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Quick Morning Update (Updated)

One day after Tyler Sloan and Sean Collins were reassigned to Hershey, all of the Caps' the injured defensemen -- Tom Poti, John Erskine, Jeff Schultz (and Brian Pothier) -- are on the ice for the team practice.

Sergei Fedorov is also out there after missing the 5-4 loss in Montreal to rest his ailing ankle. Boyd Gordon, though, is not skating, presumably because of the back spasms that kept him out of the past two games.

The lines, by the way, look like this:


Update:Looks like Erskine and Schultz will indeed be back in the lineup tomorrow. Poti, though, is going to need more time. Coach Bruce Boudreau skated the players pretty hard after practice, but Poti did not participate. Poti isn't eligible to come off LTIR until Wednesday, but it could be longer.

I'll have more after practice.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  January 12, 2009; 10:29 AM ET
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Next: Erskine Set to Return



What's the D look like? Does Alzner look to be the odd man out, or is it someone else?

Posted by: oldtimehockey | January 12, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I watched Feds skate last Sunday, and he looked like he was still in real pain. Did he come back too soon again?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 12, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

No Chris Clark?

Posted by: amatytsin | January 12, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I'm still not sure what Fehr is still doing there? I'd like to see Oskala on that wing.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 12, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Give Fehr time, Osala did not show much while he was up here. He needs some more time in the A. Next year he may make the jump though!

Posted by: amatytsin | January 12, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I wonder what's up with Gordon's back to be causing what seems to be such frequent (and severe) problems.

Posted by: RedBirdie | January 12, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

fehr has had enough time to produce and hasn't. eric fehr = boom outta here

Posted by: _stevo | January 12, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

nit-picking cuz I love BB, but I don't get why insists on overloading the top line, especially since it's been such a dominant force this year (and last!) with Koz alongside Ovie and Backie. Feds and Semin have demonstrated chemistry ever since Feds came up and I think he pushes Semin's play to another level.

and, somewhat related note, I could not agree more with Japers' take on the powerplay this morning. check it out if you haven't already. my sentiments exactly.


Posted by: MTB7 | January 12, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

that is...*ever since Feds "arrived"* (not "came up")

Posted by: MTB7 | January 12, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Personally I wonder why Brash is still in the line up after the last few games. Do we value dumb plays? Do we need someone who turns every puck possession into an adventure? Put him on LTIR for brain damage after Montreal!

Posted by: majiksea | January 12, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Fehr has been a healthy scratch in favor of Clark on a number of occasions and usually plays on the third line. They gave Flash the whole year last season and he's only breaking through now. Fehr may not become a 40-goal getter, but I see him being a 20+ goal guy who can crash the net (he needs to start doing this more) in the future. Prospects require patience (more than 30+ games).

Posted by: amatytsin | January 12, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Am I the only one who thinks the top line should be Ovie, Backstrom and Kozlov? I really like Semin on that second line and Kozlov just seems to be much better on the top line. Thoughts......

Posted by: capsfansince74 | January 12, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

sorry folks, Clark is on the fourth line.

Posted by: el_bashir | January 12, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Just read MTB's post who seems to agree with mine. Maybe I'm not the only one. I also agree with Majiksea about Brashear. I would sit him for at least a game until he realizes these stupid penalties are not acceptable. down 2 to 0 on Friday with about 5 minutes left and he takes a 4 minute penalty. Should have sat saturday.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | January 12, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Kozlov really brings it when he's on the first line. I like him there.

Posted by: _jordan | January 12, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

What's the pulse of my fellow Cap fans regarding Semin on the same line as Ovie? I think there isn't enough pucks to go around then. I like having Ovie, Semin and Flash on separate lines. 3 pure goal scorers on different lines with 3 pure assist guys in Backs, Feds, and Nyls. Opposing teams would cringe at that lineup... if they don't already!

Posted by: dsphvywght | January 12, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse


Same could be said about Juice then. Look at Saturday night with 26 seconds left. He was looking at his feet...for the puck which game them the game ending point.

Posted by: RedRocker | January 12, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I'll chime in with the rest of y'all to say that the top line is starting to frustrate me. I think splitting up 8 and 28 (as well as splitting up 91 and 25) makes more sense. To my outsider's eyes.

Posted by: jen-s | January 12, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I agree totally with Koz on the top line and Semin on the 2nd line. I think they play around and get too cute with OV and Semin on the top line.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | January 12, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse


Fehr is where Flash was last year, but much stronger on the puck. I think next year Fehr will breakout the way Flash has this year. It is just too soon to give up on him.

Posted by: TJ91 | January 12, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse


I disagree. Juice made an effort to try to stop that puck, then again Johnson should have stopped that shot. So, Brash committed dumb penalties in not comparable with Juice's fluke play on that last goal (in my opinion).

Posted by: RITdude | January 12, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Correction: *is not comparable

Posted by: RITdude | January 12, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Johnny let in a pair of stinkers in that game, as much as it pains me to say it.

Posted by: _jordan | January 12, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to see Semin move to Fed's line. Kozlov is pretty good but isn't enough to make the second line very dangerous. Swapping Semin and Kozlov givess two really strong lines. Wouldn't mind seeing Fleischmann and Laich switched as well. I don't really see the 2nd and 3rd lines producing a lot of offense or being used to shut down Edmonton's top line either. But I'll trust Bruce knows what he's doing. Maybe they'll put Fedorov against Edmonton's top line and didn't want to stick Semin on a shutdown line. But if that was the case Clark would probably be on the wing, Kozlov on 3, and Bradley on 4, Fehr scratched.

Posted by: Stu_c | January 12, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

ah the glorious return of the sexy lumberjack

Posted by: _stevo | January 12, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Bets on whether or not Easy E clears the puck over the boards in his first game back?

Posted by: _jordan | January 12, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Re: the top 2 lines...

Is it possible that it *isn't* the Ovechkin-Backstrom-Semin line that Boudreau is trying to jump-start, but the Laich-Fedorov-Kozlov line?

We ALL know Ovechkin-Backstrom-Semin can score goals. Sure, Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov works well, too... but is putting Kozlov with *Laich* what Boudreau is doing here, perhaps?

I'm not BB, so I don't know what's up his sleeve, but that seems a possibility to me right there... Maybe it *isn't* all about Ovechkin and Backstrom here. Just my .02 worth. Thoughts?

Posted by: irockthered | January 12, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

fehr has had enough time to produce and hasn't.

He's barely played a full season's equivalent and just turned 23 a couple months ago. Not everyone is like 8 and 19, where they can step in from the jump and contribute right away.

Posted by: Section117 | January 12, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I hope Poti gets better sooner rather than later...We need him much more than Erskine + Schultz

Posted by: amatytsin | January 12, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Brash takes some dumb penalties at times, but Broll turtled. He's the supposed tough guy for the Blue Jackets and he did everything but try to climb over the glass to get away from Brash.

I personally would rest him maybe ever 10 games or so, if the other team isn't terribly physical. There's a few teams that meet that criteria.

And, I believe it was the Philly game where the Brash/Brads and Steckel (or Gordo, I forget), that was a real spark plug and they got extra shifts as a result.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | January 12, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I would really like to see semin back on the second line, giving the team a more balanced attack. As for feds...he still seems to be struggling.

Posted by: dingram3 | January 12, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Also puzzled with the 8-19-28 line. 8-19-25 was working so well. When Kozlov passes to set up Ovi or Nick it is after he has been battling for the puck and using his size. I just don't see Semin doing that. Personally, I would like to have the top line back and have a 21-91-28 line. (Realize I may have 21 and 28 on the wrong side).

Would rather see #4 make his first start back against Edmonton than the Pens. Personally, I am worried though about his lack of speed and propensity for penalties. Right now with Gordo out we are not as solid in the PK area.

Posted by: Kim-3 | January 12, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Also a little surprised with the Bradley/Clark positioning. But Brads did have a most excellent assist the other night.

Were they working on the PP at practice today? Was the PP unit shuffled a bit?

Posted by: Kim-3 | January 12, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

hope everyone is starting to see my point. We need to hang in there until the end of February!

Is anyone more excited than me about the beginning of the stretch run?

Looking Ahead: Really really Good News (update)-- no worries when you check out this schedule.

The last 21 games of the season the Caps schedule includes:

13 games against division foe
4 against Atlanta
3 against Tampa
3 against Florida
3 against carolina (2 at home)

2 games against the Maple Leafs

1 against the Bruins (A)
1 against the Penguins (H)
1 against the Flyers (A)
1 against the Predators (A)
1 against the Sabers (H)
1 against the Islanders (A)

Looking good for the stretch rush to rush back Poti and Feds.

Posted by: windjammersouth | January 12, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I agree with keeping Semin seperate from the 1st line. Kozlov keeps some size on that 1st line, especially always up against the opponents top D-men.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 12, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I agree Fehr needs more time to develop...which is why he would be perfect in Hershey to do so.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 12, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

What excuse do we have for Clark?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 12, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

If one agrees that BJ1 let in a couple soft ones then the other three were quality goals. We win on those three quality goals - and BJ1 made a ton of great saves to keep the game close. I think he had a pretty good night and I'm no lover of our goalies this season.

Posted by: saintex | January 12, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Tarik (or someone else), just don't understand what happened friday night with Gordon.

According to what I have read, he hurt himself during pregame skate. If he was hurt and couldn't go why didn't Fehr or Nylander dress for the game? It wasn't like they were in Montreal and Fehr or Nylander couldn't get to the rink in time, they were in Washington.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | January 12, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I think there is a good reason to play the big guns together. As solid as the top line is with Kozlov, I think it struggles against the best teams when these teams make a concerted effort to shut it down (Philly with Timmonen, Coburn and their 2-way forwards comes to mind). And in those tight 1-1 games, you need an absolute hammer of a line to break through, while the rest of the team slugs it out in trench warfare. So, Ovechkin, Backstrom and Semin need to learn how to play effectively together, even if it means plenty of these "too cute" games while they mature. With more playoff experience, they will eventually cut out the extra cuteness, and then they will be pretty unstoppable.

And regarding Fehr -- I'm all for patience. Fehr has looked very good, IMO, in most facets of the game. And he has the finishing pedigree, so I believe next season they will really start going in for him. For now, our standings allow us to be patient -- so, we should be patient with our young players.

Posted by: VladG | January 12, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse


I was wondering about this myself. Teams make "game time decisions" all the time about who's a scratch and who's not. The only thing I can think of with Gordo is that at the time the rosters were due, there was hope Gordo would play and by the time it was clear he wouldn't, it was too late. Just a guess.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | January 12, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse


that is exactly what Tarik posted in a previous blog, that they were unaware that Gordo couldn't go until rosters were submitted.

So either someone was keeping an injury from the team, or someone dropped the ball, assumed everyone was healthy and submitted rosters early.

Posted by: FFSEnough | January 12, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

TSN's Darren Dreger reported Monday the Montreal Canadiens have shown strong interest in acquiring Lecavalier and have offered Chris Higgins and possibly Tomas Plekanec as part of a big package. A source told on Monday the Habs have "caught Tampa's attention."

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 12, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

ldtime & Freakin,

BB said in his post game interview that the roster had already been submitted and couldn't be changed. Guess it really was a last minute flare up of Gordo's back....

Posted by: PhilR | January 12, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

No Alzner on the Young Stars roster.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 12, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Re Fehr in Hershey:
He's done all he can there. His game (physical play and finishing) will only improve if he plays at the NHL level. That's what he needs right now.

Posted by: amatytsin | January 12, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

We need to trade Brooks Laich based upon this interview.|NHL|home

Posted by: Greg S. | January 12, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Personally I would like to see him stick to SOMETHING with us now mostly healthy. I think the only question about Semin being on the 1st or 2nd is "Is that were he wants to be?". Should this matter? Hell no. Does it matter where he is concerned? I think so. I think he loves to play with his best buddy and if they are kept together they are going to be lethal. The second line consisting of Flash-Feds-Kozlov is a legit scoring threat. I still would like to see Steckel-Fehr kept together, and I dont care about the rest. But whatever BB comes up with, stick with it, lets get some good looks at chemistry going into the playoffs.

Posted by: WTF_Fehr | January 12, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

@Greg S.

Why? Jessica Biel is fine choice. The rest sounds pretty Canadian?

Posted by: WTF_Fehr | January 12, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse


What year did you graduate?

Posted by: FFSEnough | January 12, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone else still feeling sick thinking about this past weekends games? I usually get over a loss pretty quickly- but that Habs game...

Posted by: Fro_ | January 12, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I still get queasy thinking about the Backstrom own goal and Brashear six-minute penalty that caused the lots weekend last March. Plus the OT game vs Filthy in the playoffs. Actually I still can't hardly think about the Jets beating the Baltimore Colts and the Mets over the Orioles in 1969. To be honest the loss to the English in 1812 still has me a bit bummed even though I wasn't born.

I thought before the season and posted that the Caps would end up with 110 pts and with the SE Crown. That means there are 54 pts they won't get. This weekend was 4 of those. Nothing has changed.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 12, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov have been great as a unit. WHy mess with their chemistry and put Semin up there, and then have little secondary scoring?

IMO we need the following top 6:


Posted by: DrAdamson | January 12, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

8 - 19 - 25
21 - 91 - 28
14 - 92 -17

Someone has to go to the friggin' net, especially on the PP. I would break up the elite guys on the PP and add Laich to the first PP unit (which sometimes happens) and Clark to the 2nd.

Posted by: ds_kelly | January 12, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Based on the way the D has played and all the changes that are being made... I'm getting a bit nervous...

But I have Faith... we'll see what tomorrow brings...

Posted by: -19- | January 12, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget the Knicks beat the Baltimore Bullets in the playoffs in 1969 as well, but not in the finals.

Personally, as a native Buffalonian (therefore an AFL fan), I was thrilled to see the Jets win SB III. That October, when the Jets were the champs, I got to visit the Jets locker room and chatted with Joe Namath, Matt Snell (who scored the Jets' only TD in SB III), Don Maynard and many others.

Joe B

Posted by: rw-c | January 12, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I agree guys, OBK should be our top line heading into the playoffs. Semin-Feds-whoever on line 2 (I'd favor Laich).

Posted by: DrAdamson | January 13, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

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