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Playoff Lines (Update)

As expected, the lines on the ice this morning resemble the ones Coach Bruce Boudreau put together for Saturday's 7-4 loss at Florida:

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov
Laich-Fedorov-Semin
Fleischmann-Nylander-Fehr
Brashear-Steckel-Bradley/Gordon

No defensive pairings yet.

Captain Chris Clark, however, is taking shots and doing drills with the forwards. I'll get an update on his status afterward.

Update: Clark left practice before the contact drills. He told me that he was pleased with his practice today. He also said his wrist felt "okay" when he made passes but he was still hesitant to take any hard shots. The captain is still aiming to return in the second round.

The defensive pairings, meantime, look like this:

Morrisonn-Green
Pothier and Erskine have been rotating with Poti
Schultz-Jurcina

I'll have more after practice.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 13, 2009; 10:34 AM ET
 
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Next: Poti Questionable For Game 1

Comments

No surprises there. Too bad about Aucoin though.

Posted by: soloman5000 | April 13, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

So much for BB keeping the other teams guessing.

Posted by: opita1 | April 13, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Well done Aucoin but really glad to see Brash back in case Avery acts us and needs a good beatdown.

Posted by: dsphvywght | April 13, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Fed's is wearing his rings under his gloves. He is ready.

Posted by: SA-Town | April 13, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

soloman5000, opita1:

Those are the lines in practice now, but as we have seen with BB, these lines can change come game night.

One thing I observed during the past three games is that Ovi didn't score with Feds and Kozzie, but he did on Saturday with Nicky and Kozzie. That's interesting.

Posted by: bajgirl | April 13, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Kind of bummed about this move. IMO Aucoin makes the 4th line a scoring threat. On the other hand Gordon is a very good PKer for us. Not sure what Brashear brings to the table in a series with the Rangers. What's he going to do? Maybe have the obligatory fight against Colton Orr? Get suckered into taking a penalty by Avery. Brash would be good in a series against the Flyers but I don't think he would be as valuable to us as Aucoin in the first round. Of course both Gordon and Brash coming back means someone will sit from the 4th line anyway.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 13, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

@fanohock1

I have said this many time on this board, but Brash is a vet and leader and brings real size to the offensive zone. He will only play 8-10 minutes max, but was very effective last year.

D-Man for the Rangers will have a hard time getting Brash off the puck in the offensive zone. Have you noticed when the 4th line is on, they cycle and wear down the D well, as well as lay big hits? Thats the role of the 4th line. We dont need 4 scoring lines to win...We need 2 scoring lines and a hard tight checking game plan.

I am all 4 Brash being in the lineup...I think it is a no-brainer.

Posted by: SA-Town | April 13, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

bajgirl,
You are right in that BB will probably mix the lines come game time. There is really not much that he can do, the top two lines are almost interchangeable in that he can keep switching one man at a time and not lose offense. I like the third line, but I am going to miss Aucion on the fourth line.

Posted by: opita1 | April 13, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Donald Brashear - Goal vs Philly in last years playoff. You love it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1ND1X-CK6k

Posted by: SA-Town | April 13, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Tarik, how's the mood at practice? How is it different than last year's? thanks

Posted by: Andoy | April 13, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Excellent Point SA-Town:
(Couldn't have said it better myself.)

D-Man for the Rangers will have a hard time getting Brash off the puck in the offensive zone. Have you noticed when the 4th line is on, they cycle and wear down the D well, as well as lay big hits? Thats the role of the 4th line

Posted by: dsphvywght | April 13, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Clark back, if healthy, can help. If he is really healthy, he is a scoring threat in the playoffs where junk, crease goals are at a premium with tightened defensive schemes.

Respecting Aucoin, he should replace Nylander. I'm also a little surprised that Alzner hasn't been recalled to replace Schultz or Jurinca.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | April 13, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

bajgirl

I was only saying the practice lines were predictable. Anybody who has watched a few games (most of us here have seen QUITE a few, I'm sure ;-) knows the lines will change at game time, during games and during the series.

Posted by: soloman5000 | April 13, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Alzner to replace Schultz? You must be kidding. Schultz has been playing well.

Posted by: mikebrady1 | April 13, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

opita1

I don't mind BB's tinkering with the lines, unless he messes with our dynamic duo of Ovi and Nicky. Even though any lines Nicky's on is productive, the chemistry between Ovi and Nicky is excellent. The 2nd and 3rd lines can score but Aucoin will be missed on the 4th line. I think Hershey is happy to have him back.

Posted by: bajgirl | April 13, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone know if Comcast Sports Net will be televising any playoff games this year? What about Game 1?

Posted by: Kevin9149 | April 13, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone know if Comcast Sports Net will be televising any playoff games this year? What about Game 1?

Posted by: Kevin9149

Yes they will. http://comcastsportsnet.tv/pages/landing?blockID=48946&feedID=258

Posted by: fnralch | April 13, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I would leave Alzner down here in Hershey. He is still getting turned inside out a lot down here. will be a great player but still learning. Joe Finley got to love him his debut started sooo bad came out to start game and the carpets where out for the awards ceramony and some how he tripped over them and i thought he was taking out the awards podium. he had 8 thousand people laughing.

Posted by: cocorules | April 13, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone know if Comcast Sports Net will be televising any playoff games this year? What about Game 1?

Posted by: Kevin9149

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/capitalsinsider/playoff-schedule-capitals-vs-r.html

Game 1 is on CSN Wednesday at 7pm

Posted by: wiz-skins07 | April 13, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Brash got lucky and scored on his 1st shift last year in the playoffs. Otherwise he got an assist the rest of the time. I do not remember him being any kind of physical impact at all last year in the playoffs. I do remember Green and Semin finally getting ticked off but nothing significant from Brash. Brash missed the last 14 games, and the Caps went 9-3-2. Doesn't seem like he was missed all that much.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 13, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

As for the Brashear vs. Aucoin thing... the Bears have a playoff series, too. And they're playing the Phantoms.

Game 1:
Thursday, April 16
at Philadelphia 7:05 p.m.
Wachovia Spectrum

Game 2:
Saturday, April 18
at Philadelphia 7:05 p.m.
Wachovia Spectrum

Game 3:
Wednesday, April 22
at HERSHEY 7:00 p.m.
Giant Center

Game 4:
Friday, April 24
at HERSHEY 7:00 p.m.
Giant Center

Game 5: (if Necessary)
Saturday, April 25
at HERSHEY 7:00 p.m.
Giant Center

Game 6: (if Necessary)
Sunday, April 26
at Philadelphia 5:05 p.m.
Wachovia Spectrum

Game 7: (if Necessary)
Tuesday, April 28
at HERSHEY 7:00 p.m.
Giant Center

Posted by: irockthered | April 13, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

They may bring Aucoin back up for Wednesday. They may leave him down and let him play for the Bears. We *have* forwards here that can suit up; the Bears need Aucoin for *their* playoff run. That's my figuring on the thought process.

Posted by: irockthered | April 13, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I wish Clark would just take the summer to fully recover. He's not going to be 100%, but Bruce will put him in the lineup anyway.

Posted by: Hatfield223 | April 13, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I want guys on the 4th line that can lay some good hard hits and control and put pressure on the D. Keep teams skating with their heads up..ect.

Brash had 12 hits last year and zero PIM's.

Posted by: SA-Town | April 13, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I liked the idea of having Aucoin in the lineup. He had some pretty strong games. I like the odds against the Rangers but the defence really needs to start playing smarter. Far too much jumping into the play lately. I know the last couple games of the season weren't that important but it's good to go into the playoffs with good habits.

Posted by: Stu_c | April 13, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

12 hits in 21 1/2 periods for a guy whose only job is to hit people? Not impressed, that's why he was invisible after the goal he scored in game 1. Brash has not done his job this season. He has had his worst NHL season only having 1 goal. He is always a step behind the play. He is a liability in our zone. He loses the battle on the boards when HE is supposed to be the one to gain control. On the other hand Aucoin had one bad giveaway, and was last game. At least it didn't result in a goal against. I believe in enforcers but Brash should not be back as the guy next season. The Caps need to find one out there that can still play the game as well. He's still a great fight, but cannot find many dance partners, and again, besides the fighting part of his game, he's a liability.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 13, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Tried to post this here, but whether it was too long or something it didn't work. Anyway, here are my predictions for round 1 with short analysis of each series, if anyone cares:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/155235-stanley-cup-playoffs-first-round-predictions

Was planning to only watch the Caps and Bruins series, but there are just so many great match-ups that I already can tell this won't happen. I'll be in my hockey dungeon for a couple of weeks.

Posted by: ranndino | April 13, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Disappointed that Alzner isn't included in the lineup

Posted by: CapsFan44 | April 13, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I like Aucoin, but if we are counting on an AHL player for scoring and energy in the playoffs, we are already in trouble...Brash needs to play and get into playing condition rather fast, good chance the Rangers game plan will be to get physical, if not, it will be once we drop them in the first two games - we need Brash if that happens, also could be an opponet's game plan in rd 2 IF (series goes at least 6 imo) we advance

Posted by: DnicefromHtown | April 13, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Here are my predictions:

Either the Caps or the Rangers will win. (I hope the Caps win, but I am playing it safe).

Despite of the outcome, the following players will be blamed, cursed, maligned, disparaged, belittle (add your preferred negative adjective to the list) by some of the fans:
Schultz
Jurcina
Morrison
Nylander
Semin
Kozlov

Depending on the outcome the following players may or may not feel the wrath:
Theo
Green
Fleishman
Fehr

The following players will be praised and absolved of any mistakes they might make:
Ovie
Backstrom

As for me? Although I am rooting for the Caps and I hope they go all the way, I will be happy with a competitive series and thankful to the Capitals for providing a great season of good hockey for many of us to enjoy.

Posted by: opita1 | April 13, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Excellent lines. Though I mus say, I liked Fedorov with Ovechkin and Semin, and Backstrom with Flash and Kozlov. That worked wonders against Atlanta.

opita1, please stop spamming your copy and paste.

Posted by: DrAdamson | April 13, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

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