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Wednesday Morning Update (Updated)

The Caps are on the ice a little bit late today - they were delayed leaving New York because of snow and sleet - and there are a few interesting developments.

I would give you the lines, but they have already changed once. Alex Ovechkin started the session skating with Nicklas Backstrom and Viktor Kozlov. But now the MVP is on a line with Brooks Laich and David Steckel (and the injured Eric Fehr). Not sure what's up with that, but I'll obviously get an update afterward.

Goalie Brent Johnson, who is battling a nagging hip injury, is not skating, while Simeon Varlamov and Jose Theodore are out there.

All the defensemen are on the ice, including Sean Collins.

Sergei Fedorov (ankle) and John Erskine (concussion) are not out practicing.

Before the team practice started, Brian Pothier skated in full gear for the first time in almost a year. He worked one-on-one with strength trainer Mark Nemish for about an hour, skating and firing one-timers. So he's definitely making progress.

Update:Okay, Ovechkin is still on the third line. But he's also not taking part in the drills. So it looks like he's getting a maintenance day, but is being required to sit on the bench. Remember, after last night's OT win on Long Island, Boudreau went out of his way to say "everyone" would practice today.

Update:Just ran into John Erskine. He said he has been working out the past few days and continues to improve. When I asked him when he hopes to return to practice, he said "tomorrow, maybe".

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 17, 2008; 12:19 PM ET
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Thanks Tarik -

What about Erskine and Fedorov?? How are they feeling...Ive noticed that our better offensive players don't play as much D...

When we have less injuries we tend to give up more goals/shots...

Anyone else agree?

Posted by: DCSPORTS | December 17, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Tarik,
Rough go last night for Collins, I'm pretty sure he'll go back down once Sloan is ready to play. Good news about Pots, still not sure he'll ever suit in a Caps jersey again. One last thing I wanted to ask .... % chance we see Erskine hit the LTIR?

Posted by: MFepelst | December 17, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

That is such great news about Pothier.

Is BB going to give Johnny any more of a rest? He is playing so well but we need him healthy.

Is Varlamov going to play the Blues or will Jose be back?

Posted by: caryh | December 17, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

That's great news indeed about Pothier. Here's to hoping that he doesn't have a relapse. From a recent article about his condition, it sounds like the main thing he is still battling is having his brain compensate for optic nerve damage, so he might still be many months from getting hand-eye coordination back to where it would have to be to play hockey again. But that is really less important than whether he can regain having a normal life, and I hope that remains everyone's first priority.

Posted by: dcunitedfan3 | December 17, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Remember when the Blues were really good every year?

Posted by: MarylanDChris | December 17, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I wish Caps'd just put 91 on LTIR, improving the odds that he'll have what they need in March, and April, and...
Give Alzner Erskine's job, tell Schultz hitting's allowed when he returns to the lineup, and viola, it's a revamped D.

Posted by: redlineblue | December 17, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Once upon a time, I recall that the Blues had the longest streak of consecutive playoff appearances (23 years, I believe), and the Caps had the second longest (16?, maybe). But then the early 2000s were not kind to either of us.

Posted by: Baildog | December 17, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Caps can't afford to overlook the Blues. They did that to NYI in the 3rd and it almost cost them.

I am interested to know who will be starting in net tomorrow.

Posted by: cbs75 | December 17, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I also remember that there was some horrible Blues-related injury where a guy was almost paralyzed or something. I remember watching that as a kid. Actually, I think BJ was in net that day (I think that it was an afternoon game).

Posted by: MarylanDChris | December 17, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

great news about the sexy lumberjack

Posted by: _stevo | December 17, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

If you were a "kid" when BJ was playing for the Blues then you must still be a kid, at least to most of us on this blog...Man, I feel old!!! I was thinking back to when Mike Liut played goal for the Blues......

Posted by: PhilR | December 17, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

@cbs75: Agreed, we can't blow off anyone in the league, really. If we can almost get sunk by the Islanders, we've got to look out below for every single team.

Awesome news on Pothier. It'll still be next season before we see him, if ever at all, I think, but it's good that he's floating around and he's still here. Seeing these updates has given me a lot more hope for the guy than I ever thought I'd have.

I'm also interested to see who's starting in net Thursday. The feel-good choice is Varlamov, but as much as I like the idea, I'm thinking it might not be the best choice. There's no question that I want Johnny healthy for Saturday, and if that means that I see Theodore or Varlamov on Thursday, I'll cheerfully take it.

I'm beginning to be seriously concerned about Erskine. How many games has he been out now? The ticker on Vs. last night said 1-2 weeks for him.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 17, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Any signs of Fehr and his return? Hershey would sure love to get Giroux back :)

Posted by: HBFan | December 17, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse


Maybe I'm losing my mind. Do you remember what year that happened in? I could be distorting facts.

Posted by: MarylanDChris | December 17, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the updates Tarik. Has Backstrom gotten over his migraine issue? I caught on last night's telecast that he was having vision problems, which could be significant, especially in the wake of the Alexei Cherepanov tragedy. Hopefully #19 is experiencing no ill effects and ready to go on Thursday.

Posted by: sandyflee | December 17, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I don't recall that game.....I do remember the Blues teams of the 80's though and they were good, very good.....I'll have to do some snooping around on the net to see if I can find the incident you are referring to......

Posted by: PhilR | December 17, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse


Are you thinking about Chris Pronger when he was with the Blues? He went into cardiac arrest after taking a slapshot in the chest. That was probably about 10 years ago.

Posted by: tess2201 | December 17, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Alzner is already a +6 rating. All he does is just play really smart defense and give the puck to Jurcina for bombs on the net. I love it.

Posted by: dsphvywght | December 17, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

How does Theodore look Tarik? Basically does he look to be past his injury and is there any indication Varlamov is headed back to Hershey?

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 17, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I hear Donnie Beaupre is coming out of retirement to play for the Caps.

Posted by: mnmnt_snow | December 17, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Its good for OV to come to practice, even for just a little while. It sends the right message. You have to think the lines are pretty much not relevant in practice, since BB would be an idiot to break up that Semin-Backstrom-OV line. Say whay you will about overloading the first line, but that non look behind the back pass goal was sick sick sick.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | December 17, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I hear Brett Leonhardt is coming out of retirement to play for the Caps.

Posted by: mnmnt_snow | December 17, 2008 1:31 PM


Posted by: Section117 | December 17, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse


Ah! Yes! That’s EXACTLY what I was thinking of! Man was I waaaaaay off on that paralysis thing… OK, so 10 years ago or… hmm… I wouldn’t have really been a kid, per se, I guess ;-) Oh well, good to have the clarification! Thanks!

Posted by: MarylanDChris | December 17, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

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