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Ovechkin, Morrisonn Skating, Erskine Out (Updated)

Alex Ovechkin is indeed back in town and on the ice for practice. Injured defenseman Shaone Morrisonn is also skating, but John Erskine (calf) is not, so Sergei Fedorov remains on the blue line.

Erskine survived yesterday's punishing practice, but apparently he wasn't good enough to go today. He missed the Phoenix game with the calf injury, which he suffered against Calgary.

There's also been another round of line shuffling, with Chris Clark being dropped to the fourth line:

Forwards
Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov
Fleischmann-Nylander-Semin
Laich-Steckel-Bradley
Brashear-Gordon-Clark (Fehr)

More later.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 3, 2008; 10:25 AM ET
 
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Next: Ovechkin: 'It helped me a lot'

Comments

I think this is a "moment of truth" time for Clark. He needs to go out and set the tone for this team, whether it's hitting or fighting or scoring.

Posted by: matucker | November 3, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I really wish that somehow Fehr could get into the lineup.

Posted by: ThePat | November 3, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I'm guessing the tone of practice is a little toned down also?

Posted by: Section117 | November 3, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I like the word tone.

Posted by: Section117 | November 3, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

What a stinker on Saturday! Depressing - it's like they believe their own hype and just have to "call it in" and teams will fold for them automatically. Need to play with some passion and pride- i don't believe they have played a complete game yet. Maybe start shopping for a goalie since Jose was a huge mistake?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 3, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

can't fehr get a chance?

Posted by: chjunk147 | November 3, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

The team we see tommorow better not be anything CLOSE to what was on the ice on Saturday...this will be a tough test this week, with games every other day; two of them division games...WE WANT 110%...

Posted by: R617 | November 3, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Give clark two games on the fourth line and if he doesn't contribute scratch him and give Fehr a chance.

Posted by: kvarnson | November 3, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I too would like to see more of Fehr. He's played well in limited action so far.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | November 3, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I just hope Fehr isn't this year's Eminger. He deserves a chance.

Posted by: kvarnson | November 3, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Fehr had a chance. He'll get more chances. I hope he works out, because I'm still mad about the Getzlaf pick.

Posted by: oo7 | November 3, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I like these line combos. Let's hope they click and the defense/goal-tending picks up. Tomorrow night should tell us a lot about the character of this team.

Posted by: cbs75 | November 3, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Fehr had a chance? When? If he figures into the long term plans of the team as a RW on the top two lines, they'd better start letting him play a few games. If not, trade him now while his value is relatively high as a top50 prospect in the NHL instead of letting him hang out in the pressbox all year and losing him for pittance. The problem is that the team doesn't really have any scoring RW prospects coming up soon. Bourque and Bouchard may fill that role eventually but neither of them are getting regular development time in the NHL either.

Posted by: Burgh32 | November 3, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

we could have has Getzlaf?

Posted by: Blahblahblah73 | November 3, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

The Theodore experiment doesn't seem to be working so far. I think he's had like 1 good game. We could be really good if we had a good goalie...

Posted by: sargeantmofo | November 3, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

For all those bashing Theodore, while hes not playing great by any means. On Saturday night all 5 of buffalo's goals were scored within 7 feet of the goal and were all clean chances at the net. He stepped up and took responsibility but the defense has been worse than Theodore.

Posted by: ThePat | November 3, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

The main line we need a change on is the goal line! Get that cream puff out of goal and give the guys a chance. Send JT out horse back riding so his legs get even more bowed. This first goal five hole stuff has to be all over the NHL, evey player just itching to get in the first shot on the Caps and score through a giant five hole. Goals against average, 3 from the bottom, save percentage 5 from the bottom,

Posted by: majiksea | November 3, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I think Jose has been aweful - granted the defense has been bad, but those are the nights you need a goalie to bail you out every now and then. He seems to be fighting the puck and giving up juicy rebounds. At this point I would take a kid from hershey over jose.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 3, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I agree that tomorrow will be a test of this team's character. However, bigger test may come Thursday and Saturday. I think it is a given that the guys will at least try to come out and finish strong against Ottawa. But can they keep it up and establish consistency (good consistency)?

The next couple of weeks would be a good time for our goalies to find their groove, for Ovie to get on a scoring tear, and for this team to rack up a head turning winning binge.

Posted by: Kim-3 | November 3, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

The first goal/first shot has turned from a phenomenon to an embarrassment. Good God - talk about a quick way to bury yourself. And these early/late minute goals are horrific - you have to put much of the blame on Theodore.
Bag-skating them is fine, but holy crap, the defense has to know their goalie will bail them out on bad positioning from time to time It's not like he's getting 50 shots a game.

Posted by: Shaggy1 | November 3, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Oh and for games played, 8, he is below only Biron, shots against, solidly in the middle, In short, JT suck!

Posted by: majiksea | November 3, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Before we bash on Theo, consider the lack of support from ALL of the D, the lack of scoring from Backstrom, Ovechkin, Kozlov, Clark, and _____ (fill in YOUR favorite forward - except a few).

We knew going into this year that to be competitive we had to score 3+ goals a night because defense is inconsistent and the goalie situation was suspect.

I'm still willing to give the goalie situation time to resolve itself. In the meanwhile, the O and D had better pick up the pace. A LOT!

Posted by: Greg S. | November 3, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

A lot of this comes down to BB sticking with Theodore......I'm sorry, but that has just been a bad decision....let Johnny have a crack at it...he looked much stronger than JT throughout training camp.

Posted by: PhilR | November 3, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

PhillR

He will. Tomorrow night.

But the results will be the same unless the D wakes up and starts play defense instead of offense. If they continue with their lousy d-zone passes and inability to clear the zone, we'll lose.

We know what will happen, though. The team will come out blazing, they'll win, and all we'll hear here is how much better Johnson is than JT.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 3, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

PhillR

He will. Tomorrow night.

But the results will be the same unless the D wakes up and starts play defense instead of offense. If they continue with their lousy d-zone passes and inability to clear the zone, we'll lose.

We know what will happen, though. The team will come out blazing, they'll win, and all we'll hear here is how much better Johnson is than JT.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 3, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

JT hasn't been great, but there's no way you should be facing a breakaway on your first shot on goal. Virtually every goal scored Saturday was on an odd man break. Putting all this solely on JT shows little understanding of the team nature of defense in hockey. And, btw, Johnson has been nursing an injury, that's why he hasn't started the last two games. While we may be wondering what we got into with JT, I bet he's wondering the same thing about his teammates.

Posted by: billieb | November 3, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I think the defense has looked horrible for several games...

Posted by: MNMNT | November 3, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I just have one question - where's the passion that this team played with at the end of last season? We've got mostly the same guys and the same coach, yet they don't seem to have the same 'fire in the belly.' Are they reading too many laudatory press clippings?

I hope that Ovie can really get going and that his spark can ignite this team.

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | November 3, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

All knowing Puckguru,

While our inferior hockey knowledge might be unsettling to you, how can we gain enlightenment if you don't offer us access to your superior hockey cognitive abilities on a more frequent basis?

Please O Oz, shed some light on the plight of your chosen one Dovgan, as I seem to recall you claiming that he was the greatest thing since sliced bread?

Posted by: Steve_R | November 3, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

JT hasn't been great, but there's no way you should be facing a breakaway on your first shot on goal. Virtually every goal scored Saturday was on an odd man break. Putting all this solely on JT shows little understanding of the team nature of defense in hockey. And, btw, Johnson has been nursing an injury, that's why he hasn't started the last two games. While we may be wondering what we got into with JT, I bet he's wondering the same thing about his teammates.

Posted by: billieb | November 3, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Goaltending & Defense have been terrible.
Giving Erskine a contract was funny.

Poor BB, he signed up to be coach not politician.
The Caps GM will always be a loser, nothing has changed aside from no more cap space. What a great job GM.
Caps owner is getting exactly what he deserves, an average team that's overpaid.

Posted by: Cheef | November 3, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Goaltending & Defense have been terrible.
Giving Erskine a contract was funny.

Poor BB, he signed up to be coach not politician.
The Caps GM will always be a loser, nothing has changed aside from no more cap space. What a great job GM.
Caps owner is getting exactly what he deserves, an average team that's overpaid.

Posted by: Cheef | November 3, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

This was sent to me - don't know the publication!

From an interview with Alexander Semin:

Many people believe the Crosby/Malkin/Ovechkin rivalry is now the Crosby/Malkin/Ovechkin/Semin rivalry. Do you believe you're on that level of hockey stardom at this point in your career?

What's so special about [Crosby]? I don't see anything special there. Yes, he does skate well, has a good head, good pass. But there's nothing else. Even if you compare him to Patrick Kane from Chicago ... [Kane] is a much more interesting player. The way he moves, his deking abilities, his thinking on the ice and his anticipation of the play is so superb.

I think that if you take any player, even if he is "dead wood," and start promoting him, you'll get a star. Especially if he scores 100 points. No one is going to care about anyone else. No one is going to care whether he possesses great skill. Let's say you put someone in front of the net and let him deflect pucks in, and he scored 50 goals; everyone will say "Wow!" and then hand him a $10 million per year contract. That's what they like here.

And in Russia people like beautiful hockey, and not dump and chase. I just don't get it, why when a player is skating up the ice and no one is attacking him, he dumps the puck into the offensive zone and then chases it? Why would you do this if there is no one forechecking you? I understand that if there is someone coming at you and you don't know whether you can get past that player, then you can dump the puck, pass it or shoot. But if not, then hold on to the puck, skate forward, create a chance.

Why would you want to dump the puck and then chase after it and crash into the boards? I don't know. But that's just my opinion.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 3, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

@Greg S....

Yes the D has sucked but every once in a while your goalie has to steal a game for you.....that is their job...to stop the puck!!! Four goals on eighteen shots is unacceptable, I don't care if they were all two on ones...a goalie simply has to step up and make the save....PERIOD!

Posted by: PhilR | November 3, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Somebody mentioned bringing up "kids from Hershey" and putting them in net, instead of JT. I saw some of those kids play in preseason and based on what I saw, they would get chewed up in net at this point in their careers. so, we have what we have (unless GMGM has some magic up his sleave). that said, i think many here are being unreasonable about JT's performance

Posted by: doughless | November 3, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Giving Erskine that contract was decidedly NOT funny, it was at best curious to say the least.

BTW, new thread...

Posted by: Greg S. | November 3, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

1) kids from Hershey are still green. they would fair no better.

2) JT ain't that bad.

3) D is that bad.

4) As Matt Bradley has been pointing out, the team is just not working. heres hoping that practice yesterday makes tht point.

Posted by: doughless | November 3, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

@cheef u r so right

we have jt for 2 years our defense is not good enough and alzner is not going to change that overnight(check out his play in Heshey from bear blogs)
our forwards are well played and soft. Will we really win with infective guys like clark brash backstrom and a host of over paid underachieveing euros

Posted by: wendel2 | November 3, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Once again, JT is not seeing all that many shots. There are teams above us and teams below us,in the number of shots they allow, but JT is at the bottom of every stat that counts. Sure you CAN win with bad goaltending, but we should be able to get goaltending that falls in the middle of the stats without that much trouble.

Posted by: majiksea | November 3, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

top 2 lines tomorrow night
ov-feds-semin
laich-nyls-flash

kozzie, backs, clark are lacking something this year... like scoring, and ov has to suffer...

Posted by: vik191 | November 3, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

top 2 lines tomorrow night
ov-feds-semin
laich-nyls-flash

kozzie, backs, clark are lacking something this year... like scoring, and ov has to suffer because of their lack of production... these two top lines would be hard to shutdown no matter who they were playing...

Posted by: vik191 | November 3, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

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