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Caps hope skill is enough against physical Flyers

By Greg Schimmel

The Philadelphia Flyers have been known for their physical style of play since the early days of the franchise, so the Capitals know what to expect when the Broad Street Bullies visit Verizon Center on Sunday.

Several Caps players talked after practice Saturday about matching the Flyers' physicality while not straying too far from their normal game plan.

"It's just like any other team; if you try and do what they do then you're going to play their game and chances are you're going to be behind the eight-ball," center David Steckel said. "I'm not saying we're not going to have to take a hit to make a play, but we're just going to have to play through more of the body and earn our goals a little more."

Steckel's line will probably have to match up against the Flyers' likely fourth line of Daniel Carcillo, Blair Betts and Jody Shelley.

Betts is a classic grinder, and Carcillo and Shelley are two of the league's grittier forwards who have never shied away from contact or from dropping the gloves.

"We know they're a physical team and they play hard every game, but I think we can match it," forward Matt Hendricks said. "If we outskate them, use our team speed and our size, they're going to take penalties and we'll be on our power play."

Coach Bruce Boudreau could opt to play winger D.J. King for the sixth time this season as somebody who could match the Flyers' heavyweights, or Boudreau might set his lineup to try to out-skill the Flyers, dressing a speedier player who might create matchup problems for their checking lines.

Regardless which Caps play against the defending Eastern Conference champions, Boudreau said it's important not to get too caught up in the way an opponent plays.

"We have to do what we do best," Boudreau said. "Not worry about what Philadelphia does but worry about what we do. Hopefully we get better than them."

By Greg Schimmel  | November 6, 2010; 1:41 PM ET
Categories:  D.J. King, Philadelphia Flyers  
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Next: Caps assign Marcus Johansson to Hershey

Comments

The political theater here is hilarious. This is EXACTLY the game they brought DJ King here for.

Posted by: large23220 | November 6, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

def. bring in King. this is the kind of game we need him for.

Posted by: j762 | November 6, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Bring in the back up coach. Bruce "where's my camera angle?" Boudreau isn't the answer.

Posted by: capscapscaps2 | November 6, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

That didn't take long, capscapscaps2.

The "fans" who post on CI these days suck.

Posted by: large23220 | November 6, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

I don't think the Caps will go after a defenseman who has a big contract that extends longer than this year.

The ramifications of getting Phaneuf would be the cap hit in future seasons. Then when Mike Green hits free agency he will say "look, you have to pay me more than Phaneuf, I am our best defenseman"(or something like that). In addition, a $6.5M cap hit next year for a defenseman could be pretty limiting.

But waiting until January or February will allow the Caps to pretty much acquire any pending UFA defenseman. And, as you noted, the competition to acquire these guys is greatly reduced because of the salary cap situation of most of the SC contenders.

It will be interesting. But I am all for playing most of the young guys now and putting them in pressure situations(Carlson and Alzner and Flash in important situations as a center).

I would also be for giving MJ some time as the 4th line center replacing Steckel. Then MJ won't have to worry about offense too much and can focus on defense and creating offensive zone time. Then offense will eventually flow from that.

Once BGordon gets injured again, then MJ can take over 3rd line centering duties.

Posted by: sgm3 | November 6, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

"Fire everybody. This franchise sucks. I hate this team. The NFL is better anyway. My bipolar meds diminish my ability to effectively analyze NHL rosters and trades. I'm so lonely." - Everybody who posts on CI these days.

Posted by: large23220 | November 6, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

That career minor league dope of a coach, BB had better put king in the line up with Hendricks and Bradley or the Flyers will beat up on our boys. I agree this is why GMGM went out and got a guy like DJ King for this type of game, Hendricks in the middle and Bradley and King on the wings, now that's a crash line. if BB sits King, the Caps will come out of this with some injuries, the Flyers (I hate them) have the perfect blend of skill and thuggery!

Posted by: PhilHelmuth | November 6, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Can we guess the lineups for tomorrow based on how the lines were at practice today?

I was there but the last blog entry here basically confirmed what I saw there.

Our second and third lines consisted of their typical recent cast of characters. Note the terminology "typical recent". The fourth line consisted of King, Stecks, and Bradley.

Skating with Ovi were Johansson (who is probably not quite ready) and Hendricks. (As noted in the last blog entry, Backstrom and Semin were not feeling well and Boudreau gave them the day off.)

Let's hope that doesn't mean Hendricks is a scratch, given that his "grit" is an element definitely needed against the Flyers and he brings much more to the table for the Caps than King. Should we play King? If so, who do we scratch? I would definitely vote for not scratching Hendricks against the Flyers.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 6, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

@ Fan, This morning I critiqued BB on OV's floating, not OV. Been busy with my family all day. OV has proven he can back-check, but it seems he is coached to float for a break out chance on the stretch. That's part of BB's system. I have seen Flash and Semin doing floating in the past when they are the go-to break out guy on their line.
You went on a rant about how great OV was. OK, for the record, I think OV is the BEST player in the NHL -- he is the complete package of a power forward who has great vision, hands, and an incredible will to win.
I think the float and stretch tecnique has been solved, so it's time for the Caps to adapt, improvise, and overcome.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | November 6, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

MaJo got sent to Hershey

Posted by: Dizruption | November 6, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I hope I don't see this headline when playoffs come around....

Posted by: Wagnerchristopher | November 6, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

I think that MaJo was sent to Hershey for conditioning purposes as he has now sat out the last six Caps games.

Posted by: MReilly9 | November 6, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

@MReilly9

While it's "technically" a reassignment, in reality, it's a conditioning stint, similar to Varly last year.

The Flyers are not exactly the team we want to start a recent recovered guy, like Johansson, against. Not with some of the known thugs on their roster.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 6, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

100% authentic Caps Winter Classic jerseys from $150

philliparmy@gmail.com

Posted by: philarmy | November 6, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

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