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Article:Daily Caps Report, Backstrom to Line 2

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The Washington Capitals embark on a 5 game road tour out west, sitting at 3-1-1, 7 points and in third place overall in the Eastern Conference.

One thing that is for certain, I think Alexander Ovechkin gets out of the mini-slump he is in in the start of the season.  Ovechkin has 2 goals and that is it.  Look for the awakening of Alex Ovechkin on the road trip.  If not, I am more than willing to0 come back and grovel.

So, how are the Capitals sitting at 7 points after 5 games with a could Ovechkin?  Because the Capitals are not the same NHL team that depends one just one player.  This team has offense and the offense is not just one super stud.  This team also has one fo the best athletes, the quick stick handlers in Alexander Semin and he is off to a roaring start.  Last season, Semin was sidelined for a bulk of the start of the season with an ankle injury and it took Semin sometime to find his offensive prowess.  This year — Semin is healthy and putting up  impressive numbers.

Semin is off to a hot start.  In 5 games, Semin has accumulated 10 points, including 6 goals.  But, watching the Caps, Semin’s play goes beyond just the tallies and helpers.  Semin is playing aggressive hockey, his puck handling has never been better, and although he still at times will give away a pretty poor turnovers, it is much less so than last season.  Semin has stepped up his play in more avenues than just scoring and is helping fuel the Capitals offense. Offensively though, many may not take notice of Semin’s increase level of play elsewhere in his game because of his hot start.  His 10 points is tied with Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin for the lead in the NHL.

The Caps played a bit of minor roster shuffle.  The Caps recalled D Tyler Sloan form Hershey and sent down Chris Bourque.  The moves was kind of expected because Donald Brashear is expected to be back while Tom Poti may not be.  Nice to see Sloan get a shot while Poti is out.  He has been an effective blue liner for the Bears last season and so far this season.  he has tallied 3 helper sin Hershey’s first 5 games.

Corey Masisak reports that the Capitals are shuffling the Lines a bit, perhaps recognizing that Nicklas Backstrom is struggling a little on Line 1.  Here are the new lines …

Ovechkin-Fedorov-Clark

Laich-Backstrom-Semin

Fleischmann-Nylander-Bradley

Brashear-Steckel-Gordon-Fehr

So Backstrom goes to Line 2, Sergei Fedorov to Line 1, likely to take more advantage of Ovechkin.  The magic that formed between Ovie and Backstrom last season seems to be missing so far in this young season.  Last season, after Backstrom was moved downed to line 2, it served as a catalyst for him to pick up his game.

Your Washington Capitals Leaderboard:

Goals:  ALEXANDER SEMIN, 6

Assists:  SEMIN, MICHAEL NYLANDER, SERGEI FEDOROV, 4

Points:  SEMIN, 10

PP Goals:  MIKE GREEN, 4

PP Assts:  MICHAEL NYLANDER, 2

ShG:  DAVE STECKEL, 1

+/-:  SEMIN, FEDOROV +6

Def Scoring:  MIKE GREEN, 6 POINTS

GAA:  BRENT JOHNSON, 2.71

Save%:  JOHNSON, .885

Wins:  JOSE THEODORE, 2

The Minor League Report:

Caps AHL affiliate Hershey bears suffered their first loss last night to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pens 5-4.  It was the first loss by the Bears after starting out 5-0 and looking completely dominant.  Hershey Coach Bob Woods took the loss in stride;

I don’t think anybody thought we were going to go 80-0 this year,” Bears head coach Bob Woods said. “We’ll just chalk it up as a learning experience.”

Keith Aucoin continues his absolutely maddening tear for the Bears, recording a goal and two assists last night.  Chris Bourque, back in Hershey from the Caps, recorded a goal and an assist.  Alexandre Giroux scored while Kyle Wilson added 2 assists and Karl Alzner added 1.

The Hershey Bears have cleared up their three goalie knot, sending highly touted 2006 draft pick Michal Neuvirth to the ECHL Caps affiliate South Carolina Stingrays.  Meanwhile, Bobby Goepfert was recalled to Herhey form South Carolina while prospect Simeon Varlamov heals a bit form as ore back.

The On Frozen Blog provides a great look at Simeon Varlamov and how he and the Bears are handling his transition to the AHL and the North American style game.  Good read.

Your Hershey Bears Leaderboard:

Goals:  ALEXANDRE GIROUX, GRAHAM MINK, 6

Assists:  KEITH AUCOIN, 10

Points:  KEITH AUCOIN, 14

PP Goals:  GRAHAM MINK, 3

ShG:   NONE

+/-:  KEITH AUCOIN, +7

Def Scoring:  SAMI LEPISTO, 5 POINTS

GAA:  DAREN MACHENSEY, 3.26

Save%:  MACHENSEY, .871

Wins:  MACHESNEY, 3

Read More at DC Pro Sports Report


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