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Tonight's Lineup vs. Pitt

Checking in from the morning skate at Mellon Arena, where Coach Bruce Boudreau just said that Brent Johnson will get the nod tonight against the Penguins. Boudreau has also made some tweaks to the forward lines in order to accommodate Boyd Gordon, who is back after missing 12 games with a broken right hand.

Here are the combos:

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov (Backstrom and Nylander switch places)
Fleischmann-Nylander-Semin
Pettinger-Steckel-Laich (surprising)
Brashear-Gordon-Bradley

The 'D' pairings will remain the same, Boudreau said. Laing will be the odd man out; Erskine and Eminger will also be scratched. Boudreau said it was a very tough decision to sit Laing, who has played well since being recalled from Hershey.

It's somewhat surprising that Boudreau would break up the Bradley-Steckel-Laing line after its performance in the 3-2 win over the Lightning last night. But Boudreau said he had to scramble everything to make room for Gordon.

"We'll change lines a lot," he said. "We won't be staid, where every game it's the same lineup. One player coming out of the lineup might mean all four lines will be changed, so I can get the proper chemistry."

Boudreau also said Johnson, who's 3-4-1 and riding a two-game winning streak, figures to get a few more starts in coming months.

"He's played real well, and he's only gotten into two of 16," Boudreau said. "In the last half of the year, he'll probably get in a little bit more. If you look at my track record in the past, that's exactly what I've done with my backup goalies. I've put them in situations to succeed early on and then, once he get his confidence, then you play him a little bit more. Hopefully that works with him."

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 27, 2007; 11:34 AM ET
 
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Next: Johnson Out 2-4 Weeks; Ovechkin "Okay"

Comments

Why change goalies tonight after a win?

Posted by: Frank_TO | December 27, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Why change out Laing and Gordon? The team has a little momentum and the Laing-Steckel-Bradley line is playing well together. At least, they should have kept things steady through tonight's game. I just want them to beat Cindy Crosbytch and the Pens. Go Caps!

Posted by: Puckdawg69 | December 27, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

bench pettinger
keep laing

pettinger is just not playing well

Posted by: wtf wtf wtf | December 27, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Go Johnny!!!

Posted by: bsk | December 27, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Johnny's startign becasue his reccord against the flightless wonders is pretyt good so far. I beleive he's under 2.00 GAA facing Pitt. Gordon starts because he's the starter. He earned the spot in the lineup. I'm sure Laing very well knows that he's going back to Hershey once Clark is well.

Posted by: EricS | December 27, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Poor Laing.

Hopefully he'll get another shot.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | December 27, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

interesting, and a shame for laing. he's done absolutely everything that's been asked of him. i might be inclined to give pettinger the night off instead of sitting laing.

Posted by: pgreene | December 27, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

If the Caps play folderty tonight and lose after a strong, hard-fought effort...and especially lose to the Pens and Criesby....I will be indoor sporting eventing p!ssed off.

Posted by: Pothier's Thumb | December 27, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Hey Tarik,

Is anyone going to do a story on how Nylander's kid had more points than her father did last night. The kid had some moves.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 27, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I'd also like to see Laing left in the lineup... Him, Steckel, and Bradley have just been phenomenal the last couple of games.

Posted by: Murshawursha | December 27, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

something in the previous string got me thinking about the Eminger situation. He really is in some sort of hellish purgatory. The only thing that even remotely is similar was how the Caps dealt with Bobby Carpenter, except he was a known jerk then. And they did finally offically suspend him. Emie is in some weird sort of suspended animation. Can't play with the top team, can't play with the lower team.

And that lead me to think that it is a reflection of gmgm's lack of people-to-people skills. He is unable to even tell Eminger what is up. It is unprofessional to treat a person that way.

Look how long it took him to fire that really nice man, Glen Hanlon. Most right thinking hockey people had seen that Hanlon had lost the team some time before he was finally fired. Is he so afraid of dealing with people honestly and directly that it gets in the way of properly doing his job?

Again, consider what was mentioned about his demeanor at press conferences. He hates to talk to people. He can't share what is on his mind.

Communicating is skill he just doesn't seem to possess. It is probably something that wasn't apart of his cultural upbringing. In any case, how can a guy, who is in charge of a team, be successful if he unable to speak and deal properly with people?

The Capitals organeyezation should have let Hanlon go last summer. They waited too long into this season to finally fire him and inflicted a mortal wound on the chances of making the playoffs this year. Is the organeyezation, again going to wait too long to fire gmgm and lay waste to another year with his piddling around? (don't worry, I already know the answer)

P.S. I can't believe Laing is sitting tonight. I bet he would hang out in the crease on the powerplay if Gabby asked him to-- no one else seems able to.

And Kozlov: what a waste. He should sit. Nylander too!

Posted by: Clarendon | December 27, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

gordon needs to work his a$$ off tonight

Posted by: Anonymous | December 27, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Bad call by Bruce Pickle Juice!!! I would scratch Pettinger for a couple to send a message/ light a fire under his butt...! You cant break up Bradley/Steckle/Laing... there line was easily by far the best line for the Caps last night... Ohh well im driving to Pittsburgh at 1 WISH ME LUCK!
GO CAPS GO! HIT CROSBY!

Posted by: ZackAttack | December 27, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Laing > Pettinger

Posted by: Trevor | December 27, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I'd much rather see "Flash" (a questionable moniker) riding the pine. Petty would be my 2nd choice. Laing absolutely deserves to stay in the lineup -- we need a consistent shot blocker. It'll be interesting to see the lines for the Ottawa games.

Glad to see Johnny's getting the start! Let's Go Caps!

Posted by: Jill | December 27, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

FREE QUINTIN LAING!!!!

Posted by: Catalyst | December 27, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Laing sitting?? Kozlov loafing out on the ice still. This guy has no heart and he adds nothing to the lineup. Sit Kozlov for a couple games and then see if he reacts!!!

Posted by: Kozlov is horrible | December 27, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Bench Pettinger. I'm sure the whole 2 goals, 3 assists and -10 rating will be missed but Laing is far better.

Posted by: dossier | December 27, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Sit Nylander - he has done squat in the past month.

I'm still confused as to why they broke up the line with Alex, Backstrom, and Petty... that was a pretty good line.

This is how I would do it:

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Pettinger
Kozlov-Gordon-Semin
Fleischmann-Laich-Brashear
Bradley-Steckel-Laing

You could also do this:

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Semin
Ovechkin-Gordon-Pettinger
Ovechkin-Steckel-Laing
Ovechkin-Laich-Brashear

Posted by: 828 | December 27, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

The Caps have been pretty much dead to me for more than twenty years, but I like this new coach. Reminds me of Scotty Bowman.

Posted by: Ron | December 27, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Sitting anyone from last night's big scoring line is silly. That line was awesome all night.

Flash should be benched. Or Pettinger.

Posted by: dkb | December 27, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

wow...I love Boyd, but bumping him up to the second line is putting him somewhere I don't think he's ready to be yet (or possibly ever belong because of his play style).

Posted by: keef | December 27, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

After Kozlov left his check -- who happens to be the guy with "Don't Let Me Beat You" on his back -- unguarded twenty feet away from the net last night on the first Bolt goal, he ought to sit. Granted, Olie gave up a softie, but leaving Lacavalier unguarded in a position to pick up a rebound in the lower half of the circle is unbelievable. There were lots of small lapses, turnovers, and sloppy passes that the Caps covered up with a lot of heart last night; let's hope for a better game today along with another "W".

Posted by: Fred | December 27, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Just put him on 2nd because of his faceoff skills...

Posted by: 828 | December 27, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

tarik, in your opinon based upon your experience, do the caps change up their lines more than other teams? sure seems like they do a lot of tinkering, even when there is nobody coming back from injuries. however, my perspective is limited because i don't follow other teams line combos.

Posted by: Cap Fan 1 | December 27, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm in the bench Flash camp. He doesn't do much and at least Laing plays defense.

Posted by: cglaus | December 27, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Laing should play; bench Kozlov. he's not gonna hit anyone, not gonna score, and we need people to put crybaby on his a$$!

Posted by: Lee | December 27, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Ever think that BB has a reasons for playing certain players against certain teams?
Yeah, Gordon is back but that doesnt always equate to him getting in the lineup right away.

Coach may want to use him in a particular way that he couldn't use Laing. Pitt is a high flying team with skill all over their lineup. Wait and see.

Of course, if Gordon has a bad game...then we can all whine on the message boards.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 27, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Great..now that Johnson is nice and rusty! No but seriously I'm happy to see this. It's about time he got to play and I like the idea of him being able to start more often. I know I know he's not the answers to our problems but still...
Feeling bad for Emmie still...just do something with the kid. Let him play somewhere if not here. Wonder what BB is thinking about that situation (whatever the situation may be)
Laing should not be the one sitting out tonight. I like Boyd and think he's great but Laing is not the one who's played like crap this year...I can think of about 3 others who should sit instead....

Posted by: K | December 27, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

No way Laing should be sitting.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | December 27, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

@12:56

I don't think anyone's whining about Boyd being back. The complaints are about Laing being taken out while others (ahem...cough...Petty) are underachieving.

Posted by: keef | December 27, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

keep laing- not just b/c he will play better and because he helped make a line w/ the synergy bb says he is trying to create but b/c it sends a message to a team that flirts with laziness. the message w/ keeping laing is the following: anyone who works and plays smart gets minutes; anyone who doesn't doesn't get minutes. bad play by gabby.

Posted by: jim* | December 27, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I am in complete shock. How in the world do you sit Laing??? Bench Pettinger, Flash, Kozlov, or Nylander. They are all worthless. Laing is much more valuable then these jokers.

Posted by: jon | December 27, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

You people amaze me! You'd rather sit Nylander who has exponentially more offensive skill than Laing, for a guy who works hard, but doesn't do much other than block shots. Amazing! You know, in order to win games in this league, you must score goals! Therefore you must play your players who give you the best chance to score, regardless of how poorly they have played in the past. I'm glad none of you are the coach!!!

Posted by: huh? | December 27, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Yeah b/c Nylander has been doing so spectacular this year right?
I personally don't think he's the one that needs to sit but I was expecting more then I've seen when we signed him.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 27, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Good thing I didn't buy that Caps Laing jersey on impulse.

Sit Kozlov!

Posted by: Jordan | December 27, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I think Nyls has been fine. He could back check more, but he has done one thing that has been invaluable to this team this year....puck possessioin. Remember last season when the team dumped the puck EVERY SINGLE TIME they got to the blue line? They don't have to do that anymore because Nyls can actually carry the puck in. That in itself is good enough for me. As long as they aren't playing dump and chase while on a 5-3 PP.

Posted by: joe | December 27, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Nylander is a -15, takes stupid hooking penalties almost every game, and God knows how many turnovers he has. He hurts the team more than helps it. I would much rather have Laing in there than Nylander.

Posted by: jon | December 27, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I have mixed emotions about Nyls. I definately think he has skill we need here in DC but I get frustrated sometimes b/c he either does too much twirly stuff or he'll have a shot and instead of taking it he paces and then we don't score. I know he's a playmaker first but if you have the shot then take it!

Posted by: K | December 27, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm with some of these posters who are in the bench Flash group. What is the love affair with his skills? I can't see them. He had ANOTHER horrible giveaway at the Caps blue line yesterday that luckily didn't result in a goal. Yet he's a top 6 forward?

Posted by: scott | December 27, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Nylander and Kozlov lead the Caps in assists, and you need assists to get goals. Extrapolating Laing's 12 games played by three times to get to 36 total games played means he has 6 assists to Nylander's 22 and Kozlov's 18. It's professional hockey boys, trying doesn't count.

Posted by: Steve in Jersey | December 27, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Sitting Laing ?? You have to be kidding!

I'd sit Brash or Kozi first. Starting Johnson is a good thing, since Olie the Goalie let in another softie 5-holer last night a Lecavalier scorcher. If it's true what Olie said about letting in one goal too many each game, why is he still doing it?

Give Johnson a chance!

Posted by: dogdaze | December 27, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Nylander does not create puck possesion - he turns the puck over tons - look what he did last night. The only thing he is good at is making circles on the ice. He has not put out as much as we are paying him. The only reason he has that many assists is because he is on the PP and he played on Alex's line - that is it. I guess you could say the same with Kozlov... although, I think Kozlov brings more to the table that Nylander. Nylander doesn't even win faceoffs - so, what does he bring to the table. As for Laing - he blocks shots and does well on the PK - that is enough for his role - I am fine with that.

BTW - you don't need assists to get goals - you need goal scorers and the Caps have 2. Like I said, Nylander and Kozlov lead the Caps in Assist because they play along the side of one of the greatest goal scorers in the league. Alex did that last year without those two. Heck, Brashear would have a 30-50 point season if he played with Alex the whole time. Nylander and Kozlov were brought here to produce and right now, they aint producing.

Posted by: 828 | December 27, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I think it is a little crazy to suggest benching Kozlov or Nylander for Laing, but as has been mentioned, there are others who would not be missed as much.

Posted by: cglaus | December 27, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Im not saying bench a person for another - I'm just saying - Nylander is not producing for what we are paying him.

Posted by: 828 | December 27, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Every coach makes mistake. I believe Gabby just made his first mistake by sitting Laing out tonight. Stay tuned for the outcome..............

Posted by: Mitch | December 27, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Whew! BB really stirred up this board ...

I am in the FREE LAING camp! I would like to see Flash sit and (dare I say it?) Brash. Brash - what have you done for me lately?

I hope Johnny can deliver tonight - he is a wild card but when he is on, he can play a great game. COME ON, JOHNNY!!!

mauree - dug your post on the previous topic! I agree - OVERwin tonight (and yes, you had too much coffee)!! ;-)

Posted by: Boo! | December 27, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm another one who is disappointed that Laing won't play tonight. he's got heart, grit and determination. he's a team guy and works hard. PLAY LAING!

Posted by: Hollywood | December 27, 2007 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I don't know who to bench, I'm not an NHL coach nor do I care to pretend to be one.

That being said, Quintin Laing has shown more heart and soul then most of the Caps have this entire season, why you would bench someone who has had solid defensive play as him against a team full of offensive threats is beyond me.

Quintin Laing deserves better than this.


Posted by: Catalyst | December 27, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

@Steve in Jersey. I agree with you.

There is a few people in this blog that suffers from the Gus Frerotte syndrome of hitting their heads against a wall. I believe a few days ago Joe posted the stats of Nylander refuting all this nonsensical complaint of him. May I suggest a re-visit to that post?

I just realized that maybe some of you are under the belief that you are watching Wrestling or the UFC, in that case, I apologize.


Posted by: Opita | December 27, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

@Catalyst

We're all wannabe GM's and Coaches here. Some of us actually know what we're talking about. Others of us are totally full of it. Still others of us know a bit. But if you asked us, we'd all say we're experts. So, come on in! The water's fine! :)

The only thing I can think of is that QL is a one-dimensional player. Good on Energy and PK lines. But Gordon is also, and Gordo has more scoring abilities than QL. Though Gordo may not sacrifice himself as much as Laing, or have the taste for the puck like Laing (sorry, couldn't resist), he will be good in the same role as QL.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 27, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Very confusing decision about Laing. I can't really see what Pettinger's bringing to the Caps these days. I dig Princess as much as anyone, but he's been ineffective this year, no matter where he's been. Time to sit. Why would you bench someone like Laing - exactly what the Caps need against the heartless but effective Pens? Hope Boudreau knows what he's doing, but this is demoralizing.

Posted by: katzistan | December 27, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Greg S. - was about to say that... Gordon brings his ability to win faceoffs to the table.

And YES Opita, please post stats of Nylander this season... I just posted them yesterday or today - 1 Goal, 6 Assist, and a -2 in the past month. He only has that many assists because he played with Alex - plus, he is on the powerplay.

Please prove me wrong about Nylander... we should have never resigned him when there were other available free agents out there... heck, Comrie would have been better.

Posted by: 828 | December 27, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I hate to be on the bandwagon, but I think I'd volunteer to drive it this time.

FREE LAINGER!!!
He has earned his spot.

Additionally I wouldn't think it prudent to toss Gordo back in with 2nd line minutes right out of the gate.
It would be better to give him 4th line minutes and let him ease his way back in.

Posted by: pmoravek | December 27, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Greg S. & Co - I don't think (most) folks want Laing in lieu of Gorodo (I for one am glad to see Gordo back), but think that there are others who should be benched, keeping Laing on the ice.

BTW, was that really Nylander's daughter out there last night? I wondered when they said her name ...

Posted by: Boo! | December 27, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah Boo
I'm not saying Gordo should be wearing a sportcoat if he's healthy enough to play.
One of our other "under-producers" should be in civilian clothes.
I agree with Greg S. about something else too. Lainger is pretty one dimensional, but ya gotta love that particular dimension!

Posted by: pmoravek | December 27, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I don't like the Fleischmann-Nylander-Semin line. This line needs someone who can fight for the puck in the corners. I like Fleishmann's hustle, but he doesn't have the needed strength (yet) to be successful in the NHL. I would move Semin back to left wing, keep Nylander as the center, and then rotate in right wings until you find one who works. I would like to see Bradley or Laich get a shot as a right wing on the second line.

Posted by: Mark D | December 27, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

I had the opportunity to go to the game last night and made a few observations. On the way I heard the news that (Deadman Walking) gmgm announced the Interim tag was removed from BB's title. That is a fitting move to a class man such as BB, however unnecessary. The fact is the Interim title on BB was a joke in this situation. Who else were they going to bring in? Another one of Jorge's FREINDS Pat Burns or Hartley a guy who was kicked out of his own locker room by players? And before anyone thinks I'm giving gmgm any credit of exhibiting anything close to having class, let me clarify. If he had class he would have removed the Interim tag from BB and placed it on himself. After all, gmgm is DONE; he is just keeping the seat warm. (Hopefully for Dale Hunter) Now that the Interim tag is removed from BB does he get to hire his own Assistant coaches now? This announcement was another example of more gimmick management.

From Boudreau: "I'm obviously pleased; that's the goal when you take the job, is to be here a long time. I'm very appreciative...but by no means does this mean that there's any comfortability in my situation. My job is to win and we'll re-evaluate everything at the end of the year."
Both Boudreau and McPhee declined to discuss the length of the contract. But it's believed the Caps will re-evaluate the situation at season's end.

Translation- I'm still Interim, George didn't extend my contract because he doesn't have the power to do so. If I do well here, this could be my break to move to an NHL club. This team is currently managed worse than an AHL team.

From McPhee: "We just wanted an opportunity to watch him at this level and see how would do, watch him action. Some people change when they get to this level. He hasn't. We really like the way he took control and he's got our team playing well."
Translation- We? Do you have a mouse in your pocket? If you are in charge, who is we? Some people do change gmgm, look in the mirror. Although I am encouraged about the last line of his quote in that he did manage to make one truthful statement.
On the earlier post I noticed people commenting on gmgm's press conference and interview demeanor in that he looks guilty of something. You guy's are on to something!
Moving on to the game; it was great to see the game live. One thing that has been thrown out there lately is how bad the ice is. I will say this. Watch the bench. How many times do your see the visiting equipment trainers working on player skates, and how many times do you see Capital equipment trainers stoning or reworking blade edges. It's the same ice, but I noticed 92, 10, and Ovie to name a few having skate blade issues. Other players were having trouble on the ice but trying to work through it. And I'd lay money down that 28's radius is off on his left skate. When he pivots to the left, he is way back on his heel to the point he loses stride momentum. These are talented players going down like that little kid goalie from the team that made the HUMAN TUNNEL at the beginning of the game. Oh wait a minute; did Glen's equipment guy sharpen that kids skates as well?

Posted by: someone else who knows | December 27, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Interesting article on trades and why they're scarce.

http://thehockeynews.com/articles/12152-Rumor-Roundup-New-year-will-bring-more-deals.html

I was surprised to see Olie's pic on the analysis page, but then read the caption, "Washington's Olaf Kolzig may be a UFA in the summer, but don't expect to see him traded at the deadline."

Last few paragraphs are most telling in terms of why there are few deals made.

"Nowadays salaries do become easier to move later in the season, but it's those of impending unrestricted free agents. Players on multi-year contracts rarely move.

So if you want a good forecast of which players are most likely to be dealt over the next two months, check out the list of potential unrestricted free agents.

"It includes Marian Hossa, Brian Campbell, Mike Commodore, Cory Stillman, Pavol Demitra, Daymond Langkow, Kristian Huselius, Ron Hainsey, Joe Sakic, Mike Ribeiro, Nicklas Lidstrom, Brian Rolston, J-P Dumont, Brendan Shanahan, Jason Smith, Mats Sundin, Markus Naslund and Olaf Kolzig.

"Don't expect to see most - if any - of those players changing addresses by the trade deadline. Every one are valuable to their respective clubs and the only reason any of them would be dealt is if their respective teams give up on this season and going into rebuilding mode.

"As long as those teams are in the playoff picture, none of the aforementioned will be dealt.

"Instead, expect lesser lights or fading stars like Bobby Holik, Dmitri Kalinin, John-Michael Liles, Dick Tarnstrom, Keith Carney, Michael Ryder, Paul Mara, Brad Stuart, Marek Malik, Barret Jackman, Mike Johnson or Matt Cooke to become possible trade candidates."

Posted by: Anonymous | December 27, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

How dare he bench Laing!!!

Posted by: bigmacattack | December 27, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

maybe people should bring "FREE LAING" posters to the game. i agree w/ Mark D about the lines except that i am not convinced flash hustles.

Posted by: jim* | December 27, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

pmoravek - I agree - LET'S HEAR IT FOR LAING'S (ONE) DIMENSION!! MAY "IT" LIVE LONG AND PROSPER!!

Posted by: Boo! | December 27, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Bring Back Kelly Miller. No one could hit the stomach of a goalie like him.

Posted by: S.A Town | December 27, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm a fan of BB's, but i am not okay with sitting Laing at all. What message is he trying to send exactly? Play well, score points with limited ice time, sacrifice your body, and you get benched. At the start of the season Pettinger was just getting robbed because his play was great he just got unlucky, but lately he's lost his intensity so there is absolutely no reason he deserves to play regardless of circumstances. Also, let's stop and think here are the Pens a team that's strong on defense and in goal or a team that's got CRAZY offence? If you know anything about the Pens you'll have answered offence. So why would you pull out a shot blocking machine like Laing against a team that's going to take a lot of shots? Let's just hope we see Laing back soon.

Posted by: DC FURY | December 27, 2007 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Laing has done whatever he could to earn a permanent spot here in DC, but how 'bout we let Gabby do a few games with an extra forward in the press box and see if that works. Bad game, Petty? That's ok, have a seat. And, here's a guy willing to take your job tomorrow. Might light a fire under some of the fireless (Petty, Flash, Kozlov, I'm looking in your direction). Yes, Laing is not Kozlov, and probably not Flash, but the guy is flat out fun to watch and has earned a right to stay and play, IMHO.

Emminger should announce his retirement from the NHL and move to the Russian league if he wants to play anytime soon.

Posted by: old time hockey | December 27, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

My god, people, get a grip! He didn't send Laing back to Hershey, he's just sitting him out for ONE GAME. And remember, Laing came up when Gordon got hurt, so now he's sitting for this game since Gordon's back in. Whether Laing gets back in OR gets sent to Hershey OR gets banished with Eminger remains to be seen (and I think he should get back in) but for now it's only this ONE GAME and I personally respect Bruce's instincts.

Posted by: Tess | December 27, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Two things. The anonymous post above with the link from The Hockey News is from me. My bust!

On QL. I really like his work ethic and I hope to see him crack the line-up. But all you coach wannabe's out there think about this for a minute.

QL played for Coach B for the entire time he was at Hershey. I think that Coach B knows him better than we do. He know's Quinton's up sides and down sides very well. I'm willing to watch this game with QL out of the line-up.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 27, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Well since I called the Pothier goal last night, I think I will look in my crystal ball for tonight. I was going to say Kozlov (just to get some people going). However, now my money will be on Pettinger.

After all, he has to know that everyone will be after his head if he does not do something spectacular tonight since he is playing and fan favorite Laing is sitting. I was shocked that we would break up the fabulous strong line of Steckel, Laing and Bradley just before playing Crosby and Company. I just have to have faith that maybe coach thinks this is the spark Pettinger needs to finally get his game going.

I can't wait for Clark to return! And would someone please give Kozlov some Red Bull or Mountain Dew before each shift so that he skates with some energy tonight!!!

The Caps just have to win tonight!!!

Posted by: Kim | December 27, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

> And would someone please give Kozlov some Red Bull or Mountain Dew before each shift so that he skates with some energy tonight!!!

Give him shots of vodka between the shifts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | December 27, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse

One thing. All anonymous posts above except Greg S. are mine

Laing

Posted by: Anonymous | December 27, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Unbelievable! I'm flabbergasted. How in the world can Gabby justify breaking up Steckle, Bradley, and Lainge? That's unconscionable! Without a doubt, they were ( By far ) the best line on the ice last night. This makes no sense. And, even more importantly, what kind of message does this send the players? How are they to feel?
Quite frankly, assinine moves such as this, NEGATIVELY REINFORCE ( To players like Kozlov, and Pettinger ) that Gabby really IS NOT holding players accountable, as he claims. Unwittingly, he's saying, "Kozlov, it's ok for you to suck, game, after game, after game. Same goes for you, Petty. Don't worry bout a thing. You're STILL my boys."
This kind of foolishness is exactly how coaches lose the respect of their players. This is precisely how inner turmoil begins. What is Lainge to think? I can just imagine what's going through his head. "Well, G..D.!! I bust my butt for the guy, and look at how he treats me. F this!"
You've made a very B I G mistake this time, Gabby. I only hope you realize it sooner, rather than later. You're messing with the psyche of your team. And, usually it's that psyche that makes the difference between winning and losing. Just a word from the very wise.

Posted by: Puckguru | December 27, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Really, if it's not broken, why fix it? (The inverse goes for the top two lines and the fourth)

Bench Brashear, keep Laing. Brash has no business in the NHL, especially when his taking up a roster spot ends up with us breaking up our best line.

Or, don't bench Brash. Bench Fleischmann. Bench Nylander. Bench Kozlov. Bench someone who underperforms consistently, not a player who is responsible for your win last night. (I'm not going to say bench Pettinger, because he seems to have the same work ethic as Laing does, in my opinion anyway)

I don't see why, if Laing is put back in the lineup, he would perform well and give up the body for this team, which has just shown that it doesn't care how well he does; he plays at the NHL level, unlike half the team, and doesn't get any reward for it. It doesn't make sense.

On top of that, we broke up an offensive line that had great chemistry last; in fact, it was the only line that seemed to have ANY chemistry. It was responsible for two goals, including the GWG. What kind of message does that send? Play well, and we'll either bench you or put you on the 4th line? Look incompetent or lazy, and don't put forth any effort, and you're guaranteed a spot on the top two?

Now is not the time to be tooling around with the lines, and breaking up the ones that have been proven to work; this team needs points if it wants to see the playoffs.

Posted by: MikeZ | December 27, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Really, if it's not broken, why fix it? (The inverse goes for the top two lines and the fourth)

Bench Brashear, keep Laing. Brash has no business in the NHL, especially when his taking up a roster spot ends up with us breaking up our best line.

Or, don't bench Brash. Bench Fleischmann. Bench Nylander. Bench Kozlov. Bench someone who underperforms consistently, not a player who is responsible for your win last night. (I'm not going to say bench Pettinger, because he seems to have the same work ethic as Laing does, in my opinion anyway)

I don't see why, if Laing is put back in the lineup, he would perform well and give up the body for this team, which has just shown that it doesn't care how well he does; he plays at the NHL level, unlike half the team, and doesn't get any reward for it. It doesn't make sense.

On top of that, we broke up an offensive line that had great chemistry last; in fact, it was the only line that seemed to have ANY chemistry. It was responsible for two goals, including the GWG. What kind of message does that send? Play well, and we'll either bench you or put you on the 4th line? Look incompetent or lazy, and don't put forth any effort, and you're guaranteed a spot on the top two?

Now is not the time to be tooling around with the lines, and breaking up the ones that have been proven to work; this team needs points if it wants to see the playoffs.

Posted by: MikeZ | December 27, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Sry for the ultra-long double posts.

" Quite frankly, assinine moves such as this, NEGATIVELY REINFORCE ( To players like Kozlov, and Pettinger ) that Gabby really IS NOT holding players accountable, as he claims. Unwittingly, he's saying, "Kozlov, it's ok for you to suck, game, after game, after game. Same goes for you, Petty. Don't worry bout a thing. You're STILL my boys." "

Never thought I'd say this, but Puckguru is absolutely right.

Posted by: MikeZ | December 27, 2007 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Laing replaced an injured Gordon. Therefore, once Gordon is back, Laing's particular skill set has been replced by Gordon. At least that is the theory. Boudreau brought QL up to fill a specific role on the team. Let's hope that Gordon is in good form tonight and that Laing isn't missed too much. Laing had more heart than Gordon, but Gordon has more offensive talent and more NHL experience. I wouldn't worry about Laing. My bet is that he'll be back in the next game or two and that when Clark returns he'll be back in Hershey. And... I'm certain that he'll get called up again. The kid has many more NHL games in his future.

Posted by: Oglethorpe | December 27, 2007 5:19 PM | Report abuse

@828
You are determine to argue a losing point. I will repost part of Joe's post and if I don't get as lazy as you, I will update it from the www.nhl.com stats. Ok.

Your argument:
"Nylander does not create puck possesion - he turns the puck over tons"

Here is part of Joe's post of a few days ago regarding turnovers"
" Give Aways: (update as of today)
AO - 44 (47) +3
Green - 35 (38) +3
Semin -27 (27) --
Pothier -25 (25) --
Poti - 25 (25) --
Morrison -24 (24) --
Jurcina - 23 (25) +1
Schultz -22 (22) --
Koslov - 21 (21) --
NYLANDER - 20 (21) +1

Now lets look at the take aways: (update)
AO - 35 (36) +1
Koslov - 31 (31) --
NYLANDER - 25 (26) +1

Did you notice the ratio of take vs give?

Posted by: Joe | December 23, 2007 12:34 PM"

On that date, Joe has various post regarding Nylander. I think he makes a lot of sense and rather than retyping what he says, why don't you go there and read them?

I am not sure what your next argument is. You say:

"And YES Opita, please post stats of Nylander this season... I just posted them yesterday or today - 1 Goal, 6 Assist, and a -2 in the past month. He only has that many assists because he played with Alex - plus, he is on the powerplay"

Are you comparing Nylander to AO? Apples and Oranges, they are both fruits and have their own delicious taste. Besides, are you comparing the rest of the team to AO? then, should I assume that you only consider one good player on this team?

Are you sure that on the last month he only assisted AO? I will take your word for it ( with a lot of hesitation) but I am too tired and lazy to check you out. But lets assume that it is true, that he only assisted AO. Then, can we assume that AO would not have scored those goals without Nylander's assist? I would think so, unless AO, like another entity I hear so much about, works in mysterious ways.

As for powerplay, guess who is leading in points? Yep. Nylander.

Which stat do you wish to argue? For last month? for the season? career? goals, toi, assists, give-away, take-aways? The thing is, you can make statistics show anything you want to believe.

Posted by: Opita | December 27, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Olie better start in Boston!!!!!

Posted by: GoRedSoxGo | December 27, 2007 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Do we really know what goes on behind closed doors?

Do you really think that coach is going to stand up in a press conference and say...

"I had a closed door meeting with Kozlov and Nylander. I told them how disappointed I am in their play and if they dont improve shortly, a younger player is going to get their spot."

Most people here are operating under the assumption that the coach does not know that certain players are not playing to their potential.

Trust me, he knows and he has addressed it, in private. Boudreau is a smart guy..he will only air things out in public when he will get the needed reaction.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 27, 2007 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Can someone please help Crosby in Pittsburgh?

"But Crosby needs help in Pittsburgh. With sophomore Jordan Staal scuffling and Therrien understandably cautious about overplaying Malkin with Crosby, there just aren't enough skilled forwards to fuel the growth of the Penguins from a coming team into a Stanley Cup contender."

Posted by: Michael Farber | December 27, 2007 6:03 PM | Report abuse

puckguru
While I don't disagree with your points most of the time...I do wonder why you need to be so abrasive about it.
Not everyone who has an opposing point of view deserves to be criticised.
Especially not Gabby.
He has our team playing better, and if we are fans of the team. We should respect that.

Posted by: pmoravek | December 27, 2007 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Incompetent linemates keep Crosby and Pens down:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/michael_farber/12/27/help.for.crosby/index.html?eref=si_hockey

When he'll write about Caps?

Posted by: Crosby needs help link | December 27, 2007 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Well, that's it then! Remove the interim tag, and Gabby benches laing! Fire Gabby!

Kidding. But he does hustle, which is more than some players on the team do.

A side note, but I have solved Nyls circle pattern: he always circles back to the blue line, so if he is going down the right wing, he will circle to his right (the board side) and around, his left on the the other side. Would it be better to just stop, and let eveyone go by?

Posted by: Lee | December 27, 2007 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, people suggesting benching Nylanderare a little crazy. Sure he isn't setting the world on fire, and Nylander has been guilty of defensive laziness but they he also leads the team in assists. He possesses the puck well and makes great passes on the power play. Sure he needs to step it up even strength but c'mon. Lets settle down a bit.

Now Laing has been out playing Pettinger and Flash has been a disapointment. I would rather see one of those two sit. What people who have never played hockey don't understand is that a grinder line can set the tone for the next several shifts. They dominate possession and gain momentum then let the scoring lines put the puck in when the opponents are reeling

Posted by: Sombrero guy | December 27, 2007 6:42 PM | Report abuse

I don't have anything against Nylander.
But I want him to get the puck to the net. Possesion is not useful if the end result is turning the puck over anyway.
...as far as leading the team for assists, I'm pretty sure anybody who spends a lot of time on OV's line is gonna have a fair amount of assists.

Posted by: pmoravek | December 27, 2007 6:48 PM | Report abuse

@sombrero
Is there any stat database that splits primary and secondary assists? I really want to see how many of the As Nylander has are actually deserved.

He possesses the puck so long because nobody really pressures him; he can't shoot well, so it's much smarter to just cover his outlets and get ready to intercept whatever bad pass he forces himself to make.

Posted by: MikeZ | December 27, 2007 6:56 PM | Report abuse

It's a shame that Laing has to sit, he's worked too hard and played too well to be benched in favor of Flash and Pettinger.

Posted by: Sad | December 27, 2007 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Listening to the Pens feed on XM, they still have Gordon as on IR and no t playing. suckers

Posted by: Lee | December 27, 2007 7:27 PM | Report abuse

About Laing, as you guys and gals might recall, he was at training camp but did not perform enough to earn a spot. Being mid-season, this is what he and the team face. This is NOT training camp. Lets just hope Gordo and Johnny are not too rusty and we can put together a winning streak.

Go Capsss!!

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | December 27, 2007 7:45 PM | Report abuse

@hat a surprise, Nylander lets his man go by him to score a goal. You people who think Nylander helps this team are clueless. He is worthless

Posted by: jon | December 27, 2007 8:11 PM | Report abuse

ok, so we're going to hear about bryz again. people might as well get it out of their systems...

Posted by: jim* | December 27, 2007 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Oh no poor Johnny!!! I wonder what his injury is! What do we do if our backup goalie is injured? Do we call one up from Hershey? I'm asking b/c I seriously don't know...

Posted by: K | December 27, 2007 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Jon,
It hit Jurcinas stick, but I do agree with you. Nyls +- is disturbing and that has to be remedied if his salary is to be justified. Hope Johnny is ok but he is truely rusty, can't blame him.

Settle down Caps, we can take this game.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | December 27, 2007 8:18 PM | Report abuse

There is a provision in the CBA for an emergency goalie callup. There's a form you fill out as well. I'm sure Cassivi(?) is on his way as we speak.

Posted by: tallbear | December 27, 2007 8:22 PM | Report abuse

K,
Yes, hopefully BB brings up Machesney instead of Cassivi. The "System" is there for a reason as we all saw from Laing so maybe we can start the goalie search sooner than later.

Posted by: BernieWoleFan | December 27, 2007 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Cool..thanks for the info!

Posted by: K | December 27, 2007 8:25 PM | Report abuse

I just want everyone to PLEASE complain more about Brian Pothier. It seems to finally be working.

Posted by: Whiter Mage | December 27, 2007 8:40 PM | Report abuse

That knee didn't look good.
It looked like it got hit with the puck from Juice's deflection or twisted under him when he went down.
A little bruise would be no big deal, a ligament strain, however, would obviously mean somebody from Hershey gets a call.

Posted by: pmoravek | December 27, 2007 8:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm game...
Pothier is a prissy little BEYOTCH!!!
(Now go score another one, Pots.)

Posted by: pmoravek | December 27, 2007 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Whiter,
We don't need to complain, just DEMAND the best from our PROFESSIONAL team! BB has Pots and others finally accountable so Pothier is just doing what is demanded of him. Hopefully Nyls will buy into it, Kozy is showing signs, and the team is moving in the right direction. Oh wait, GMGM is still here, $#!t.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | December 27, 2007 8:57 PM | Report abuse

I still say Poti needs to have a thumb broke...what's Guido's number?
Did you see that slapper from Pothier?
That was a friggin' lazer.

Posted by: pmoravek | December 27, 2007 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Gonchar...that gift that keeps on giving.
Is he still on our payroll too?
Well, he oughtta be.

Posted by: pmoravek | December 27, 2007 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Please, someone tell me why Schultz is still playing. Please.

Posted by: keef | December 27, 2007 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Schultz actually rubbed somebody out in front of the crease last night.

Posted by: kevbpgc | December 27, 2007 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Oy. Just saw where Johnny is out 2 weeks.

Posted by: kevbpgc | December 27, 2007 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Wow kevbpgc, that's a drag.
Did they hazard a guess as to what the actual injury is, or was it one of those "undisclosed lower body injuries"?

Posted by: pmoravek | December 27, 2007 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Whats up with Ovie? Did he get hurt?

Posted by: K | December 27, 2007 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Sprained knee ligament. According to Caps insider.

Posted by: kevbpgc | December 27, 2007 9:54 PM | Report abuse

First Semin
Now Backstrom
Somebody needs to BURY Ruutu.

You can't let a guy run all over your finesse players like that.

Posted by: pmoravek | December 27, 2007 9:54 PM | Report abuse

God I hate these guys.

Posted by: kevbpgc | December 27, 2007 9:58 PM | Report abuse

I agree with many of the frustrated fans on the benching-Laing topic. I have been a season ticket holder for almost 15 years and I've been noticing a disturbing trend in the work ethic and attitudes of the players. It seems that the new rules (in the past few years) have heavily favored the goal-scoring-type players, leaving little room for the "workhorses" of the game. As a paying fan, I was glad to see that there are still players out there that will do anything it takes to win the game...even if it means blocking a shot or two.

Posted by: Chris | December 28, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

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