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Ovechkin on top line (updated)

It's been a couple of weeks since we've seen this: Alex Ovechkin practicing on the top line. There's no official word on whether the two-time MVP will return for tomorrow's game at Madison Square Garden, but this is the first time since Ovechkin was hurt on Nov. 1 that he's been assigned to a line.

Coach Bruce Boudreau, meantime, has shuffled his forward combos this morning at Prudential Center:

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Clark
Laich-Morrison-Semin
Fleischmann-Perreault-Bradley
Laing-Steckel-Fehr

No sign of Boyd Gordon (back) or Milan Jurcina (lower body).

Update: During power-play practice, Ovechkin was placed in front of the net instead of on the point, where he has been all season. Brendan Morrison and Mike Green manned the points.

I'll have more later.


By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 16, 2009; 10:55 AM ET
 
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Next: Boudreau: 'As of today, he's in'

Comments

Semin is #1

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | November 16, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

#1 at what?

Posted by: CapsChick | November 16, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

At least, Ovie is back - and some interesting line-combos - will BB use those lines actually?

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | November 16, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

@CapsChick:

... turnovers ;-) ?

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | November 16, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I think Boyd Gordon's time has passed and Perreault should stay with the club full time. He is a better offensive player, and plays with heart every shift.

Also has anyone else noticed that alot of new caps fans at games complain none stop, and half the time have no clue what the hell they are talking about..

Posted by: CapsBaby | November 16, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Just felt like sending positive vibes for Semin!

But really happy to hear this new about Ovi. Not surprising. I really wish we see him back in the lineup tomorrow! I think for most part Caps played well without Ovi, but he is just so much darn fun to watch out there!

Go Caps!

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | November 16, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

@CapsChick:

... turnovers ;-) ?

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | November 16, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Careful or you'll be branded a Semin "basher."

Posted by: CapsChick | November 16, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I would like to see Fehr and Bradley switched. Clark has played much better of late, but to deserve Line 1 praise???

Posted by: Caps4Life1 | November 16, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Circles?

Posted by: dml1077 | November 16, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

At a recent game, I heard some fans yell "shoot the puck" when Caps were in D-zone....I turned around to check, and, yes, those fans were wearing Caps jerseys...

So yeah....but, they will soon learn. And it is extremely fun to go to Verizon center and sit amongst a full crowd rocking the red and cheering the team on!

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | November 16, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

@Capschick...

...dumb penalties? ;)

Posted by: R617 | November 16, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

CapsBaby

I agree that many of the new fans have no idea. They are new to the sport and have never played the game. It is funny that every time someone touches the puck they yell "Shoot It". Also when someone misses a pass or miss stickhandles they say that the player sucks. The ice can make the puck to crazy things.

Oh Well, The V-Center is always full and loud. It is much better than pre BB. The place was empty. You could hear someone on the cell phone half way across the rink. GO CAPS...

Posted by: Caps4Life1 | November 16, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I have not yet been able to get up to Hershey to see the Bears play, but based on game summaries and stats it appears that Alzner and Carlson are playing extremely well. I think that they both will definitely get a shot with the Caps at some point this year, but it will be interesting to see whether either or both comes up and stays. Any scouting reports from Bears fans?

Posted by: zmega | November 16, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Flash not on a scoring line, WTF?! The guy's basically scoring a goal per game, and is a superb playmaker to boot - and he's on a line with Bradley?!

This is a total head-scratcher - Bradley has a ton of heart, but c'mon, this is ridiculous.

Posted by: govtimbo | November 16, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Great to see the collective "selective memory" going on on these boards lately about Semin. Like spoiled children, we insist that we get our way or we'll pout and throw a tantrum. In case you all forgot, the Washington Post doesn't run a daycare through this message board. Get over the Devils' game and look forward to the next game. Oh, and if you've got that defeatist mentality and that "I know Semin's going to screw it up" attitude going into the next game, try keeping it to yourself. It's a horrible way to start anyone's day with that heaping pile of dung you people try to pass off as an "opinion".

Let's Goo Caps!

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | November 16, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

You are right about that, Caps4Life, what a change since BB took charge, it really is like night and day. Darren Pang doesn't think coaches usually make much of a difference - but as I've often said, Panger can be an idiot.

Posted by: govtimbo | November 16, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

@govtimbo...

Brads can chip one in now and then...we've seen what Perreault can do...putting Flash on that line gives you 3 solid scoring lines...give 'em a game or two before you pass judgement on BB's decision...
I, for one, like these line combos...

Posted by: R617 | November 16, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Perrault seems to make things happen, I would say if the caps did not have enough depth, he could easily fit on a second line....so matching him up with Flash seems to be a good idea...and then its nice to have a grittier forward play on a line with a playmaker and scorer....so, I kind of think that makes for a good line! I think that Bradley has been playing really well lately, he also seems to be in the offensive mix a lot, even if his stats do not show it. I was thinking the other night that Bradley looks due a goal or two...

Anyway, these lines could definitely change before tomorrow night....its just a practice, and they have to fit Ovi in there somehow. I wouldn't be surprised if Laich, Clark, and Flash all switched around a little..

Go Caps!

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | November 16, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Careful or you'll be branded a Semin "basher."

Posted by: CapsChick | November 16, 2009 11:15 AM |

Stats frequently show two players on our team who leads the team (and sometimes the league, they finish top 20) in turnovers.

Semin is not of them.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 16, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Flash not on a scoring line, WTF?! The guy's basically scoring a goal per game, and is a superb playmaker to boot - and he's on a line with Bradley?!

This is a total head-scratcher - Bradley has a ton of heart, but c'mon, this is ridiculous.

Posted by: govtimbo

I think that's the idea. It makes the third line dangerous. Perreault has been playing fantastic. Pairing him up with Flash could pay big dividends for both of them. Then you have the grinder in Brads. On paper I love the look of that line. I hope it works out as well as it should. I don't see it as a demotion. I see it as a chance to help both Flash and Perreault, especially since they're going up against the opponent's third line.

Posted by: TheDoubleAlex | November 16, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Redskins won...no one cares about hockey anymore...

Posted by: SA-Town | November 16, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

CapsChick and FCKoeln1 -- Backstrom is #1 in giveaways. Semin's tied with Ovi

Posted by: Sonyask | November 16, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Fleischmann-Perreault will be very interesting to watch.

Posted by: Riddler1 | November 16, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

CapsChick and FCKoeln1 -- Backstrom is #1 in giveaways. Semin's tied with Ovi

Posted by: Sonyask | November 16, 2009 11:35 AM |

And it's usually Green and Ovi leading the charge.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 16, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I'd swap Fehr and Bradley. Fehr and Flash always seem to do well when on the same line. Add a playmaker like Perrault and that line could be dominant for a 3rd line.

Posted by: ThePat | November 16, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I like the look of these lines. Good balance.

It could be fun to see a possession line of Flash/Perrault/Brads.

Posted by: JohninMpls | November 16, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

CapsChick and FCKoeln1 -- Backstrom is #1 in giveaways. Semin's tied with Ovi

Posted by: Sonyask | November 16, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure why this is addressed to me. I didn't comment on Semin's giveaways or any of his other stats.

Posted by: CapsChick | November 16, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Reports are saying the next WC after this year will be Caps and Rags.

Anyone else read this?

Posted by: richmondphil | November 16, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I agree with ThePat. Flash & Fehr play well together, and with Perreault this makes a third dangerous scoring threat line

Posted by: Sonyask | November 16, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Lay off Semin. I'm getting some car magnets that say "Semin Rocks."

Posted by: Steakum | November 16, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

@CapsChick:

... turnovers ;-) ?

Posted by: FCKoeln1

Well, yes. he is tied with three others.

TOP Giveaways:
Backstrom, Green, Ovechkin, and SEMIN. - 15
(Four high caliber players, one scape goat)

TOP Takeaways:
Morrison (17), Backstrom (16), SEMIN (15), Knuble, steckel(14)

Backstrom and Semin? on the top Gva and Tka list? What does that mean? Oh, yes the brilliant reporter and his followers would tell us that Semin is a moody, lazy, stupid player ... LOL. Brilliant! Just Brilliant.

Posted by: hock1 | November 16, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

It could be fun to see a possession line of Flash/Perrault/Brads.

Posted by: JohninMpls | November 16, 2009 11:40 AM
--------------------
How fast is Brads? Can he keep up with Flash and Matty?

Posted by: tess2201 | November 16, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Yes, I readily acknowledged Bradley's heart, and obvious work ethic.

Hands however, well, that's another story - which is why I don't understand that line pairing, at all. I'd love to see a Flash - Backs - Semin pairing, for a full game.

Posted by: govtimbo | November 16, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I have to agree hock1 - I fail to understand the scapegoating of Semin.

Posted by: govtimbo | November 16, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I like the lines, and I agree with TheDoubleAlex that Flash on the 3rd spreads out our "scoring" lines. Nice to have the talent we have up front. I see Clark paired with Ovie as a great move - he plays in much the same way as Knuble, he's there to keep the Rags from taking runs at Ovie, and a few years back they were paired together successfully. Getting Flash, Fehr, and Gordo back gives BB so much to work with.

Posted by: gonchpup | November 16, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

"A look at the Caps' high-risk/high-reward style of hockey. Their 3.65 goals per game is the best in the league, and their 3.05 goals against per game is sixth-worst."

hmmm defense? Jose "three or more."

Not going to work in the playoffs.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 16, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Clark on the first line as trade bait?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 16, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Wait, the team that scores more doesn't win in the playoffs?

And why is it assumed that the rest of the playoff teams will tighten up on defense, but not the Caps?

Doom and gloom...just say no.

Posted by: mikebrady1 | November 16, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

#1 at what?

Posted by: CapsChick


Is that a legit question or a setup for wisenheimers? :)

Arguably Semin is the #1 stick handler in the world. Specifically, his toe drag (aka curl and drag) is second to none.

That was my serious answer, but there is a little wisenheimer in me too. Semin is #1 in frustrating coaches and fans? :)


BTW, not to get on topic or anything, but the line combos are interesting. I assume BB is putting Bradley on the Perreault line because he wants to make sure they're defensively responsible. Hey, I called it the Perreault line so that means he's staying right? :)

Posted by: BetterOffWithFedorov | November 16, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Lyle-> To trade means someone else wants.

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | November 16, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Giveaways -- at least our guys are well behind Crosby (22) and only tied with Malkin (15).

Posted by: Sonyask | November 16, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I am still a Semin fan even though sometimes it does seem he is not always focused. I think his potential is huge and that is why his mistakes are pinpointed. BB does seem to call him out alot, and I don't always agree w/ him on that. Some players seem to be his favs, why others get his criticism.

Posted by: apw78 | November 16, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Flash not on a scoring line, WTF?! The guy's basically scoring a goal per game, and is a superb playmaker to boot - and he's on a line with Bradley?!

This is a total head-scratcher - Bradley has a ton of heart, but c'mon, this is ridiculous.

Posted by: govtimbo | November 16, 2009 11:24 AM

I think Flash was -4 vs. Devils. This is BB's way of saying you better play defense too.

Posted by: hockeypuck1 | November 16, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Capschick: You are a Semin basher. That's 90% of what you put on here. How in the heck can you beat a dead horse on a player that has averaged .86 points a game in a career that has spanned 272 games. He is talented as hell, and one of top wingers in the league.

Capsbaby: YES. The lack of hockey knowledge is obvious. Didn't hear near as much silly junk coming out of the stands at Prudential Center on Saturday. Our stadium is much louder though.

Posted by: fanohock1 | November 16, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Surprised Tarik and other media members aren't tweeting every time Semin has a giveaway in practice.....

Posted by: PhilR | November 16, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I am a glass-half-full Caps fan.

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Clark = let's see what Clark can do as a top-line grinder. He's supposed to be our Captain, right? Ovechkin and Backstrom are top drawer together, and nobody will expect a goal from Clarkie's direction (which is a really bad assumption to make on a line with THOSE two!)

Laich-Morrison-Semin = let's use Morrison to give Semin more defensive responsibility. It's worked in the past, and Laich crashes the net with the best of them. These three can score together.

Fleischmann-Perreault-Bradley = let's see what Brads can do with this hot pair of line mates. He's potted some goals this year; let's see if he can get more. I'm betting all three of these guys post goals and/or assists in any game they're lined up together.

Laing-Steckel-Fehr = Stecks is the Faceoff god, and Laing is the king of shot blocking among forwards. This is the defensive forwards line.

Posted by: irockthered | November 16, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

CapsChick and FCKoeln1 -- Backstrom is #1 in giveaways. Semin's tied with Ovi

Posted by: Sonyask | November 16, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure why this is addressed to me. I didn't comment on Semin's giveaways or any of his other stats.

Posted by: CapsChick

Hey people, learn how to read a message board! CapsChick never mentioned anything about Semin's stats! Wake up and make sure when you are making accusations/corrections that you direct them at the right people. In this case, it would be FCKoeln1, not CapsChick. Though by FCK's comment, you might have noticed a smiley face to indicate he could've been joking or smart-allecking.

Posted by: bigeugene | November 16, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Reports are saying the next WC after this year will be Caps and Rags.

Anyone else read this?

Posted by: richmondphil | November 16, 2009 11:42 AM |


I definitely remember hearing about it, but cannnot find anything on it. Here's to hoping for a Caps/Rags ECF- which should all but confirm the game.

Posted by: Fro_ | November 16, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

@ Mike Brady

When you let in more gaols than you score than that is when you lose playoff series.

2009 Caps Vs Pens

Penguins 27 goals
Caps 22 goals.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 16, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Redskins won...no one cares about hockey anymore...

Posted by: SA-Town

__________________________________________

The people that could give a crap about the Redskins.

Posted by: NatyBG | November 16, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I think Flash was -4 vs. Devils. This is BB's way of saying you better play defense too.

Posted by: hockeypuck1 | November 16, 2009 12:18 PM

Interesting but here are the stats for last week:

Backs: 1 assist, -5
Flash: 2 goals, 1 assist, -6

Point is I dont think it's a punishment. I just think BB thinks Perreault and flash will work well together (and I agree).

Posted by: JD09 | November 16, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

F the deadskins

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 16, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

@ SA-Town
If you don't care stop posting here, we don't want/need people like you..

Posted by: CapsBaby | November 16, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I think Clark on 1st line makes sense, at least for a game or 2. There is some good history with him and Ovi plus he can go in the corners to get the puck so Ovi doesn't have to as much. If they really need a goal BB could switch Flash with Clark.

Posted by: ds_kelly | November 16, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Why do we need to know where Ovechkin is on power-play drills? Is our demand for information from poor Tarik really this high? This injury reporting is a little too much.

Posted by: fronesis1016 | November 16, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Instead of slinging poo, I'll refrain from commenting on other comments.... but I will say that I like what BMo has done on the point in the PP. Ovi off the point sounds ok in my book. He's done a bit of blue-line dancing and created his share of opposing short handed chances... In front of the net scares me a little though. One of Green's slappers at OV? Yikes.

Posted by: Chad8 | November 16, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Also, the AHL is having it's first outdoor game this season. Feb 20th up in Syracuse- Crunch vs. Binghamton Sens. Fortunately- that's home for me so I'll be heading up. I recommend heading up if you want to get away for a weekend. And yes, it will be freezing- literally.


http://blog.syracuse.com/crunch/2009/11/sen_schumer_is_ready_to_drop_t.html

Posted by: Fro_ | November 16, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

@ Mike Brady

When you let in more gaols than you score than that is when you lose playoff series.

2009 Caps Vs Pens

Penguins 27 goals
Caps 22 goals.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 16, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Wow, that's a 7 goal (combined) per game average, talk about playoff defense! Too bad our offense wasn't a little better - hopefully we will fix it this year!

Posted by: mikebrady1 | November 16, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Thoughts so far...

Yes they are new fans but we were all new fans at some point so you can't get on them too much. Just be happy that they are there rocking the red and cheering on the team, something that we haven't had in at least a decade.

I like these lines and I think BB did it to even out the scoring. I think we all know that these are not going to be out playoff lines but now is the time to tinker and see who plays well together. Oh and Brads has been playing well and has some offensive abilities so maybe putting him with a playmaker like Matty Po could get him on the score sheet more.

Sasha is frustrating but I believe I read that his penalties are down from last year and he is 'trying' to be more responsible. Hopefully Ovie will get him back on track now that he is back in the lineup (or at least I hope he is back).

Finally, what the F Circles? What's with the 'out' clause so that you can go to a better team? Could we please just get this over with?

Posted by: pkendrick | November 16, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Oh and I like BMo on the blue-line. He has done a great job up there so far.

But I think I would prefer Ovi to man the sideboard (Semin's normal spot) instead of in front of the net. His shot is way too deadly to have it wasted there.

Posted by: pkendrick | November 16, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

@CapsBaby:
I'm pretty sure SA-Town's Redskins comment was sarcasm. SA-Town is a longtime fixture on this blog and a Caps fan.

@Fro:
I didn't read the link you posted, but I did hear about this elsewhere. I've been to the NY State Fairgrounds for other events and can't quite picture it as having good sightlines for hockey.

Posted by: tess2201 | November 16, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Glad Bruce saw what I saw. If it ain't broke...

With Knuble out we need someone in front willing to take the punishment. OV can do that. Otherwise, he probably belongs on LW during the PP.

Posted by: Raber | November 16, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Perrault is already being noticed at the NHL by people outside of Washington. I knew he was QMJHL player of the year at one point but really didn't know he lit it up back to back years. This kid's for real.

http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=506225

Posted by: fanohock1 | November 16, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

For all those knocking the Bradley possible move to the third line...for the record in the last game he was the only Caps player with a plus rating and had more minutes than Backstrom. He may not have the hands but he has the heart, smarts, speed and talent to make this possible line pairing work.

BB is one hell of a fine coach..now my only gripe is would he please stop doing those goofy TV commercials.

Posted by: capper3 | November 16, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

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