" 1st line forward or best 2nd line forward with his 53 pts. Ovi-Backie-Knuble is probably top scoring #1 line in the league and Semin-Flash-Laich probably best #2.

So how is it we don't go 82-0-0?

Defense.

And, to win Cup, the tables reverse and what generates win in regular season doesn't equate to as many wins in Playoffs.

Hence, again, you come back to where you need to back off a bit on the scoring angle and work on making a true #3 line and a true top-pair shutdown D.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | October 13, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I question why the Capitals made Ovechkin captain instead of Laich who personifies the type of leadership on and office the ice that is needed by a championship contender. Your BEST player does not always make a great captain. Ovie leads by his play on the ice, but his consistent missing of optional skates isn't something that you would want from your captain. It also puts added pressure on a guy who had a series of on-ice incidents last season and is always a target of the other team.

As for changing up the forward lines, I'm not convinced the Flash will ever be a top 2nd line center. He's simply not strong enough as a puckhandler or defensively to be a center on the 2nd line. It seems the Caps are hoping that M. Johannsen will grown into that role, but I see the Caps having to trade for a true second line center by the trade deadline unless one of the young players can grow up real quick.

Posted by: wizfan89 | October 13, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

You guys are aware that Ovi had problems with his wrist last game and was in KCI with the boys either way...right guys? Chill out.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 13, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

"It's all there in the numbers." - tominsocal1

I thought it was in the ice chips or wine sediment...hmm.

"So what if everyone followed his lead and didn't show up....?" - SoaringCaps

Well, then Tyler Sloan wouldnt work up an appetite for all the popcorn/hot dogs in press box and Verizon would lose money. This would lead to an Angry Ted (aka Wario, the evil Mario brother) and our season ticket price would go up next season. THEREFORE, optional morning pre-game skates are needed to keep our season ticket prices down, not to prove you're a good captain. Nuff said.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | October 13, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

After watching Ovie soaking his hand in a bucket of ice in the penalty box last game, I am not going to judge him about missing an optional practice. I don't know if he was at Kettler today or not and neither do you. He could have been doing off ice work to rest or take care of an ailing hand or wrist.

Accusing Ovi of something that you don't know about and using that to justify your determination that he is a "terrible captain" is sad. I'll let his teammates judge him as a captain.

Posted by: _Mark | October 13, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

What's your point? That the Caps need to play better defense and allow less goals. Absolutely. That goes for all 4 lines though, not just the 3rd line.

Posted by: sgm3 | October 13, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

This would lead to an Angry Ted (aka Wario, the evil Mario brother) and our season ticket price would go up next season. THEREFORE, optional morning pre-game skates are needed to keep our season ticket prices down, not to prove you're a good captain. Nuff said.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce

I've only had season tickets for two years, but so far, every year they have gone up. I think this is happening regardless.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | October 13, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

wizfan89,
Perhaps Brooks would have been better suited as captain. I really thought that they would not put that burden on Ovi at the time and that Brooks would get the C. Everyone knew that Ovi was a leader of this team, with or without the C. Labeling him as a terrible captain and deriding him about not being on ice for the optional practices is being too critical.

Posted by: _Mark | October 13, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I got ice-level seats for one of the Canes away games for 55 bucks. Aren't the cheapest 400s at Verizon 60? haha...

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 13, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

First, the STH event and now missing an optional skate? Sid would NEVER miss an optional skate except for the ones he missed. Ovi is a terrible Captain. He doesn't care about the team, the fans, or the city. They should strip him of the captaincy and give it to Semin. At least Semin came to practice this morning and will be at Six Flags Monday.

Glad to see we are back on the Brooks Laich for Captain train. You know, the guy they didn't even give an A.

Posted by: ablake70 | October 13, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil2

The Caps face value changes depending on the game. Better games = higher prices. The face value of my tickets are $40-85...granted I am in the 400's. But I imagine that ice level (assuming you mean 1st tier and not on the glass), wouldnt be that far off face value wise for a game against the Canes ($55-60ish).

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | October 13, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, but its an away game at RBC. So it's the Caps at the Canes. I would think 1st-tier seats at a Caps/Canes game at Verizon would be significantly higher than 55 bucks.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 13, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

ablake70,
I understand that argument about Laich. We are not privy to the locker room stuff and there is a reason others get the A. From an outsiders view, he seems to handle the media well, makes a good sound bite, and appears to have a workmanlike ethic. I am ready to stand by Ovi.

Posted by: _Mark | October 13, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

richmondphil2,
I am in the loge portion of 105 and my tickets run from $80 to $125 face. Below me and on the sides run higher. Those tix in Canes country are cheap, but they aren't selling out either.

Posted by: _Mark | October 13, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

The Grind Line had a special place in the heart of Detroit and the game of hockey. Anyone who had worked at an auto plant or hustled in a cold rink could appreciate the job done by Maltby, Draper and McCarty – work that was especially important at the most important time.

“If you’re going to win come playoff time, you need skill,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said in the news conference. “But you also need people who want to go to the trenches and do the dirty work.”

http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/news;_ylt=AhdRS7CnHHD1r4AcD1BtxNZ7vLYF?slug=nc-maltbycolumn101210

which line is gonna be the "the Grind Line"
on this team and are they gonna be as effective?

Posted by: joek443 | October 13, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

richphil,

What did you mean in response to the Kings comment?

All I meant was that I really like the makeup of that team. I wanna see the season unfold a little before I solidify that opinion. It just wouldn't surprise if they have the most talented and well-balanced roster in the West.

Posted by: tmac2yao | October 13, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

that was a great line. Maltby was the agitator. Draper was the consistent and relentless defensive force. And McCarty was just the beast.

I don't think the Caps will be getting a grind line anytime soon. At least not to that capacity. But if you can get Brads and Hendricks on a line with maybe Fehr, that'll be the best we can put out there.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 13, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

tmac2yao,

richmondphil has been all over the Kings for the lst couple years, they are his West coast team that he follows. He has been saying they were going to be a contender for quite some time and it appears his prognostications have come to fruition.

Posted by: PhilR | October 13, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Yea, I know he likes them. What I don't know is why he responded like that.

Even if he said the same thing, that was an opinion I formed on my own.

Posted by: tmac2yao | October 13, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Well not only that, but do you remember tmac when you berated me a little for having "two teams" or something to that effect? I'm not calling you out or anything, it just crossed my mind when I read that Kings comment. And I gotta agree with you, Kings look real good this year. I don't know if they're going to be "the" team in the West ( picked Vancouver personally, though it was before the season started), but I would be glad if they are!

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 13, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

It really had nothing to do with liking the Kings, I just remember you sort of freaking out on me one day about it after I probably said something negative about a player on the Caps.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 13, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

i picked the sharks early without the benefit of watching any teams, but the kings are always in the back of my mind. I love that way that team drafts and is getting built out. If Colten Teubert can come thru as a prospect they'll have the best young D in hockey. Their big loss is Matt Greene. He's a strong presence back there and he'll be out till the end of the yr into January.

But when it comes to drafting skilled players with a big edge, the Kings know how to do it. Dustin Brown, Clifford, Simmonds, Kopitar, Schenn. Then throw in guys like Stoll, Justin Williams and Smyth and that is a very competitive set of forwards. They got this kid Jake Muzzin this yr who they signed as a FA i think and he's another big strong physical dman. Should help mitigate the loss of Matt Greene. He's a kid the Caps could've looked at too because he's got a thick frame and he's very sound in his own end. Would've been a cheap pickup for young defensive depth.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 13, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I fail to see the connection between that and my comment about the Kings or the point of your comment entirely then. I also acknowledged that I acted a fool in that instance so that's in the past. No big deal... whatever you meant.

Either way, I just like the Kings roster. It was a passing comment I made last night while watching them introduce their lineup. I have no rooting interest in the that team and you are undboutedly the resident Kings fan around here. Personally, I only root for one team when it comes to hockey. I pull for both the Astros and Indians when it comes to baseball so I can understand the split interest.

Posted by: tmac2yao | October 13, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

@sa-caps
I don't know Gillie's resume inside and out, but I think he spent a lot of time in the minors just to get a shot in the NHL. When I read your post it sounded like BB talking (the Koci incident). Guys like Gillies and King and all the rest of the 'goons, have the toughest job in sports, and very few ever make it into the higher tax brackets.

Again, not picking on your post, just curious.

Posted by: Fletch22

carrying this over because it resonates with me. Great comment Fletch. Not only did the Koci comment bother me when Bruce said it, the comment he made about Riley Cote was even more bothersome because it shows zero respect for the job that role requires. I can understand why Bruce would be ticked off at Koci for the hit on Green. But as a coach, keep your mouth shut about how he's a useless thug. Koci did a very good job in his role in the minors and played good defense in the AHL. Bruce should know about it, he faced him often enough. He can't cut it on D in the NHL so they moved him to forward and now I guess he's bouncing around somewhere. At some point this yr DJKing could be in the position to deliver a big hit at the end of a game that another coach may not take kindly to. It doesn't mean that King is a useless thug either. And Koci's played in over 100 nhl games, he doesn't need another coach publicly belittling him like he belongs in the echl.

The comment about Cote was much worse. And the Flyers GM and coach rightfully took offence at it. It happened after Cote got beat up by Brashear. And Bruce felt obliged to mention it. That bothered me on so many levels I can't even get into it. For an nhl coach to make fun of an nhl fighter because he took a beating in a fight is absolutely classless. And it shows complete immaturity. That's the kind of stuff fight fans do, not nhl coaches. Whats next? Bruce is going to rip off his suit and flash the V sign anytime a Caps enforcer beats up his opponent? Dumb and classless.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 13, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

@tmac

The connection is you, me, and the Kings. And again, I don't pull for any team except the Caps, the Kings are just the team I follow second closely, behind the Caps.

@cstanton

I'm actually surprised Clifford made it on the NHL roster. Schenn was a given, and Muzzin was understandable, given the injuries.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 13, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Laich handles the media perfectly - I don't think they should make him captain because of it.

Whether or not Ovie should be captain is one issue - but skipping the morning practice is entirely separate. There is zero physiological justification for it, all it does is deaden your legs. To cite just one example the Celtics have phased out the morning shoot-around entirely after looking at the medical [non]justification; they just start the pre-game warmups a little earlier.

And I say this, having been on skates since before I turned two, and played hockey for the following 38 years, 5-6 times a week in the winter until I was 20, albeit just twice a week now. There's a reason shifts in the NHL last 35-40 seconds - because you're freaking gassed after.

Posted by: govtimbo | October 13, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

--And Bruce felt obliged to mention it.

that should've read "Bruce felt obligated to GLOAT over it"

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 13, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

@richphil

The underlying point is that this was something that happened a year ago that I apologized for that was buried by both of us.

Everybody makes dumb comments time to time. Not everybody brings them back up for no good reason.

Why dig it back up? Just for fun? To remind me of something I already took the time to apologize about a year ago?

Posted by: tmac2yao | October 13, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I still cannot believe people question OV for not taking part in a morning skate, it is not a practice just a morning skate for God's sake. I am sure that OV was at the rink for treatment on his hand and to attend any meetings, i.e. the PP. Morning skates were not even part of hockey 25-30 years ago, they were started to let the players check out their equipment, esp skates and sticks to get them in order for the game. They also give extra ice time for those on the 3rd & 4th lines as well as the players to be scratched.

Posted by: boomer44 | October 13, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

"There is zero physiological justification for it, all it does is deaden your legs. To cite just one example the Celtics have phased out the morning shoot-around entirely after looking at the medical [non]justification; they just start the pre-game warmups a little earlier."

@govtimbo

Good points. Well said.

Posted by: sgm3 | October 13, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil2

We bought tickets for Ottowa and Montreal for March, going to do a speed road trip. Anyway Ottowa center ice on the glass $205 a piece including service fee and delivery thru stub hub. That ticket total is still cheaper than my ticket at the phone booth, however the same tickets in the Bell Center $556 dollars each.

So they are selling alot of hot dogs & pop corn here that they don't sell in Montreal.

Shout out to SECTION 115 !!!!!!!!!!!!!

DROP THE PUCK !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: bqts | October 13, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton

I'm actually surprised Clifford made it on the NHL roster. Schenn was a given, and Muzzin was understandable, given the injuries.
----------

After dumping Ivanans, I think they wanted a 4th line who could handle more minutes. That's something the Sharks are working towards too. Which is why they dumped Shelley.

So it came down to Clifford or Clune. Or maybe Clune and Westgarth. Either way, i think their current 4th line is Clifford and Westgarth being centered by Schenn, right?

so much for no team running 3 rookies on the same line....i always found that line of thinking to be overly paranoid. Anytime a lineup is suggested for the Caps that has 3 rookies on it, you get the typical outcries of "what are you crazy, you can't run 3 rooks on one line!"

The one place you can always run 3 rookies is the 4th line.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 13, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Hey...who likes to Rock the Red, going to the game tonight, and just snapped some snazzy pics of Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, and the Twins?

----- THIS GUY -----

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | October 13, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

@everybody:

Can someone provide a link to catch to night's game online? I have to work until 9PM EDT, and I'll even settle for audio...

Thanks,
Das Rhino

Posted by: Rhino40 | October 13, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Thanks dude - or maybe it just takes me a long time to recover from workouts;-)

Btw I was impressed with your boy vs. the Sens [Alzner] from the shifts I saw the other night [I missed most of the 2nd]; they've got some good forwards but I thought he looked both stronger and quicker from last spring. So I guess I stand corrected - but noone ever called me overly patient with young d-men in the first place [John Carlson and Brian Leetch notwithstanding!].

Posted by: govtimbo | October 13, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of young d-men did I not call it about Hjalmmarsson though - that kid is dang good.

P.S. I hate checking from behind more than anybody but I can't believe he got two games for that, he hit Pominville from the side. Colin Campbell, still a jackass.

Posted by: govtimbo | October 13, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't be upset with Ovie missing an Optional skate..IF he didn't do it all the time last year.

Listen, if Ovie is THAT HURT to practice, then maybe he shouldn't play tonight. After all, it is the 4th game of the season...no need having long lingering injuries.

The guy is our Captain...he should NEVER miss an "Optional" practice.

If he's hurt, don't play him as much or in the game at all until he is 100%...ESPECIALLY at this stage of the season.

I'm sure Messier, Gretzky, Sakic, Yzerman RARELY missed an "Optional" skate...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | October 13, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Rhino40:
you could try
http://atdhe.net/
they have it listed on the main page at
http://atdhe.net/25479/watch-new-york-islanders-vs-washington-capitals

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 13, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

P.S. I hate checking from behind more than anybody but I can't believe he got two games for that, he hit Pominville from the side.

-----------

he should've gotten at most a 2 min interference penalty. Hitting from the side, leading with your shoulder, making contact with the shoulder..when did this become a punishable offense? If he was physically weak, the other guy wouldn't even gotten hurt. He got penalized for being too strong.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 13, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure Messier, Gretzky, Sakic, Yzerman RARELY missed an "Optional" skate...


Posted by: SoaringCaps | October 13, 2010 4:39 PM

are you really sure or are you just throwing out some big names to make ovi look bad?
we all remember you as SinkingCaps...

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 13, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

If he was physically weak, the other guy wouldn't even gotten hurt. He got penalized for being too strong.

Posted by: cstanton1 |

Campbell set the precedent last year with Ovi. He said a determining factor in the Ovi's suspension was his size and that Ovi needs to restrain himself when checking smaller players. I expect more of these types of suspensions in the future.

Posted by: ablake70 | October 13, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Kirk...

You are pretty silly. You can remember me as anything you want.

Just because I don't think Ovie is a good Captain doesn't make me less of a Caps fan.

And, if you remember, I told you at the beginning of last year that Green and Theo would NOT be good enough to lead us to the Cup. Guess I was right.

I also said the Caps cup chances went away when they failed to get Pronger. Well, Pronger made it to the cup with a lesser talented team than us...so I guess he could have made a difference.

However, with all that being said I thought Schutlz was terrible...but he has really played well so far this year. Much better than last year.

So, sorry for speaking with an honest opinion. It's easy to have Caps colored glasses...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | October 13, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

heading off to the game!

See you guys there! GO CAPS!

(for the record, I hope Ovie scores 6!...I still don't think he is a good captain)

Posted by: SoaringCaps | October 13, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Campbell set the precedent last year with Ovi. He said a determining factor in the Ovi's suspension was his size and that Ovi needs to restrain himself when checking smaller players. I expect more of these types of suspensions in the future.

Posted by: ablake70

thats insane. I can't believe he would say that. No way is there an edict that says big guys need to hold up when hitting smaller guys.

I don't think the hit would've been penalized if it occcured in open ice and Pominville didn't go bouncin his head off the boards. They called it boarding because his head or face hit the boards even though it wasn't really a classic 'hit from behind.'

this league's getting crazy. Pretty soon guys like Cam Janssen will be out of a job. All they do is hit people as hard as they can. And most of the time very legally. But extremely hard. Kevin Kaminski and Lou Franceschetti would be in deep trouble today.

I also see nothing wrong with leaving your feet to make a hit as long as the elbow isn't involved and its not a hit to the head. Nowadays they call that "charging". Up until a few yrs ago, "charging" referred to taking a long run at someone who either didn't have the puck at all or had long since dished off the puck. I mean, like 5 seconds worth. It had little to do with leaving your feet to make a leaping hit.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 13, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xsn4-cYZ0BA

for the king fans...now why can't our guys on D hit like this? This is a FA signee by the Kings and not only can he hit like this but he can also play the game.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 13, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

SoaringCaps:
i didn't intend to imply that you were any less of a caps fan than anyone else - just detecting a negative vib you have about ovi as captain and asking if your statement was fact or fiction.
my personal opinion at the time clark got traded was that laich should have been named C. i think ovi is still mostly a kid (maturity wise) and is still 'growing' into his role as captain.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 13, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

another nice clean hit which got called a penalty

(note the Canuck in the middle of the action throwing some bodies around -- ahh he was almost a Cap!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQug6qoqBOc&feature=related

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 13, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

my personal opinion at the time clark got traded was that laich should have been named C
--kirk--

i distinctly recall you calling for Flash to wear the 'C'

haha

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 13, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

cstanton1
its ridiculous that the league hands out discipline based on the results (injury) of a given play - not the play itself. if they really want to reduce the dangerous play then an elbow to the head is an elbow to the head, knee to knee, boarding - injury or no injury - these should all be treated the same.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 13, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

i distinctly recall you calling for Flash to wear the 'C'

haha

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 13, 2010 5:24 PM

good one :D

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 13, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

My only question is why can't our D-men hit like this? :-| DOH!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJm1w-wTomo

Posted by: FrankM73 | October 13, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

I think Bettman is trying to expand the fanbase and get a better television contract by making hockey more family friendly. Seeing guys taken off on stretchers is not going to encourage pacifists to watch the game.

Capt.Kirk-Just curious, why do you think Laich would be a better Captain than Ovi?

Posted by: ablake70 | October 13, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

- these should all be treated the same.
----

agreed..that's why when a person gets convicted of ATTEMPTED murder its usually punished as severely as if the crime was successfully committed. You don't give someone a pass because they failed in their attempted action.
(I hope I'm not talking out of my a__ here since I don't know this to be a FACT)


the other improvement could be minimizing the armor that a player wears on his body to dole out hits. Hitting someone with their shoulder that's covered with what is essentially a SHIELD..that's something that needs to be addressed.

Sheldon Souray actually knocked out a MN tough guy (Craig Weller) by giving him a forearm shiver to the jaw with a wrist-guard. I think that was the last game Weller played in the nhl. He eventually recovered enough but ended up back in the minors. He lost his window of opportunity to stick in the NHL. Very solid 4th liner too. Very similar in skating styles and physical frame to DJK. Maybe slight edge to DJ for fighting ability.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 13, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Seeing guys taken off on stretchers is not going to encourage pacifists to watch the game.
------------------

GOOD! The newbies who don't like the physicality of the game are flybynighters anyway. They'll stick around for a bit and then split. They're not going to be resilient enduring fans.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 13, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

"that's why when a person gets convicted of ATTEMPTED murder its usually punished as severely as if the crime was successfully committed."

That's actually not true. But I do agree with your general premise on how punishment/suspension should be handed out in the NHL.

Posted by: sgm3 | October 13, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Capt.Kirk-Just curious, why do you think Laich would be a better Captain than Ovi?

Posted by: ablake70 | October 13, 2010 5:37 PM

just my perceived maturity level between the two. they both can lead by example on the ice - i just think laich would have been a better leader off the ice.
again, just my opinion, but i could see laich trying to make sure the other players stay focused on what their responsibilities are and to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner. i would think ovi might be more inclined to invite his teammates to a party. i have no facts or stats to back me up

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 13, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

don't forget, Laich can also perform a 21 point inspection on any vehicle. Very underrated component of most Cup teams.
(pls refer to Kirk's proverbial disclaimer about 'no stats to back me up')

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 13, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

FWIW, Having met Ovie on a couple of occasions, I think that he is great both as a hockey player and as a human being.

As a team Captain, maybe not so much. But the Jury is still out.

I, too, felt that Laich might have been perhaps a better choice to wear the "C"...or at least get an "A" on a regular basis.

The thing is, team chemistry is a fragile thing indeed. You don't want to disrupt it any more than absolutely necessary. This being the case, I have reached the following conclusion:

Ovie may not have been ready to be Captain. He may not have been the best possible choice to be Captain. Most of us might have "laiched" Brooksie better in that role.

But for better or for worse, Ovechkin is the Captain of the Capitals, and is therefore deserving of our support until and unless he proves otherwise.

And, IMHO, skipping the odd Optional Morning Skate this early in the season doesn't count as "otherwise".

Posted by: Rhino40 | October 13, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

@ Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

My first comment was held for approval. Let's see if this one goes through.

Fair enough about Laich. I am one of the few not impressed with his persona. I think he is more of an opportunist than a leader. If Ovi weren't named Captain, I would have liked to see Knuble get it. He's a good quote too, but seems more genuine than Laich.

Posted by: ablake70 | October 13, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

knuble, i think, would have been a good choice too - except there wasn't a chance at long term leadership with him (even though he seems more than capable of taking someone under his wing as an apprentice)

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 13, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

"that's why when a person gets convicted of ATTEMPTED murder its usually punished as severely as if the crime was successfully committed."

That's actually not true. But I do agree with your general premise on how punishment/suspension should be handed out in the NHL.

Posted by: sgm3 | October 13, 2010 5:47 PM

Mark this date. sgm just agreed with a statement from cstanton1. H*ll just froze over.

Posted by: realoldcapsfan | October 13, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure Messier, Gretzky, Sakic, Yzerman RARELY missed an "Optional" skate...
-------------

A flat-out WRONG assertion - Gretzky, along with Forsberg, Lemieux and Orr, almost always skipped the morning, gameday skate, seeing it clearly as the leg-killing, pointless exercise it is. With the possible exception of Stevie Y.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | October 14, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

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