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Theodore set to start vs. Panthers

Sorry for the late post today, but wireless and cellular service are both extremely hard to come by here at BankAtlantic Center.

So let me catch you up on the basics: Goaltender Jose Theodore will get his second straight start against the Panthers as Alex Ovechkin serves the first of a two-game suspension.

Tomas Fleischmann will replace Ovechkin on the left side of the top line. Ovechkin, meanwhile, is expected to be joined by David Steckel, Scott Walker, Tom Poti and John Erskine as the scratches.

I've got some video reaction to Ovechkin's suspension from Coach Bruce Boudreau as well as the two-time MVP, who answered only three questions before the interview was cut off by a media relations staffer. So stay tuned for those.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 16, 2010; 12:53 PM ET
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Next: Alex Ovechkin on suspension: 'I was disappointed with the NHL's decision'


Flash getting top line minutes..interesting.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 16, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Whoa..why the hell is Steckel scratched?

And Praise Allah...he scratched Poti.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 16, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised that Theo gets a second straight start. Hard to believe that Bruce has already determined his playoff goalie, but he might be just looking at the schedule ahead and seeing where Theo and Varly fit. Nonetheless, Varly could use the starts.

Steckel out is another surprise after he had such a standout game and game winning board work/assist Sunday.

And Sloan's back in.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 16, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Laing must be in for Steckel...

I don't like sitting Stecks, but nice to see Laing get a shot to play.

Posted by: adamkatzen | March 16, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Steckel has been nothing short of phenomenal the past 2 games. He has been the best 4th liner by far.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 16, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

2 in a row sitting for Walker. I guess we know where he stands.

Posted by: adamkatzen | March 16, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Theo has obviously been our playoff goalie for a month now. The guy's been playing great. Varly's below .900 since coming back and he would have had to have been amazing to unseat Theo after the run he's had since January. This is Theo's year. Varly will have his big chance next year.

Posted by: butcherbaker | March 16, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

boudreau at this point knows his lines going into playoffs...and sitting someone like dave steckel allows him to at least keep other guys somewhat fresh.

i think come 4/14 or so we'll see:


gotta admit though having no. 9, 24, 53, 4, 23, 89 on the reserve HUGE amounts of depth in many facets for a long run

Posted by: carsonspence | March 16, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Good opportunity to get Stecks the rest. No need to read anything else into his being scratched.

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 16, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

That's what the media relations guy told Ovi to say. This is what he read in his mind;

"Hi...I am sorry for hit. Hope Campbell get back team soon. I play honor with. I play fierce with. I play sick. No injury Campbell for intended. I hope I return to team soon and score goal."

Posted by: richmondphil | March 16, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I dont know if Theo is our playoff goalie just yet

I give him MAD PROPS for staunching the bleeding at 3-0 against the Hakws, but he maybe, probably shouldve had that 3rd one...I see him getting these 2 in a row, then Varly getting 2 in a row, then each gets 3 in a row, and then pick one, which leaves about 8 games left on the year, which should be plenty of time for one of them to get in a real, good rhythm...

Stecks is awesome, PLAY CHIMERA on the 1st line, not Flash, i want to see Flash build some rapport with whoever he is going to be playing with...

Posted by: cotelloer | March 16, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse


Makes a lot of sense, and I hope you're right. Glad I'm not the only one who'd rather see BMo sit. One comment: I hope this 12 + 6 is in effect well before the playoffs. We've seen the last 3 weeks what happens when you sit different guys each game, and they need time (2 weeks?) to mesh.

Posted by: wotansdad | March 16, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

the instant we traded for Scott Walker I said that it would be a good trade only if he really fit into Boudreau's plans. And apparently he doesn't. There is no way that Scott Walker is viewed by this team as an everyday player because if he was, he'd play every game between now and the playoffs so he could acclimate to our system. Too bad, but Walker is a very non-Boudreau and frankly, non-McPhee type of player. He's just too tough for our lineup.

I'm hoping the reason Steckel is sitting is to get some rest. I can't imagine even BB is stupid enough to think Steckel is not an everyday player for us.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 16, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

and of course Flash, the coach's pet, who has stunk it up the past few games gets to play on the top line. Excellent

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 16, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

What does Corvo have to do to be a healthy?

Posted by: CapsandRavens | March 16, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

@cotelloer -- Theo has been at around .920 since January. He's looked very solid in almost every game. Boudreau knows what he's doing.

Posted by: butcherbaker | March 16, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Do you think McPhee has the cojones to admit he made a mistake? Please. There's so much double standard here its not funny. McPhee and Boudreau will do everything possible to keep Corvo in the lineup, not because they think he gives them the best chance of winning but because they want to save face that their apparent "top trade target" is not a defensive liability. Corvo will have to run up like a ridiculously high minus number in a short amount of time to end up as a healthy scratch. McPhee will try and save face and Boudreau will cover his butt for him. There's a lot of politics that occurs at this level and certain players will get more leeway then they should based on the circumstances under which they were acquired. It happens with draft choices, it happens with players you trade for. It should be based solely on performance but its not.

Its easier to scratch a Scott Walker who didn't cost us anything than to scratch your top trade acquisition.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 16, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1...Please relax, the Caps are 5-2 since the trade deadline, not exactly a shinking ship...the trades were for depth in case of a long playoff run....Walker is a depth player, I like him but frankly the 4th line of Steckel, Gordon & Bradley has shown more energy together than with him in the lineup...Flash on 1st line is a no brainer, that way the 2nd & 3rd line stay together some what, if we had OV palyting Chimera would probably drop to 4th line...ther eis now way Chimera is a 1st liner, I love how he plays but he doesn't have the finishing skill or hands that Flash does...Corvo has played 6 games (avg TOI=over19 min/game), looked a little out of sync at times I agree, but is a collective -1 over those games with 2 assists & some good work on the PK, I don't think the GM or coach are justifying anything, he missed 28 games earlier in the season, he needs to play to get back to top form for the playoffs...Steckel-it's his turn to sit, Bradley & Gordon sat, Fehr sat after three strong games with two goals in those games, Coach has a rotation going, and my prediction is that by the PIT game on the 24th we will start to see a set lineup heading toward the playoffs...but we now have some good NHL depth in case of injury or poor play

Posted by: boomer44 | March 16, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Bradley > Walker

that's it
Walker is a nice, little insurance policy though...

CHIMERA...that guy needs to learn a move around the net and he would be unstoppable...if only there were some skilled players on the caps who could teach him one or two...IF ONLY...

Posted by: cotelloer | March 16, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

They're not going to sit Corvo because he's still learning the system and with Poti out this is a good opportunity to see what kind of chemistry he has with the other guys.

As much as I'd like to undo the trade, bottom line is he's on the team now and there's nothing we can do to change that. I just wish they'd stop trying to sell him to us fans. Let his play speak for itself.

Posted by: letsgocaps3 | March 16, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Whoever said Flash has stunk it up lately either hasn't been paying attention, or simply doesn't know much about hockey. Trying to be charitable but that's crazy, he's easily our 5th best forward, if not 4th.

Posted by: govtimbo | March 16, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I have read so many comments I can't even remember who said what. So let me just say that I agree with you that Boudreau has not likely decided a playoff goalie. And I'm sure he's not playing Theo instead of Varly due to the loss against Dallas. He said in his press conference that the loss was not Varly's fault and that the whole team had a "hiccup" in the 3rd period. that having been said, lets keep in mind that the media likes to play these things up. They did the same thing to Theo back in the fall when he was playing so inconsistently. At that time Varly was amazing and the media has forgotten both of those facts. Boudreau knows how to look at the big picture. He knows what Varly is capable of and if you all will recall, he put Varly in net for the semifinals last season after playing only 6 games in the regular season. I believe that if Varly continues to play more games during the remainder of the season, he'll get his groove back. That would mean we'd have 2 top notch goal tenders ready to go for the playoffs. Who knows what Boudreau will do in that case. He may decide to use both of them in the playoffs. It may be unusual, but there's no rule against it. Since goalies play the entire game and there are often back to back games in the playoffs, this could prove to be an effective strategy.

Posted by: hockeyholic | March 16, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

5 forwards playing better than Flash right now: Ovechkin, Backstrom, Knuble, Semin, Laich. I would even say Fehr has played better than Flash.

Posted by: mkyan978 | March 16, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Fleischmann's play has improved in the last 4-5 games after being in a downturn for the previous 20 games or so.

Him sitting out a game definitely seems to have helped his concentration.

But you can look at Alex Semin, who really hasn't come back from the Olympics with the same scoring touch he showed prior.

And how about Brendan Morrison?

He had 7 or 8 goals after the first 25 games and is now sitting there with 11.

He sure hasn't done much the past 35 games.

Posted by: leopard09 | March 16, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I'd actually say two or three forwards are playing better than Flash: Backstrom, Ovie, and maybe Semin. Maybe.

I like Fehr, but he just isn't anywhere near Flash's class as a playmaker, or all-around hockey player. C'mon now. This isn't the Western Hockey League.

And I like Laich too, but Flash is a much better playmaker. And Knuble - he's out there for his goals and net-presence, and then fails to convert a perfect feed from Flash last game. Put Flash with Ovie and Backstrom, and leave them together for more than a shift.

Posted by: govtimbo | March 16, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

@leopard - you're absolutely right about BMo. He gets knocked off the puck way too easily - when he even gets there.

Posted by: govtimbo | March 16, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

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