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Tonight's Lineup vs. Tampa Bay

Semin is off IR and will play tonight against the Lightning. Coach Hanlon said he plans to leaning on him pretty heavily, so expect him to skate 20 minutes or so.

Here are the lines:

Ovechkin-Kozlov-Clark
Backstrom-Nylander-Semin
Pettinger-Gordon-Laich
Brashear-Steckel-Fleischmann

The 'D' pairings remain the same. Kolzig is in net for the Caps; Denis get the start for Tampa Bay.


By Tarik El-Bashir  |  October 24, 2007; 5:39 PM ET
 
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Comments

this is a lineup (with the exception of a plyer or two) lets get it going boys!

Posted by: please win | October 24, 2007 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Not that I'm a professional coach, but why would you want to lean heavily on someone coming off IR? Isnt it a good idea to ease someone into action in this situation?

Either way, psyched to see Semin tonight.

Posted by: the cheat | October 24, 2007 6:02 PM | Report abuse

It's been done a thousand times already, but as close as this:

Ovechkin-Kozlov-Clark
Backstrom-Nylander-Semin
Pettinger-Gordon-Laich
Brashear-Steckel-Fleischmann

is to a real lineup, this:

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov
Semin-Nylander-Laich
Pettinger-Gordon-Clark
Brashear-Steckel-Bradley

Is a real lineup. Switch Nylander/Backstrom if you are so inclined.

Posted by: Raber | October 24, 2007 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Raber,

I do like those lines you put up there. Nyls on the top with Kozlov in his natural RW position, Backstrom as a center. Everyone comfortable. why the coach doesn't think of it......

Posted by: Lee | October 24, 2007 6:18 PM | Report abuse

@Lee: My thought is that he doesn't want to put too much pressure on Backstrom. My issue with this thinking is that Kozlov is a miserable 46% in the faceoff circle. Ovechkin wastes half of his shift if we can't win the puck.

Even if he's not ready, what kind of harm could one shift of Nylander in between Kozlov and Ovechkin do?

Posted by: Raber | October 24, 2007 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Semin is a LW

Posted by: Finn | October 24, 2007 6:30 PM | Report abuse

i would agree with that, except i would still switch clark with laich, who is more of a natural third liner and could fill that role nicely, whereas clark has proven to be highly effective as a top six forward and would add just the right mix of grit and touch to a line of semin-nyls/back. i still have concerns about one or two spots(rw), if we want the depth to roll three or four lines

Posted by: please win | October 24, 2007 6:36 PM | Report abuse

@Finn: Yes, he is. Funny how Hanlon puts him on the right eh?

@please win: I really like Clark 3rd line. His role wouldn't be to score but to wear down the other team's top line by forechecking and hitting. Laich isn't that type of player (at least he's not as good at that as Clark).

I tend to agree w/ Hanlon on is that the decreased production isn't because that 3rd line is bad. It's because they're getting phenomenally unlucky. Clark must've hit 4 posts through 7 games. Petty has had numerous chances and opposing goalies have stopped ridiculous shots from him. Gordon is outskating the other forwards on the ice.

But time is up, which is why Clark is on 1st line. Just put a real center on first line and that problem is fixed though...

Posted by: Raber | October 24, 2007 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Please excuse my typos.

P.S. GO CAPS

Posted by: Raber | October 24, 2007 6:46 PM | Report abuse

i just don't understand why you wouldn't play people at their natural/normal position. How would Olie look on defense...Wait, he'd look pretty good hitting someone

Posted by: Lee | October 24, 2007 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Whoever said Clarkie would get the first goal is a psychic. Start predicting that we're going to score two more before the second period...

Posted by: Raber | October 24, 2007 7:25 PM | Report abuse

whoa!

Posted by: fullright | October 24, 2007 8:41 PM | Report abuse

clark is back where he belongs. laich has another goal and continues to be versatile. both show they belong.

Posted by: jim | October 24, 2007 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Now THAT was a game.

But Nylander's got to be better, still.

And I'm glad Ovie got one. Lord knows he deserved one.

And I'm surprised that Semin didn't have 5 hat tricks. Good God. That was a hell of a game back, regardless of points.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | October 24, 2007 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Nylander is killing me. Why can't he just shoot?

Posted by: dave | October 24, 2007 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Olie came through tooonight. Denis looked horrible. Better an ugly win than a pretty loss though.

Posted by: rj | October 24, 2007 10:21 PM | Report abuse

What a PP!! They're on the board! It's a negative number, but, hey! They're on!

4 minutes and one shot.

Clark looked good back where he should have been all along. Semin and Backstrom looked really good, too.

I don't know what's going on with Schultz. He seems very soft on the blue line.

Olie needs to get a plug for the 5-hole. Either that, or put his stick down there.

"A" for effort. Oh, and Morrison needs to get with Brashear for some help.

Posted by: Greg S. | October 24, 2007 10:25 PM | Report abuse

"I don't know what's going on with Schultz. He seems very soft on the blue line."

Then nothing's going on with him. That's Schultz.

Send him back to Hershey please.

Posted by: keef | October 24, 2007 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Hey Goat - nice job tonight! Good to see you in Ted's box!

101T19

Posted by: alpca3877 | October 24, 2007 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Loved the 3rd line tonight. Keep dems boys together.

Posted by: JohnnySquat | October 24, 2007 11:32 PM | Report abuse

I want to make sure we all acknowledge Nylander's no-look, behind the back pass to Pothier for his goal. Say what you want about Nylander not scoring; few people in the NHL can make that pass.

Also, Ovechkin's pass to set up Steckel was a thing of beauty. He's developed a great fake-shot, no-look pass that no goalie can resist committing to.

Posted by: Metro Desk | October 25, 2007 2:08 AM | Report abuse

Now for the not so good. PP is AWFUL. Really, it's not that hard to figure out what's wrong: Hanlon. His PP system is horrid, if it's a system at all.

Watch any other team on the PP. The defense has to collapse into a tight box because other teams move the puck very quickly. We like to hold it in one place for a bit.

But the REAL ISSUE with our PP is positioning. Hanlon has 2 guys down low (goal line level), two guys up high (blue line level), and one guy right in front of the goalie. They are very far apart, so the passes take forever to get from player to player.

This allows the box to spread out and the top two players can cover the point men, which leads to more SH chances and leads to point men rushing their passes = more turnovers.

The solution to this problem that every other team uses is to pull a guy from the off-side goal line or the guy in front of the net into the center of the giant freaking box the other team makes. This forces one of the 4 corners to push in, else a pass is made to this player and he gets a wide open shot between the circles. Whichever corner of the box collapses is where the puck should be.

This is probably the most basic power play system ever. I'm not a coach, nor do I claim to be an expert. But honestly, this would be 100% better than what we're currently doing. We have the personnel now, but our PP creates more chances for the other team than us. Even if we used an even strength system and just cycled the puck down low we'd generate more chances than passing the puck back and forth between the point men until we turn it over.

Posted by: Raber | October 25, 2007 2:56 AM | Report abuse

I just watched some of the highlights from some of the other games, including Detroit's. I put up a comparison of our PP (when TB scored on us) and Detroit's PP.

http://img341.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ppcomparisonlf2.png

They scored on this play by passing it back to the guy at the top of the point and the defender couldn't over commit, so he got off a shot which was deflected. At the very least, the goalie was actually screened, as opposed to some of the shots we take. Look where their guys are - including the guy *right in the center of the box*...

I'm going to be Puckguru for a second and say that any idiot who's watched hockey for a year could draw up a better PP system than one that can sometimes turn into a reverse umbrella that leads to a 3 on 1... As if things couldn't get worse, the 1 was Semin!

The Caps PP is a joke, and if Hanlon doesn't fix it we're screwed this year.

Posted by: Raber | October 25, 2007 4:06 AM | Report abuse

At this point, we might as well just abandon the concept of a "power play unit" and just roll with our normal offense. At least that prevents any more "Semin loses control of the puck at the line leading to shorthanded goal" incidents.

Posted by: tallbear | October 25, 2007 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Get Nylander the puck behind the net on the PP, the Gretsky used to do. While Nyls is not the Great One, he has great hands, great vision, and can control a puck forever. Then the other Caps keep moving looking for the pass for a kick shot. The defenders have to keep looking in front and back. The goalies gets way pissed because he can't see the whole play -- he has to either look behind or in front. That way the Caps, opps I lost the puck, guys on top won't have as much pressure.

Posted by: Jim | October 25, 2007 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Vinny went after Morrisson from behind like a punk. I think if he had gotten a chance to square up, Morrison would have done a lot better.

Posted by: Brandon | October 25, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Give me a break with the whining on the power play, fellas. It aint the coach - with players as talented as these, it's their job to find the seam and hit the open man. I've never seen so many shots that have been blocked or missed the net entirely - that's Hanlon's fault??
The guys on the point (Poti, Pothead, Juice, et al) arent getting enough shots through. All our tricky forwards are underachieving - it isnt Hanlon's fault.

Posted by: Shaggy | October 25, 2007 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Schultz looked aweful.
Good win though

Posted by: Finn | October 25, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Vinny knew the only way he was going to beat Mo in the fight was to tie up his hands and pile drive his head into the ice. Vinny is a big dude, but given a fair dance Mo would have made him faint like Marie Osmond did the other night on TV.

Our PP is literally PeePee....catch my drift? Every other team in this league moves the puck faster then light and the players move as well. If we continue this type of system, their going to have to redo the ice surfaces at all the rinks because the heat generated from standing in one spot is going to ruin everything. What part of Pass, Move & Shoot does Hanlon not understand? We've got more guys on this team that can drop one-timer bombs from the hash marks and blue line but we consistantly waste those opportunities looking for the "PRETTY" pass through the middle.

I like the forward line combos tonight. My advise to Hanlon....DON'T TOUCH THEM!!!

As for our defense, Mike Green is by far the best defenseman we've got on the roster right now. Schultz.....well, he makes you wonder if Charles Schultz and Charlie Brown are wearing his skates. I understand he's young and blah blah blah. But, like Motzko, Hanlon has to come to his senses and insert Erskine back into the lineup before this whole experiment backfires on us.

Posted by: Mitch | October 25, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

@Shaggy

It is the coach. He has them spread out to the 4 corners and one in front of the goalie. This expands the defensive box cutting down on time and space. Two key ingredients for Semin, Ovie, Poti, etc. If they have little time to work, they can't shoot or pass as well.

Most coaches will overload one side. The umbrella moves from the blue line to the side. This will collapse the D in towards the goal leaving space near the blue line for Semin to do his magic. It also allows a D-man to pinch into the opposite circle for an open shot.

Posted by: Greg S. | October 25, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

From my seats (down very low, behind the net) a couple observations: Defense was a tad off. It wasn't Schultz, or Pothier or any of them in particular, but they just seemed a bit out of sorts. With one exception: let me officially go on record as saying I was dead wrong about Green. He looks way better this season.

Now, as for the Everything Old is New Again first line, I can't put my finger on it, but I actually think Ovechkin plays better with Clarky on the line. I don't if its the grit, the maturirty, the different sense about the ice, or having played in games with him for 2 years, or what, but they elevate each other. It may be as simple as just having one North American on the line gives it some balance to the two Euros and it throws the defense off.

Semin skates like Jagr. Full speed with puck, hanging out at the red line without it. His no look pass to Nylander almost cost us a goal.

Posted by: old time hockey | October 25, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Morrison was gone for awhile after the fight, was he getting some stitches somewhere - anyone know?

Posted by: delovely | October 25, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of collapsing, did anyone else notice how much puck control the Lightning had because the Caps were all within about 10 feet of Olie?

That was ridiculous, in my view. We need tighter points from the wingers, though i think it's more Hanlon than anything.

But they still played a great 5-on-5 game last night.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | October 25, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I agree with everyone that the PP still ain't lookin' good. But I disagree with why...I think puck movement is the problem.
When you see the more effective PP units in the NHL the passes are one and two-touch passes. The puck goes very quickly form player to player, the penalty killers get pulled out of position, and BANG! Shot on goal.
Our guys seem like they want to stickhandle the thing at least 8 to 10 touches before they move it to the next player. (Nylander drives me nuts with those loops)
Clark is more productive on the first line, and he seems to spark OV a bit too.
We have no shortage of third and fourth line players...Clarkie should stay up with the Russians.

Flame away...

Posted by: pmoravek | October 25, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

"...did anyone else notice how much puck control the Lightning had because the Caps were all within about 10 feet of Olie?"

Hey DP,
You've got that one spot-on.
Overall we played a pretty good game, but there were times when they got set up in our zone and we just could not get clear.
But I think the issue is that our forwards don't have much confidence in our D-men. They wind up leaving the points to come down and help out down low.

Posted by: pmoravek | October 25, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

BACK ON TRACK TO WIN THE CUP!!! 78-4 THIS SEASON BABY!

There goes my red uniform theory. For now. Maybe I don't like blue pants

Posted by: Lee | October 25, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Woo hoo! Congrats to Dave Steckel!
No Motzko and a win, what a surprise.

Posted by: therinkrat.com | October 25, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Ovechkin had an amazing game. So did Clark. With all due respect, I would probably get a point or two playing on the same line with AO :)

Posted by: Finn | October 25, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

delovely: Mo looked like he got stitches in the bridge of his nose. When he came off the ice, blood was running down his entire face (initially it looked like it was coming from his brow) my seat is near the bench and he looked pretty bloodied up from my vantage point... vinnie grabbed him from behind and he went smack face-down on the ice without the use of his arms to catch himself - I'd be surprised if he didn't have a slight concussion. He did make it back for the end of the game though, I watched it again from the DVR when I got home from the game late last night.

Posted by: Blonde Caps Fan | October 25, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Enough with the Schultz bashing already ! He was + 3 on the night, and his play was solid enough that the coach had him on the ice for last minute of the game. Yes he does seem awkward at times, but "Sarge" has the smarts and saavy to be a solid defensive defenceman.

Posted by: Schultzy | October 25, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

"Enough with the Schultz bashing already ! He was + 3 on the night..."

I can't speak for anyone else. But I don't want to bash Schultz...I just want to see him HIT some people. He needs to realize he is a big rig and he can use it to his advantage.

Posted by: pmoravek | October 25, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Re: previous post....

SEE Jurcina (Yore-CHEE-na)
slang for big friggin' defenseman the runs into opposing forwards along the wall.

Posted by: pmoravek | October 25, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Wow - what a relief to know so many people who have spent so much time learning to coach hockey systems and, more importantly, players on the finer points of running the power play - "collapse the D toward the goal and let Semin work his magic" - holy crap, that SOB Hanlon, I'll wager he never even THOUGHT of that before!!! Yeesh.
What did Hanlon say right before the game? We need quick passes and to put the shot on net - what else do you need to do? It's not complicated!!!
Last year, we had Bryan Muir or Jamie Heward (god love him) chipping it from the redline. This year, Nyls or Kozzie walk right into the zone. There are too many other guys for the D to worry about. That is a luxury not extant before this season. It is a HUGE improvement.

Posted by: Shaggy | October 25, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

The minute Schultz lays someone out in open ice, I will go out and buy a replica of his jersey and become the president of his fan club. Until then, I will speak my opinion freely and honestly.

Posted by: Mitch | October 25, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

No matter what power play system you run, the goal is to create a 2 on 1 situation wherever the puck is. Any system will work as long as the players are taking advantage of the 2 on 1 situations. One touch passes to open up shooting lanes and battles for puck control are the key to an effective power play. Unitl the caps can open up thoes shooting lanes and get pucks to the net, they won't have an effective power play... no matter what system they run.

Posted by: Mike | October 25, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

aside from the short handed goal and the fact that they didnt score(thanks to a couple posts), the power play was MUCH improved. if you disagree you either didnt watch the game at all or youre lying to yourself for arguments sake.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 25, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Much improved from what? The PP was -1 on the night, got like 3 shots on net (not good ones) and we spent most of the time in our own zone retrieving a dump in.

@Mike: I agree with this. Hanlon's current system assigns one player to the goalie and then the other players to the corners. It's doing the exact opposite of this. If you're going to spread the defense (a good idea really) then you have to utilize this advantage by putting someone in the middle. Even if someone on the Caps team just skated through the center of the box occasionally I'd be happy, but everyone seems content to sit where they are.

Posted by: Raber | October 25, 2007 9:30 PM | Report abuse

2 or 3 times that many shots and at least 1 post

Posted by: Anonymous | October 25, 2007 9:56 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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