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Semin returns to top line (updated)

The Caps just hit the ice here at KCI and Bruce Boudreau has made some changes to accommodate the return of Alexander Semin.

Semin, who has missed the past two games with a combination of injury and illness, according to the team, is back on the top line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.

Boudreau has also restored the second line to the way it looked at the start of the season, with Brooks Laich-Brendan Morrison-Mike Knuble skating together in gray jerseys.

Meantime, Eric Fehr, who was hit hard in the ribs midway through the first period Saturday, has left the ice.

Update: Fehr has returned and looks fine. Might have been an equipment issue.

Also, Boyd Gordon and Tomas Fleischmann are not out there. So that presumably means Gordon is still sidelined with a back injury and Fleischmann remains with Hershey on a conditioning stint.

I'll have more after practice.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  October 26, 2009; 10:30 AM ET
 
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Next: Boudreau: Green is 'sore'

Comments

good to hear Semin's back... hopefully that top line will start producing. How weird was it seeing Brads up there?

Posted by: Chad8 | October 26, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Since the time Ovi has given Eric Fehr his stick, he stopped scoring.

Eric, give the stick back to Ovi, please.

Posted by: CodePoetry | October 26, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

YAY...hope to see Semin on the ice tomorrow! Maybe he will give this team a kick in the pants! They need to play simple hockey and get back to basics! We aren't playing the Islanders tomorrow and we need to show up in a big way! The Flyers lost on home ice last night, so they are going to be fighting for the win! I believe...Let's Go Caps!

Posted by: NatyBG | October 26, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Fehr has returned and looks fine. Might have been an equipment issue.

He stole another stick in a locker room from Ovi.

Posted by: CodePoetry | October 26, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

@NatyBG - The day we start looking to Alexander Semin to lead the team playing "simple hockey," we are in very serious trouble! ;-)

In all seriousness - I'm glad he's back; he does play well on the top line with Backstrom and Ovechkin. What I'd like to see, though, is:

Ovechkin-BMo-Knuble
Laich-Backstrom-Semin

for a few more games. And I bet I will.

Posted by: irockthered | October 26, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

@CodePoetry - *snicker*

Stick thief! ;-)

Now, if Fehr starts breaking sticks as often as Ovechkin does, we will have to start blaming the sticks!

Re: Today's Lines - One practice does NOT a game-time lineup make in the Amazing World of Bruce Boudreau!

Posted by: irockthered | October 26, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully Semin will also give a boost to the PP - can't get much worse than 0.00% over the last two games (although I guess we could give up a few more shorties).

Posted by: hook99 | October 26, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Tarik,
I have a question that I must ask. When you click on the Capitals/NHL link on the main page, it brings you to the blog. The current picture is of Ovechkin during the Islanders game. In that picture it looks as if Ovechkin is trying to skate away (from either streit or martinek). The defender has his right arm on Ovechkin's shoulder, and his left arm holding the stick that is clearly "hooked" around Ovechkin's waist. Now, I go to all of the home games and watch all of the away games. Though at times I can be a little bias, I can also admit when a penalty should have been called on the Caps. I know they get away with plenty of stuff, but it has also been a trend recently to hand away the game due to calls in the end of the third period. So, in the case of this picture, it shows what could be called a hold (a lame one at that), but it definitely shows a hook, one that the Caps have been called on several times! Is anyone within the Capitals organization letting their voice be heard on these inconsistencies? I know it is not just against us as well. Watching several games throughout the league, there are definite inconsistencies.

Thanks for all of the great reporting!

Posted by: capsfan55 | October 26, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

On the other thread: Good old Don Cherry, at least he wears his nativism on his sleeve (or coat). Toews gets clobbered and he should get up because he's a good Canadian boy. He said of one of the other players that he didn't know how to pronounce his name (translation: not a Canadian). He at least says good things about OV because he's not prissy (like the two Swedes he went after for scoring while a fight is going on). I think you have to separate dangerous from dirty. OV's play dangerous, but clearly a muscling. His hit on Heward- same thing. Gonchar may have been dirty, but whatever. Richards might be in the same category. Perhaps when they re-do the CBA they should raise the fine limit so that dirty plays get suspended and dangerous get fined $10K-20K.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | October 26, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

It seems as if BB recovered from the Skins flu, he is reuniting a line that shouldn't have been broken on the first place. Nice to know that.
OV-Backs-Semin at their age and the way they mesh together should provide the Caps with one of the most powerful lines in the history of hockey.
Knuble and Morrison are very good players but they are only a short time relief in terms of years. I like Laich but he needs to be replaced with a scorer to complete the Knuble-morrison line, that is other than one of the guys on the top line.


Posted by: hock1 | October 26, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Kings rule.

:)

Posted by: richmondphil | October 26, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I like Laich but he needs to be replaced with a scorer to complete the Knuble-morrison line, that is other than one of the guys on the top line.


Posted by: hock1 | October 26, 2009 11:38 AM

Laich had more goals last year playing on our third line than most 2nd liners did across the league.

Posted by: richmondphil | October 26, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Semin needs to learn how to play through injuries and illnesses. Unless he had H1N1 and had a horrendous injury there is no way he should have missed the past two games. He seems to do this every season, especially early on. I know he dealt with a high ankle sprain at one point which is hard to play through. But he needs to toughen up and play through the pain like others on the team do. I'll quote Gabby on Backstrom "He play's tough and physical but doesn't let it stop him from playing. There have been times he could hardly walk but he was still out there playing". Semin, this team needs you if we're going to make a Cup run this year.

Posted by: mlewis31 | October 26, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

The OV/Semin and Laich/Knuble lines are just dumb. So the first line consists of two snipers, and the second line is two net crashers. One would think that you'd want a sniper on one side and a net crasher on the other. This should be the formula that works, especially against a team like Philthy. What is BB thinking?

Posted by: Unleash_The_Caps | October 26, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

This isn't nhl 10.

Posted by: richmondphil | October 26, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

8-19-28 can be great when they are hitting on all cylinders, but they can get way to cute. Also, none of them are net crashers. When they start getting too cute and not putting the puck on net, BB breaks them up for awhile.

Problem with 21-9-22 is that Laich and Knuble are both net crashers. When Flash comes back, he'll go to 2nd line and Laich will go to 3rd. Having Knuble is good for Brooksie - good person for him to model his game after.

Posted by: hook99 | October 26, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

@mlewis31:
I'd rather have him miss two games now, early in the season, than try to "play through it" and end up making himself worse and having the injury/illness drag on for a month.

Posted by: tess2201 | October 26, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Laich had more goals last year playing on our third line than most 2nd liners did across the league.

Posted by: richmondphil | October 26, 2009 11:39 AM

I understand, and I like Laich very much, my comment wasn't so much a critique on his play but an observation on the make-up of the line. BB should give them more time playing together but he seems to be quick to change, I just wish he didn't disrupt the ov-backs=semin line which has a great and long future for this team.

Posted by: hock1 | October 26, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

From last thread:

LOL. At least you didn't do something lame like ask him to autograph your grocery list!

Posted by: tess2201 | October 26, 2009 11:03 AM

Haha!

If I asked him to do that, I would have fully expected him to drag me inside the store and promptly shoulder check me into the glass doors of the frozen pizza section.


@LeftCoast

Thanks for the vote of conifidence. Although, I think I am now going to sit down and compose a list of one-liners to memorize in the event I ever have the chance to interact with one of them again. Of course as we all know, it doesn't matter what you say- as it's all in the delivery.

Posted by: Fro_ | October 26, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Currently, the Caps definitely need Laich on the 2nd line to help balance it out although I still questin why Knuble isn't on the 1st line with Ovie and Backstrom. He's the grinder in front of the net who scores the 'dirty goals' and helps create space for Ovie and Backstom.

As for scoring, I think Laich can be a 25-30 goal scorer this year playing with a good passing center like Morrisson. Not to mention he's probably the best two-way player on our Top 2 lines.

Posted by: wizfan89 | October 26, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

@Fro_:

Which Harris Teeter? If it's the one near my house I might just start grocery shopping, and take that dreaded task from my husband....

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | October 26, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure it's Ballston Harris Teeter - people see Caps players in there all the time.

As for Fehr using one of "Ovechkin's sticks" I thought it was one of the sticks from the Ovechkin line. Not one of Ovie's personal stash.

Fehr can't handle the curve.

Posted by: CapsChick | October 26, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

BB is a great coach, but sometimes I wish he would keep the lines together awhile to let them gel and gain consistency.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | October 26, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I like Laich but he needs to be replaced with a scorer to complete the Knuble-morrison line, that is other than one of the guys on the top line.


Posted by: hock1 | October 26, 2009 11:38 AM

Laich had more goals last year playing on our third line than most 2nd liners did across the league.

Posted by: richmondphil | October 26, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse


I like Flash taking Laich's place on the 2nd line once he's back in shape. Then we put Laich and Fehr on the 3rd and the 3rd starts to look a lot better than it has been so far this year...

Posted by: butcherbaker | October 26, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

@irockthered:

I was not saying that Semin would lead us to play "simple hockey"...I was saying maybe he would revive this team with his return. They were 2 separate observations, and I agree that Semin has no idea how to play a simple game of hockey!

@Fro_:

I have seen a couple of Caps out in the real world and I know how you feel. I usually say nothing and don't make eye contact...it makes for a less akward situation. I once approached Neuvy outside of an eatery (last year when he was up playing for us)and talked to him about an upcoming game he would be playing in. We chatted for a few and he seemed unphased by the whole thing. But, my husband told me I was creepy and he thought Neuvy was polite because he was scared I would try and hurt him. I would like to believe he wasn't scared of a woman in her late 20s stopping to wish him luck...but you never know!

Posted by: NatyBG | October 26, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

@mlewis31 Have you seen Backstrom in the last 2 games? He needed to sit out.

Posted by: ablake70 | October 26, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

people who come on here and criticize about all the line combinations are like the skins fans who complain about play selections... neither of those things really do NOT matter as some of you people think they do.

just plain old EXECUTION matters a whole lot more than any of those things.

Posted by: joek443 | October 26, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

@NatyBG - I know you weren't; I was joking, hence the ;-) remark. I agree he might help with the kick in the pants department... if he isn't being kicked in his own pants, that is. ;-)

Posted by: irockthered | October 26, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

@DevilsCapsGal

It was indeed Ballston


@NatyBG

I always sort of wondered what the protocol was for approaching players (or anyone famous for that matter). Seems to me as long as you don't blow up their spot (which I didn't, and sounds like you didn't either) then I think they're probably cool with some quick chit chat.

Posted by: Fro_ | October 26, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

If line combos didn't matter, they wouldn't be changed so often.

Posted by: Unleash_The_Caps | October 26, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

line combos are just temporary means to shake things up in a game, just like trick plays in football they serve their purpose.

but at the end of the day no matter what combination of lines, everyone has to do their job and execute... you can call the perfect play in football but if someone misses an assignment, it's not gonna work.

Posted by: joek443 | October 26, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

BB's line combo changes most often occur during practice. it is to the teams advantage to have as many combo's get to know each other so that when a player is out (see semin, or goes down during a game) that the lines on the ice are not completely unfamiliar with each other. if BB feels that particular line or lines are playing well together in practice, then you are likely to see that during a game. it also allows him to change up the lines in a game without wondering how they'll do together

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 26, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

@ Fro_: Please share whatever one liners you come up with. Definitely would help those of us with impaired social skills around our favorite players. =)

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | October 26, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

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