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Theodore set to start vs. Atlanta

Jose Theodore will start in net tonight against the Thrashers as the Caps go for their fifth straight win overall and a season sweep of their division rival.

Tonight's lineup will have a different look as Coach Bruce Boudreau rests some of his veteran players. Based on the morning skate, it looks like forwards Mike Knuble, David Steckel and Matt Bradley and defensemen Tom Poti and John Erskine will be the scratches.

Boudreau didn't show his lines this morning, but if they're the same as yesterday, they should look like this:

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Semin
Laich-Morrison-Fehr
Chimera-Belanger-Fleischmann
Laing-Gordon-Walker

The game will be a big test for Brendan Morrison and Boyd Gordon, both of whom have been out with injuries. Barring any setbacks, Morrison be back in the lineup for the first time in six games and Gordon will suit up for the first time in 11. With only two games left in the regular season, they need to show Boudreau they're fully recovered and ready to contribute in the playoffs.

"More than anything, it's about getting my game conditioning and timing down," said Morrison, who had a goal and five assists in the five games before getting hurt. "Mentally I know I'm there. Physically, now it's just making sure all systems are a go."

Also, Mike Green will return to the lineup after missing two games with a suspected wrist sprain.

Some other notes from KCI:

*Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly will present Alex Ovechkin with the Presidents' Trophy in a pregame ceremony at center ice.

"It's a great accomplishment, it's just not the end all be all," Boudreau said.

*Ovechkin's got his work cut out for him if he wants to claim his third straight Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy and second Art Ross Trophy. Sidney Crosby has 49 goals, one more than Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos. (Crosby actually got to 50 momentarily last night before his second goal was ruled to have deflected in off of Bill Guerin.)

The chase for the Art Ross has also become a three man race now. Henrik Sedin has 108, Ovechkin has 106 and Crosby has 104.

*Boudreau on Karl Alzner and whether he's been motivated by John Carlson's sudden emergence, and if he's got a chance of playing in the playoffs:

"Right now, he's a solid No. 9," Boudreau said.

So that pretty much eliminates Alzner from playing in Washington this postseason unless there are a number of injuries.

"We've got eight guys we've played continually," he added. "We think Karl is going to be a great player for us next year. But right now his job is to worry about getting Hershey to Calder Cup. If we need him, we will not hesitate to use him. We believe in him."

Boudreau also said that Carlson has passed Alzner on the depth chart primarily because Carlson is a righty and Boudreau, as I've mentioned before, is obsessed with having three lefties and three righties on D.

"The dynamic is ...we were using Karl on the right side and he's a left hand shot, and John is a right handed guy, and we like to have three and three whenever possible," Boudreau said. "That's the biggest difference between the two of them, that's it."

*Ovechkin and Alexander Semin did not skate this morning. But they were simply taking their option, Boudreau said.

*If Semin scores No. 40 tonight, that would give the Caps two 40 goal scorers for the first time in since 1988-89, when Dino Ciccarelli, Geoff Courtnall and Mike Ridley all hit the 40 goal plateau.

*Milan Jurcina skated for the first time since having double sports hernia surgery. But He's still "weeks" away from being ready to play, according to Boudreau.

"I just asked him how he felt and he said, 'Fine'," Boudreau added.

I'll check in with a full lineup later.

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By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 9, 2010; 12:04 PM ET
 
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Next: In-game chat: Caps vs. Thrashers

Comments

Crosby has 104

Posted by: CapsandRavens | April 9, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

PRIMUS!

Posted by: Rhino40 | April 9, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

From today's Capitals Notebook:

According to sportsclubstats.com, before Thursday's games there was a 47 percent chance the Capitals face the Bruins, a 22 percent chance they face the Flyers, a 20 percent chance they face the Bruins, and an 11 percent chance they face the Canadians.


Gee, I didn't know that there were two teams called the Bruins--LOL.

Posted by: Rhino40 | April 9, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Like I posted at the end of an earlier thread, I think the numbers for the Richard and Ross are 52 and 112 to win either. If Ovi gets to those (4 goals and 6 points in the last two) he'll win them both. Certainly doable....How about a 4-pt night with a hattie tonight?

Posted by: saintex | April 9, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

The first person at the game should put a sign on the prez cup......"DO NOT TOUCH UNTIL JUNE"

Posted by: RichC3 | April 9, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

"...obsessed with having three lefties and three righties on D."
------------------------------------------

Which, in fact, may explain (like I mentioned before) why McPhee has said repeatedly that Corvo was their top target at the deadline; the only other right-stick D of notice that got moved at the deadline was (I think) Staios... thanks but no thanks

Posted by: igor_k17 | April 9, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

This has to be a dream line-up for the legions of Poti and Erskine bashers out there. :D

Posted by: blackjack65 | April 9, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

OV will have at least two goals tonight and two assists tonight. That line is unstoppable, well, except for BB.

Posted by: nimes1 | April 9, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I am usually against the 8,28,19 line, but for this game i am hoping to see it. I think there will definately be some "too cute" moments, but this is the line they can help each other in. Backstrom can get his 100 points, Semin can get his 40 goals, and Ovi can get his points and goals.

Anyone else think Ovi will get the puck and take more shots than ever tonight?

Posted by: OviFan08 | April 9, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

@RichC3: They've already won it, I expect the jinx doesn't apply. I probably won't touch it, but that's out of respect.

For those of you who are seemingly convinced that the Caps have no chance at the Cup this year as currently configured, THN and a poll of 91 active players begs to differ. I rather suspect that each and every person interviewed knows the game of hockey better than anyone who posts on CI.

There's also a lot of evidence to suggest that the real problem the Caps have isn't the defense at all - it's their PK.

Some of the posters on this board are in a "my mind is made up, don't confuse me with the facts" mode, though. It's a lot of the reason why I don't bother posting here much anymore - arguing with closed-minded people is like teaching a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig. Just remember - there's more than one way to skin this cat, and this Caps team has had the most successful regular season this franchise has ever seen, by any standard. Don't count them out just because they don't fit your narrow mold of what you think a team ought to be. Try to think outside the box and let the numbers speak for themselves, and judge them on that basis. Remember, there are more knowledgeable hockey minds than you out there.

Posted by: kittypawz | April 9, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

@ kittypawz........well said!

Posted by: OviFan08 | April 9, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Yea..dont touch the trophy...no trophy matters except the cup...act like it doesnt exist.

The fans shouldnt even clap...do a "who cares?" yell.

Posted by: SA-Town | April 9, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

That THN article made me smile :)

Posted by: capscoach | April 9, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Pretty amazing that McGuire gave the Caps that much credit.....never hear those sort of comments when they are telivised on NBC and he is on....

Posted by: PhilR | April 9, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

McGuire noticed the same thing that I've said about Theo this year which is he's been standing up more and doesn't go down as early or as often...

Posted by: joek443 | April 9, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

This has to be a dream line-up for the legions of Poti and Erskine bashers out there. :D

Posted by: blackjack65 | April 9, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

are the "legions" that bash poti and erskine the same ones that adore shultz and morrison? i'm not sure this old-time, old-school Caps fan has much in common with the new MCI fans....

Posted by: vermontcaps | April 9, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

That piece of garbage Olczk just said that he gives the edge to Cindy to win the RR.....go figure, huge surprise!!

Posted by: PhilR | April 9, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

That should be "Olczyk"....

Posted by: PhilR | April 9, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Well PhilR, at least you got the piece of garbage part right.

Posted by: _Mark | April 9, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Just announced on NHL live that the President's Trophy will be on display all weekend at Kettler.....anyone have any idead when practive will be tomorrow? Considering taking the trip from Hagerstown.

Posted by: PhilR | April 9, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Man, my typing skills are horrible today!!....."idea" and "practice"

Posted by: PhilR | April 9, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

It'd be great to see Ovi get a few, Semin 2 and Backstrom a couple of points, but I'd really like to see Theo have an awesome night.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 9, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

@PhilR,

on ice @ 11am. The sked is:

10am - game day
10:30am - non game day
11am - day after game

Posted by: saintex | April 9, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

thanks saintex!! Bring my two daughters since we haven't had a chance to catch a game live this year, next best thing and maybe get some autographs for them....

Posted by: PhilR | April 9, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

kittypawz - great post. I'll be honest, I was surprised when I found out a few days ago that the Caps are one of the best teams defensively in 5-on-5 situations. It was that same article you posted a link to, actually. Their offense is the best in the NHL, their defense is great as long as it's not a PK - I think the Caps have to be viewed as a favorite for the Cup.

Posted by: timmyv38 | April 9, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

You would've thought that Mr. Olczyk would've learned from his broadcasting colleague, none other than Mike "Who's your Daddy now" Milbury to *never* underestimate Alexander Ovechkin.

So sad.

Posted by: sandyflee | April 9, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

So if Boston needs a win on Sunday, Does BB have a talk with their coach? Something like, "We'll give you the W, if you let Ovie score 4".

Posted by: jfwil | April 9, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

csn's gonna show Ovie recieving the trophy right? can't wait to see that!!

Posted by: rachel216 | April 9, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Phil,

I used to live about two blocks from KCI but never made it over...work and all. From what I hear, they can be very crowded on weekends and being the playoff run is next, I'd get there early - maybe 10am? I think others have been so maybe they'll have inputs.

Posted by: saintex | April 9, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Hey, maybe over the next few games (or tonight!) we can get a hot stick 50th-goal celebration.

Posted by: saintex | April 9, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the advice....I took my girls for that fan apprciation day a couple years ago and it was an absolute zoo.....hoping it won't be quite so bad tomorrow. Did a mapquest and it takes an hour and a half to get there from here so we are leaving at 7:30 and then camp out in the parking lot to try and catch players going in for autographs.....

Posted by: PhilR | April 9, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Check out this article about Ovie from the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/11/magazine/11Ovechkin-t.html?pagewanted=1

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | April 9, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Olcyzk said he gives Crosby the edge in the race to the Richard Trophy probably because theses guys all take the safe picks. Crosby is leading today by one goal - its safest to give him the edge......plus he doesnt face a good goalie in the last 2 games.

A common beef I have with journalists who make picks is they always go with "safe". they picked Boston and San Jose to win their conferences, and picked Detroit and Pittsburgh to go back to the Finals. They so often just re-wrire last years results as their predictions.

I also shudder when they pick good teams to win playoff series in 6 games. 6 games rarely happens - its either a close 7 games or a cakewalk for someone. Yet they take 6 games because it does not insult the favorite or the runnerup.

If they are picking 6 games it better be an upset - like Golden State over Dallas that year in the NBA...nobody ever picked that one!

It would defy probability if Crosby stunk it up 2 games and let both OV and Stamkos pass him - but then who expected him to bust out with 4 points last night.... not olcyzk!

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | April 9, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Kittypawz, you rock! You've said what I've been thinking for a few days after reading this blog.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | April 9, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone else see that Ponikorosky from the pens got suspended for two games for a hit from behind in last nights game? Does this mean he's a dirty player?

Posted by: jwash4472 | April 9, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

BTW does anyone know why the trophy is called the President's Trophy?

as far as I know the head of the NHL is called a commissioner since Bettman took over so the president of what exactly??

Posted by: joek443 | April 9, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

And do you thing Bruce is loading up by putting Semin with Ovie and Backie?????

Posted by: CB28031 | April 9, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

To begin with, it's the Presidents' Trophy (plural). Don't know why otherwise.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 9, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

So, I was Sonyask. I changed my username. It's a Wilco reference.

Posted by: Justafan | April 9, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

So...if Karl Alzner is going to be solid for them next year, then what three current roster players are going to be let go in the off season to allow that to happen, he asked him expectantly...

Posted by: aybee27 | April 9, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

LOL now that makes even less than it did before... the Presidents' Trophy, huh

I just assumed the name was carried over from the days when the head of the NHL was called president

Posted by: joek443 | April 9, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

they're let Corvo go, send Sloan down to Hershey where he belongs so Alzner will have to beat out Erskine which won't be so hard...

Posted by: joek443 | April 9, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

The Presidents' Trophy became plural because the original name, The President's Trophy, at the request of the NHL was edited by the Washington Post.

For some reason, I think it was named after all the presidents in Bolivia.

The real name used to be NHL League Champions, but the NHL Board of Governors, in what appears to be only their desire to congratulate themselves in 1985/6 changed the name to the Presidents' Trophy - thus, the plural name.

If I were the owner of the Caps, I would post a banner that says: NHL League Champions. Your team beat all the others in the league, they did not just win a little tournament trophy.


Posted by: hock1 | April 9, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

send Sloan down to Hershey where he belongs
-------------------------------------------

agreed, unless $700K is all we can fit under the cap for the 7th D... or even 6th - but that would mean both Flash and Fehr would have been so awesome in the Cup run that they both earned huge raises... in which case I'll take it!

joking aside, Sloan's biggest asset may be his salary - not easy to find a serviceable D for that kind of money.

Posted by: igor_k17 | April 9, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

@aybee27: Shamo is probably not going to be around next year.

Posted by: ccCapsfan | April 9, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Kitty...good to see your comments. You always make alot of sense. My concern for "our" Caps to go far in the playoffs is their defense, or lack of. But, then again, they keep winning, don't they? I think that during the playoffs, their lack of a strong D-man, one able to clear the crease, put a guy or two down when it counts, will come back to bite them. I just can't have confidence in a team that relys on their GOALIE to push guys out of the crease! Why does it seem that we're the only team that lets two...two...forwards in our crease without anybody touching them?? Why are we SO passive on the PK? Why is it that when Bergeron came over, HE mentioned that our PK scheme cannot be successful? Just so difficult to believe that Coach BB's philosophy of "offense, offense, offense, will get us the cup, when historically, "defense, defense, defense" wins the cup[...each and every year??

Posted by: scmonty1 | April 9, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

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