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Wednesday Morning GM

After yesterday's round of cuts, the Caps' lineup is coming into focus. And since a bunch of you have been asking, here's the way I see things shaking out so far:

Ovechkin - Kozlov - ?
Semin - Nylander - ?
Pettinger - Gordon - Clark
Brashear - ? - ?

Here are the guys fighting for the remaining spots: Backstrom, Fleischmann, Clymer, Bradley, Sutherby, Laich, Steckel, Klepis and Bourque.

On defense:

Poti - Jucina
Morrisonn - Pothier
Boumedienne - ?

Here are the guys battling for a spot, either on the ice or in the pressbox: Eminger, Green, Schultz and Erskine.

The next two weeks are going to be very interesting. I'm also expecting to see at least one trade.

Update:About a dozen folks from NHL Productions are here at Kettler this morning. I'm not sure what they are working on, but I'm willing to bet it's a commercial about Ovechkin.

Update:Less than a week after taking 20 stitches under his left eye, Kozlov has already removed the visor from his helmet. Tough? Yes. Smart? Not so sure.

Update:Today's interesting forward combos are Ovechkin-Kozlov-Fleischmann and Semin-Nylander-Backstrom.

Update:Ovechkin and Kolzig just had a funny exhange on the ice. Fleischmann set up Ovechkin on a semi-breakaway. Ovechkin deked in front, but Kolzig stopped the shot with the very tip of his skate as he kicked out his leg at the last second. Skating away, Ovechkin shouted, "You lucky [bleep]!" To which Kozlig responded, "Lucky? Whatever you [bleep]!" It sounded like they were joking.

Update:Just had the first fight of camp: Clymer vs. Morrisonn. Not sure what started it, but Morrisson was still mad after they were broken up, as he skated back toward Clymer and had some words for him. If memory serves, Clymer got into it with Rico Fata last season in practice.

Update:Another camp first: they are working on shootouts right now. Ovechkin fired high on his first attempt. Erskine scored on a deke, drawing some laughter and applause from his teammates.

Update:A few days ago, I said Pettinger didn't have "warning track power" during batting practice with the Nats. Well, he disputed that today. He said he did hit a "few" to the warning track. I wasn't there, but anyone who was is encouraged to step forward and set the record straight.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  September 19, 2007; 10:28 AM ET
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Next: Tonight's Lineup Vs. Ottawa



Is there a chance Backstrom does not make the team? If he doesn't, does he go back to Sweden again?

Posted by: Dan | September 19, 2007 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Tarik, do you think it would be better for Backstrom (and OV) to have him on the first line, especially since Kozlov isn't so hot at faceoffs? It just seems to me that putting Flash or Clark there would deflate the line a bit, whereas Backstrom's playmaking could come in really handy (and with OV's penchant for inflating stats, it could really drive Backstrom along and hopefully boost his confidence).

Posted by: Brad | September 19, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I've never understood why the players don't like the face guards. I think they look pretty nifty myself. Even better if they can get the mirroring back. AO looked awesome in his.

Posted by: EricS | September 19, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I don't see Backstrom starting the season in Hershey. Stranger things have happened, but I just don't see it.

Posted by: Tarik | September 19, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Does Boumedienne really have a better shot of making the team than Eminger? Eminger was nothing special last year, but... Boumedienne?

Posted by: blanket | September 19, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Im not sure I see Boumedienne in the top 6, but I havent seen him play since he was on the Caps last.

I think the Caps will probably carry atleast 7 D.

And enough with the Hershey talk for Backstrom, lets see how he does in the remaining preseason games before you ship him to the minors.

Posted by: TJ | September 19, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse


I dont see Laich or Backstrom sitting around much, and I think GMGM has a lot invested in Suts and likes his leadership, so he will make the squad.
I believe this is how the season will start:



Green,Schultz, Bradley riding the pine

Bourque, Steckel go back to Hershey with potential to be called up.

Klepis gets let go: Clymes is traded.

Emmy might get traded but I doubt it.

Posted by: Shaggy | September 19, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse


I think what you've got looks good in theory, but I just don't see Backstrom starting on the 3rd line. My guess is:



Green, Boomer, Bradley/Laich riding the pine

Posted by: Yosh | September 19, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

with boomeds. stingrays don't even want him.

Posted by: you can't be serious | September 19, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

While I've not seen camp this year, I've been forced to watch Sutherby for going on four years now. Every camp, everyone is so optimistic about him putting it all together and finally becoming the player he was envisioned to be. I am becoming convinced that Sutherby will not be much better this year than last, but he'll again be secure in a spot that would be better filled by a Steckel, a Kyle Wilson, a Klepis, or whoever. When do the Caps and the fan base finally realize that he has no dramatic upside, and that the Caps would be well served to move on?

Posted by: sfischer | September 19, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

It is really great to the two of the team's best players "encourage" each other. As other have expressed in this Blog, I can hardly wait for the season to start.

Posted by: A Hardwick | September 19, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Putting Backstrom on the 3rd or 4th line accomplishes absolutely nothing. It would be like putting flash on there.

Get a clue.

Posted by: TJ | September 19, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

This is a very young team defensively:
Emi -23
Green - 21
Juice - 24
Mo - 24
Pokulok - 21
Schultz - 21
Even Erskine is only 26.

Big expectations for some pretty young dudes. Which is why I wouldnt be surprised to see a trade/signing for an experienced blueliner down the road.

Posted by: shaggy | September 19, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, any stabs in the dark about a potential trade or just a vague hunch?

Posted by: langway | September 19, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Isn't this Clymer's second fight so far (one in the Carolina game) this year? He must be trying to prove something, but in my opinion there's no more room for him on this team.

Posted by: Sonia | September 19, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

So who won... Clymer or Mo?

Posted by: Andy | September 19, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

You would have to assume that if Green and Schultz don't make the top six, GMGM is going to feel that its more important that they get PT in Hershey instead of being healthy scratches. This'll probably apply to Flash again, too.

Posted by: tallbear | September 19, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

i think you nailed it yosh, and that looks good to me, assuming tomas can hang

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse


Flash is unsigned as of yet I believe, so I would think in order to sign him, he would only accept a 1-way contract. I could be wrong though.

Posted by: Leigh | September 19, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

If you watched today's scrimmage, you wouldn't have Flash on the first line. Ovie set him for two point blank shots and he missed both. Maybe he'll come around but I wouldn't bet the house on it. Backstrom's not going anywhere, Tarik. Watching him play on the second line with Nyls and Semin, he looked completely at home. In fact, that line has the potential to be the Caps #1 line. The third line with Clark, Gordon and Pettinger dominated when they were out there. I have no idea how Caps management is going to cut this team down because there are so many good players fighting for spots. And to think that last year we had to move Clymer to defense to fill out the team.

Posted by: b.orr4 | September 19, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone figured out why Ovie bombed so badly on shootout attempts last year?

Posted by: JR | September 19, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

How has Boumedienne done enough to make this squad? Granted I have not seen him play for a while, but lets be honest, the Caps while hopefully a playoff team are not Stanley Cup team, how can it be justified giving him a spot over one of the younger guys? Get them some playing time

Posted by: BC | September 19, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I think Flash's not signing was obviously precautionary to see what kind of camp he would have but you have to like his chances. He can do no more in the A and he needs NHL minutes or he'll never get any better. Klepis is too undisciplined with all the lazy penalties - I think he's had a decent shot but there ar better options now.

Posted by: Shaggy | September 19, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse


A one-way contract doesn't mean Flash can't play in Hershey.

Posted by: PuckMan93 | September 19, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse


Is Boomer looking that good in camp, or is just penciled in automatically to be the Swedish mentor for Backstrom?

Posted by: old time hockey | September 19, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Boomer's a Finn, but he does speak Swedish.
Dunno how he's looked at camp, I only saw him play in Finland last season..

Posted by: NK | September 19, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse


Who won the fight and who broke it up?

Posted by: LB | September 19, 2007 2:27 PM | Report abuse

I watched Green in Hershey a few times last year or so and he looked just way too good at that level. I thought he looked great with the caps until the injury bug hit and he almost had to be a #2 guy for us. I dont think he was ready to carry the team, but i do think he should stay in the big leagues to develop. IMO, Shultz should go down, he's still very young too. He's big, but doesnt play the boards as well as he could - that is if Hershey fans want him there - they seemed pretty down on him the games i went to ??

I'd love to see Bourque make the squad in some capacity - I was very impressed with him.

Time for management to make some decisions - we cant keep them all.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

In regards to Clymer, Bradley, etc...if GMGM and Ted decide to cut players of this caliber, how does that affect salary cap? And what can the team really expect in return if they traded them? Mid round draft picks?

Posted by: Yosh | September 19, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

it's about time they practiced the shootout. criminy. i didn't understand hanlon's reluctance to practice it before.

Posted by: jamebow | September 19, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I think Tarik's line projections were pretty good, based on watching today's scrimmage at Ketter. The 3rd line stayed intact all morning - Clark, Pett and Gordo. Fleischman is not 1st line RW, period, he has not had a great camp. Unfortunately no one has separated so unless they move Clark up, this is going to be an issue. the 2nd line of Nyl-Semin-Backis is fine, likely set. 4th line is Brashear plus two of Bradley, Sutherby, Clymer and Laich. One of these guys could actually end up on the 1st line if Flash does not pick it up.

Posted by: Caps Fan in MD | September 19, 2007 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Forgot to add - about the D, Green will make it and play top 6 D for sure.

green-boumedi if boomer stays

eminger sits or plays if boomer goes to europe, erskine swaps in with eminger, and schultz goes to Hershey, he is OK but not ready for full-time and no reason to rush him.

Posted by: Caps Fan in MD | September 19, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse

i can't believe we are even debating whether sutherby, bradley, clymer, klepis, erskine and boomer are going to make this team. plenty of chances to impress but they are not nhlers. the first line rw issue will be addressed when fehr is ready to return in the near future. until then, flash or clark are the options. bouchard should have been given a better look but his ommission from the roster indicates that fehr will arrive in the near future as the #1 rw option.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I agree with sfischer about Sutherby. He's had way too many chances, and just doesn't have the footspeed or hands to succeed in today's NHL. I think Eminger should be on his last chance too -- GMGM has to divorce himself from failed first round picks and move on. Eminger is still young enough, but Sutherby will be turning 26 this season; when is enough enough?

I like Yosh's projected lineup too, though the reports here of Fleischmann's play aren't encouraging. If anything, maybe they should just take a leap of faith and throw him out there with OV and Kozlov the first week of the season, and see if he can right the ship.

Posted by: Bret | September 19, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

We're not debating... However, I have no problem with people that want to fantasize and waste time talking about things that they know little about.

It is a free world, after all.

Very few of the "experts" on here have ever been to a Caps practice and if they have they aren't there often enough to see the complete picture. Our locker rooms are closed.

I don't know where they get all of their knowledge from, but they seem to have all the answers.

If you want to actually know whats going on... Listen to Tarik!

Posted by: Coach H | September 19, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Was that the real coach H or just a poser?
Vogs was commenting on his Caps report today that Hanlon does read these boards and is amazed by all the proposals we make on personnel. Of course, it could have just been Tarik promoting himself. :-)

Posted by: b.orr4 | September 19, 2007 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Hey guys, we have six or seven more preseason games ,the next two or three for evaluating the current rosters current level of play. day by day it will get settled and when the season starts we have a good availabilty close by for call ups if someone falls on there face or gets hurt.
Looks to be a hell of a lot better season than last , Enjoy/.

Posted by: dorgeloh | September 19, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Boomer - the Finn - born in Stockholm, Sweden. These boards sure a hoot.

Posted by: Sigh | September 19, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

the guy was half right. I'm writing about Boumedienne for tomorrow's post. he's half finn and half algerian. somehow his parents met and settled down in stockholm.

Posted by: Tarik | September 19, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse

and BTW, Coach H isn't me.

Posted by: Tarik | September 19, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

So, Fehr's just going to waltz in and take the top line RW spot - riiiiiiiggggghhhht.

Flash just makes sense. He isnt going to be let go if he doesnt score 8 goals per scrimmage/pre-season game. Hanlon knows what he can do.

You've got to give these guys some time to click. As TEB said: these 2 weeks will be fun.

But I really doubt Fehr is even close to 50% of game shape, if that. He failed the freaking physical, for God's sake.

Posted by: Shaggy | September 19, 2007 4:59 PM | Report abuse

does failing the physical equate to physically out of shape or is it medically related?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Sutherby is the kind of player who you'd love to have in the playoffs and thrives in that type of situation, not the grind of the season. Unfortunately, haven't had any oppurtunities to show that...

Posted by: chris | September 19, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

It's medical. He has a lingering back/hip/groin/toenail/whatever injury.

Posted by: norske | September 19, 2007 5:28 PM | Report abuse

My concern w/ Flash is what he does when he doesn't have the puck. Last yr there were times when Fleischmann seemed lost or ice skating. We'll see.

Posted by: Jim | September 19, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

IM sorry but i gotta say i think that a
line would be an A+ "shut down" 3rd line.

As far as Sutherby goes i think that he needs to stop trying to be a goal scorer and focus on agitating.

the fast guys get paid, they shoot and they score, protect they sudsy thats what ur here for!

Posted by: livinit | September 19, 2007 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Wouldn't it be great if we had a versatile, two-way forward that we could plug on the first line? Someone whose defensive presence could have allowed Ovechkin to cheat a bit on defense. Say, someone with the initials of DZ? Alas, I digress. (And, yes, I think DZ @ $3M+/yr is too expensive for the Caps...but it's nice to occasionally imagine that we threw money around like the 'skins!)

Posted by: topshelf22304 | September 19, 2007 6:27 PM | Report abuse

I am a little surprised that Alzner and Bouchard were sent back to their junior teams already. I thought both, especially Alzner were going to get good looks. I guess they can be called up whenever the team realizes what they don't have in Laich, Sutherby, Clymer, and maybe even Gordon.

Posted by: capfan1 | September 19, 2007 6:35 PM | Report abuse

I think debating line pairings is all well and good but no one has discussed goaltending.
In my mind, our goaltending is a major issue, ESPECIALLY if Olie gets hurt. I know Johnny has a decent save percentage and GAA but to make the playoffs and win a Stanley Cup you need two steady goaltenders and we don't have it.
Anyone else?

Here's a trade for ya:
Sutherby, Clymer, Eminger and maybe one of our abundant goalie prospects for Bryzgalov.. :)

Posted by: Roger | September 19, 2007 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Capfan1 - Any players sent down to Juniors cannot be called up to the AHL or NHL until their season ends. We're not going to see Bouchard or Alzner in a Caps jersey this year.

Posted by: topshelf22304 | September 19, 2007 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Say, someone with the initials of DZ?

So can Zubie be officially described as the new Bondra?

Posted by: Yosh | September 20, 2007 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Some of you guys are just too funny. A players misses two shots in a SCRIMMAGE, of all things, and you're ready to doom him and ship him out here. Developing good young players takes time, a lot of time.
Good to know that none here has any kind of input on the Caps' development.

Posted by: Scai | September 20, 2007 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Scai...I agree with you. I think based on Flash's performance during SOME games last year represents his upside...granted he needs to be MUCH MORE consistent, but I think with extra minutes and playing along side OV and Kozlov would obviously help him tremondously...

Posted by: Yosh | September 20, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

topshelf, we have that player. his name is chris clark. only he can score 30 goals, fight, and play with half his mouth broken out. he can do it cheaper than zubrus, at that.

Posted by: pgreene | September 20, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I'm with Scai and Yosh... maybe we should be hired as consultants to GMGM

Posted by: Bret | September 20, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Sutherby, Clymer, Bradley, Klepis and Laich should all be traded for future picks. They have enough defensive prospects and young nhlers that they don't need to get another 4th-5th defenseman.

There's a lot of young talent in the AHL and CHL, but it would be wise to keep stock piling future first round picks.

Posted by: CapsFan | September 20, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Clarkie would be indeed so much better on that Pettinger Gordon line. I agree with the fellow who said Ovechkin can score on his own, and I like the idea of Backstrom Semin Nylander as a line, because then you have them taking on the top guys, and Ovechkin taking on second tier forwards - basically two top lines, throw in Kozlov, and whoo.

Sutherby's grown into one of my favorite players. The other four guys you list, CapsFan, I can make arguments to trade, but you need a grind line. With the Caps, two would be most efficient. Caps hockey has always been grind, pound, and cycle, not flash, dash, and snipe (Exception to Bondra). Defense got the Caps to their only championship. You gotta build your team from that nucleus, and go from there.

Posted by: Whiter Mage | September 20, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

CapsFan, you're not gonna get a first round pick for either of these five, not even if you package them altogether.
Clymer is a fourth-liner earning 1 Mio this year, 1,1 Mio next year. If it was possible to trade this guy for anything it would have already been done.
The other guys also have little to no value, at the very best you'd get a 3rd or 4th rounder.

Posted by: Scai | September 20, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

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