Caps' Knuble: We all look bad

Posted on: Wednesday 11/9/2011 5:54am

By: Ben Raby

WASHINGTON - Capitals forward Mike Knuble was brutally honest in his postgame assessment after the Dallas Stars beat the Caps 5-2 Tuesday at Verizon Center.

Knuble was critical of the Caps defensive effort against Dallas and suggested that if things don't change, the Caps two-game losing streak could quickly spiral into something worse.

"It's like embarrassing when you're on the ice and guys are beating you," Knuble said.

"[We're] just playing like a bunch of losers. You're going to lose if you play like that - you're going to lose every night in the league. Let alone talking about playoffs and all that. You'll lose every night in the league and I think we all went through that last year."

The Capitals were outshot 36-32, but the Stars it seemed were in control of the game for much of the night. Dallas used its speed to gain the Washington zone, and once inside the blue line the Stars kept mounting pressure on a Capitals bunch that appeared just a step slower.

"It takes a commitment," Knuble said of playing better defensively. "We practice it in practice. We can't say we're not prepared. We know what we're doing, we talk about it- we watch film about it. And then it's just a commitment to doing it on the ice. Maybe through the first five games I felt top to bottom it was a better commitment. Of late, I don't know if we're all committed."

After winning seven straight games to begin the season, the Caps have lost four of their last six. They have also allowed at least four goals in four of their last five games.

"It's sad to say, and we all look bad because of the result - because we don't all commit. We look great when we're all committing. We look all like a bunch of clowns when we don't. A very average team when we're not all committed."

Knuble also suggested that there is a lack of urgency among his teammates.

"I don't know if it's because it's November - there's not that urgency yet. Nobody's really under the gun at all. We still feel like the season's early."

STARS SHINING:

With Tuesday's win in D.C., the Stars improved to an NHL-best 11-3-0 on the season. Free agent signee Michael Ryder scored twice and combined with linemates Loui Eriksson and Jamie Benn for six points, a plus-six rating and 15 shots on goal.

The Capitals No.1 line of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Troy Brouwer meanwhile had one assist between them, while combining for a minus-six rating and seven shots on goal.

Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen also continued his strong start to the season, stopping 30 of 32 shots while earning his league leading 11th win (11-1, 2.13 goals-against-average and .936 save percentage).

The Stars have won four straight and are 2-0-0 on their current four-game road trip which also includes stops in Pittsburgh on Friday, and Detroit on Saturday.

AVS WATCH 2012:

Johan Franzen had a hat trick and Jimmy Howard made 24 saves as the Detroit Red Wings beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-2. Colorado has lost four straight and six of seven overall as the Avs drop to 7-7-1 on the year.

The Capitals received Colorado's first round pick in next June's NHL Entry Draft as part of the deal that sent goalie Semyon Varlamov to Denver last summer.

Varlamov is on a personal four-game losing streak, and was pulled in the second period Tuesday after allowing three goals on 16 shots. The Avs host the New York Islanders (4-6-2) on Thursday.

Catch the Capitals and Devils Friday at 7:05. Coverage begins with Caps Pregame on Federal News Radio, 1500AM and online at www.wfed.com.

Caps' Erskine approaches milestone

Posted on: Monday 11/7/2011 11:11pm By benraby

Ben Raby, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – Playing against the Dallas Stars has always been special for Capitals defenseman John Erskine, who was selected by Dallas in the second round (39th overall) of the 1998 NHL draft.

But Tuesday’s meeting with the Stars at Verizon Center could be particularly meaningful for Erskine who is expected to skate in his 400th career NHL game.

“I should have played 400 [games] a long time ago,” Erskine said. “I’ve been through a lot of injuries and healthy scratches, but if I’m in the lineup [Tuesday] facing the first team that drafted me, it will be a good experience.”

Erskine has played just three games this season after undergoing shoulder surgery last May. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound defenseman has been a frequent visitor to the Caps training room since signing with Washington in 2006 but finally stayed healthy last season.

Erskine had a career year in 2010-11, appearing in 73 games and recording four goals and 11 points – all personal bests. He was also rewarded last December with a two-year extension that will keep him in D.C. through the 2012-13 season.

But as Erskine has grown comfortable with his surroundings in Washington, the 31-year-old still appreciates the opportunity provided to him by the Stars to start his professional career more than ten years ago.

“The team was unbelievable to me,” Erskine said. “They brought me up and the older guys like [Mike] Modano and [Derian] Hatcher and [Richard] Matvichuk kind of took me under their wings and helped me along.

“When I played there, the majority of the team was old. They would take guys out for dinner all the time. [Sergei] Zubov would take me out for dinner in training camp, so little things like that would help young guys along the way and it meant a lot.”

Erskine played 107 games for Dallas from 2001-05, before being dealt to the New York Islanders. After a 26-game stint on Long Island, Erskine signed with the Capitals as a free agent, where he has since played 258 games.

Erskine’s status for Tuesday likely rests on the health of Mike Green. Green has missed five straight games and does not appear ready to return. If Green is cleared to play, Erskine could be a healthy scratch.

Catch the Capitals and Stars Tuesday at 7:05. Coverage begins with Caps Pregame on Federal News Radio, 1500AM and online at www.wfed.com.

Backstrom named NHL's Third Star of the Week

Posted on: Monday 11/7/2011 3:10pm By benraby

AP: 16499fe2-b717-4a50-8be6-b07d18636f7d
Washington Capitals' Nicklas Backstrom (19), of Sweden, scores on Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Raleigh, N.C., Friday, Nov. 4, 2011. Washington won 5-1. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Ben Raby, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom was named the NHL’s third star of the week, the League announced Monday.

In three games last week, Backstrom had three goals and three assists. He also scored both the game-tying and game-winning goals in the Caps’ 5-4 overtime win over Anaheim last Tuesday.

“I’m scoring points and it feels good,” Backstrom said, “but I think we’ve gotten to another level as a team.”

Coming off a career-low 65 points last season, Backstrom has been instrumental in the Capitals best start in franchise history (a 9-3-0 record through 12 games).

The Caps’ No.1 center leads the team with 18 points (five goals and 13 assists), and is third overall in NHL scoring, behind only Toronto’s Phil Kessel (21 points) and Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux (19 points).

“I haven’t really noticed anything different, except maybe he’s shooting a little more,” head coach Bruce Boudreau said of Backstrom’s game this season.

“But with Nicky, whether he’s scoring or not scoring, he’s such a contributor at both ends of the ice that you’d never know as a coach whether he’s playing a bad game or a good game if you’re just looking at offensive statistics.”

Backstrom credits his quick start to the collective maturation of the team and to his beginning the season healthy.

The 23-year-old suffered a thumb injury last February that sidelined him for five games and slowed him down for the rest of the season.

In nine playoff games last spring, Backstrom was held to just two assists.

 “Obviously you play better when you’re healthy and I was struggling a bit with my thumb,” Backstrom said. “It wasn’t an excuse last year. There were just things that happened that we had to deal with, but obviously I’m feeling better now.”

Backstrom’s 10 power play points this season are also a League-best, and he enters Tuesday’s game against Dallas with four straight multi-point games.

Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding was named the NHL’s first star of the week after going 3-0-0 with a goals-against-average of 0.99 and a .968 save percentage.

Backstrom’s teammate at the 2010 Winter Olympics, Dallas Stars forward Loui Eriksson, was named the NHL’s second star of the week after scoring twice and adding four assists in a pair of Dallas wins.

Catch the Capitals and Stars Tuesday at 7:05. Coverage begins with Caps Pregame on Federal News Radio, 1500AM and online at www.wfed.com.

Follow Ben Raby and WTOP on Twitter.

Capitals Weekend Roundup

Posted on: Monday 11/7/2011 7:46am

AP: 16499fe2-b717-4a50-8be6-b07d18636f7d
Washington Capitals' Nicklas Backstrom (19), of Sweden, scores on Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Raleigh, N.C., Friday, Nov. 4, 2011. Washington won 5-1. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Ben Raby, wtop.com

The Capitals have assigned D.J. King to the American Hockey League's Hershey Bears, the club announced Sunday.

King has dressed in only one of Washington's 12 games this season, skating a mere 6:58 in a 2-1 win against the Ottawa Senators on Oct. 15.

The 27-year-old appeared in just 16 games last season, and spoke to management late last month regarding his desire to play more.

In response, the Capitals placed King on waivers last Monday but none of the NHL's 29 other teams put in a claim.

"I need to play hockey," King said last week. "If I want to prolong my career in the NHL, I need to play hockey. No one can prolong their career if they're only playing 15 games a year."

With his assignment to Hershey, King should see more game action moving forward, albeit in the AHL. King is set to become a free agent next summer and would probably be best served to showcase his skills somewhere other than at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

King will continue to receive his full $650,000 salary, but his $637,500 cap hit will not count against the Capitals' salary cap while he is playing outside the NHL.

Without King, the Caps active roster now consists of 22 players (13 forwards, seven defensemen and two goalies), with forward Jay Beagle on injured reserve, and defenseman Tom Poti on long-term IR.

Back to Form for Backstrom:

Don't be surprised to see Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom among the NHL's three stars of the week when the league announces its weekly honorees Monday afternoon.

Coming off a career-low 65 points last season, Backstrom has been instrumental in the Capitals best start in franchise history (a 9-3-0 record through 12 games).

The Caps' No.1 center leads the team with 18 points (five goals and 13 assists), and is third overall in NHL scoring (through Sunday), behind only Toronto's Phil Kessel (21 points) and Philadelphia's Claude Giroux (19 points). Backstrom's ten power play points are also a league best.

"Offensively," head coach Bruce Boudreau says, "he's putting up (numbers) as good as he has before. But whether he scores or whether he doesn't, he's such an integral part (of the team) because he does everything else well."

Backstrom's ten power play points this season are also a league best, and he enters Tuesday's game against Dallas with four straight multi-point games.

In three games last week, Backstrom had three goals and three assists. He also scored both the game-tying and game-winning goals in the Caps' 5-4 overtime win over Anaheim last Tuesday.

Seeing Stars:

The Capitals return home Tuesday for their only meeting of the season against the Dallas Stars. The Stars have missed the playoffs in each of the last three seasons, but they sit atop the Western Conference at 10-3-0 through the first month of the season.

Dallas began a four-game road trip with a 5-2 win Sunday in Carolina. The Stars' top-line of Jamie Benn, Loui Eriksson and Michael Ryder combined for three goals and eight points.

Sheldon Souray, who spent last season with the Hershey Bears, has four goals and 12 points and is fifth in NHL scoring among defensemen. Souray's plus-10 rating is also a league-best.

The Stars have also benefited from solid play between the pipes, where Kari Lehtonen is an NHL-best 10-1-0, with a 2.14 goals-against-average and .936 save percentage.

Avs Watch 2012:

The Colorado Avalanche fell at home Sunday, 2-1 to the Calgary Flames. Colorado has lost three straight and five of six overall as the Avs drop to 7-6-1 on the year.

The Capitals received Colorado's first round pick in next June's NHL Entry Draft as part of the deal that sent goalie Semyon Varlamov to Denver last summer.

Varlamov is on a personal three-game losing streak, having allowed 12 goals in the three games. The Avs visit the Detroit Red Wings (6-5-1) on Tuesday.

Catch the Capitals and Stars Tuesday at 7:05. Coverage begins with Caps Pregame on Federal News Radio, 1500AM and online at www.wfed.com.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

Injured Beagle closer to return

Posted on: Thursday 11/3/2011 1:39pm By benraby

Ben Raby, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Capitals forward Jay Beagle plans to skate Friday for the first time since suffering a concussion in an Oct. 13 fight against Pittsburgh’s Arron Asham.

“When you go down like that, it’s kind of scary,” Beagle said Thursday, speaking to reporters for the first time since the injury.

“You don’t want to come back too early and get hit and turn something into a two-month, maybe a [season-long] thing. You don’t know with head injuries.”

Beagle would not go so far as to call his injury a concussion, but the Capitals have been particularly cautious in treating his head injury.

The 26-year-old admits that he was looking forward to practicing with the team the day after the Pittsburgh game before being told that he would have to sit.

“I’ve been feeling great and they’ve just been really holding me back and making sure that this doesn’t turn into something worse… Even the day after, I came to practice and I was like, 'OK let’s practice.’ I was in the meetings, I watched video and then they pulled me aside and said, 'Hey we have to make sure that this doesn’t turn into something a lot worse.’”

The NHL has taken steps regarding concussion protocol and when a player can return from a head injury. Even in Beagle’s case, there is still one more test he must pass Friday before he can skate.

“I’ve never had a concussion that I know of,” head coach Bruce Boudreau said. “They didn’t identify them when I played, but if you feel good you want to get out there. You need somebody, for your own protection, to tell you, 'No, you’re not ready to go yet.’”

In the meantime, Beagle says that he has been lifting weights, riding the bike and working out in the gym. He says he has no lingering symptoms and is hopeful of a return to the lineup by next weekend.

“I think once I get on the ice, I’ll be ready to go hopefully in a week. I like to work hard so once I get out there and as soon as I get back in shape, I’ll be ready to go.”

Beagle has played in just two games this season, registering seven penalty minutes and three shots on goal. Despite the aftermath of his first career NHL fight, Beagle does not plan to shy away from any physicality.

“It won’t change my game at all, that stuff happens," he said. "You get hit in the jaw a certain way and you go down. It won’t change my game or anything. If I have to fight I’ll fight and hopefully that never happens again, but it's hockey.”

Catch the Capitals and Hurricanes tomorrow at 7:05 p.m. Coverage begins with Caps Pregame on Federal News Radio, 1500AM and online at www.wfed.com.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

Brouwer misses Caps practice

Posted on: Thursday 11/3/2011 1:29pm By benraby

Ben Raby, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Troy Brouwer missed his second straight practice Thursday due to an apparent shoulder injury. Brouwer was hit by Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman late in the third period of Washington’s 5-4 overtime win over Anaheim Tuesday at Verizon Center.

Brouwer has been a fixture on the Capitals top line for much of the season along with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.

Given Brouwer’s absence at practice Thursday, head coach Bruce Boudreau reunited the familiar trio of Ovechkin, Backstrom and Alexander Semin.

“We know that they like playing with each other,” Boudreau said of his three leading scorers in each of the past three seasons. “It’s something when you have injuries, depending on who you play or what your game plan is, sometimes it works.”

Brouwer’s injury could also mean a longer stay with the Caps for rookie Cody Eakin, who made his NHL debut in Tuesday’s win against the Ducks.

Eakin did not look out of place in his first career NHL game, skating 13:19 and registering three shots on goal.

Boudreau had the 20-year-old Eakin skate on a "young guns" line at Thursday’s practice with Marcus Johansson, 21, and Mathieu Perreault, 23.

“There’s not a lot of experience there,” Boudreau joked. “But all over the history of hockey, there have been so called ‘kid lines' -- every team sort of has one and we hadn’t had one before. It just seemed that this was a proper time just to see what the enthusiasm of three young guys could bring to a game.

“They bring a lot of speed and a lot of enthusiasm.”

Injured defenseman Mike Green (ankle) skated lightly for about 30 minutes. Green has missed three straight games and Boudreau said that Green will not play Friday against the Hurricanes.

The Capitals play back-to-back road games this weekend, Friday in Carolina and Saturday on Long Island.

Lines at Thursday’s practice:

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Semin

Eakin-Johansson-Perreault

Chimera-Laich-Ward/King

Hendricks-Halpern-Knuble

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

Three keys to beating Anaheim

Posted on: Tuesday 11/1/2011 1:34pm By benraby

Ben Raby, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – The Capitals return to Verizon Center tonight for their only meeting of the season against the Anaheim Ducks (Caps Pregame at 7:00 on 1500AM & www.wfed.com).

The Caps (7-2-0) were winless on their two-game trip to western Canada, falling in Edmonton Thursday and in Vancouver Saturday. The Ducks (5-5-1) have also lost two straight, dropping back-to-back games over the weekend in Nashville and Columbus.

Anaheim has lost five of six overall and the Ducks are 29th among the NHL’s 30 teams, averaging just 1.91 goals per game. Meanwhile, Washington is a perfect 5-0 on home ice for the first time in franchise history, and the Caps’ 3.78 goals per game are a league best.

With offensive contributions coming from all four lines, and Washington’s power play clicking at 25.7 percent (third-best in the NHL), the Capitals will need to improve their play away from the puck if they hope to return to the win column.

Below are three keys to a win tonight over Anaheim:

Contain Anaheim’s No.1 line of Perry-Getzlaf-Ryan

To fully appreciate the Ducks’ dependency on their No.1 line, consider that Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan have combined for 12 goals this season. The rest of the team has combined for nine.

Widely considered the best trio in the NHL, Perry, Getzlaf and Ryan accounted for nearly 44 percent of Anaheim’s scoring last season, led by Perry’s league-high 50 goals.

“You have to shut them down to give yourself a chance to win,” said Capitals forward Joel Ward, who faced the Ducks in the Western Conference quarterfinals last year while playing with Nashville.

“They’re big guys that can skate well. It’s a quick line, they’re big bodies, so you have to pay close attention to them and obviously just take away their space.”

If Washington head coach Bruce Boudreau tries to match lines with Anaheim’s Randy Carlyle, the task of shutting down the Ducks No. 1 trio will likely fall on Ward and fellow third-liners Matt Hendricks and Brooks Laich.

In two games against the Caps last season, the Perry-Getzlaf-Ryan line combined for four goals and 12 points, highlighted by Getzlaf’s overtime game-winner Dec. 15 in DC.

Perry was named the NHL’s Most Valuable Player last season and is not afraid of high-traffic areas. The Stanley Cup (2007) and Olympic (2010) champion scores the bulk of his goals from close in and his 11 game-winning goals last year were tied for the NHL lead with Alex Ovechkin.

Getzlaf, who also has a Stanley Cup and Olympic championship on his resume, is the playmaker on Anaheim’s top-unit. The 6’4", 221-pound center doesn’t shy away from the physicality either, and finished 19th among forwards last year with 189 hits.

Ryan rounds out the top line with his speed and puck skills. The 24-year-old is the youngest of Anaheim’s leading scorers and is one of only nine players with at least 30 goals in each of the last three seasons.

Stay Disciplined

Going into last Thursday’s road game in Edmonton, the Capitals were the NHL’s least penalized team. The Caps then went out and took a season-high nine minor penalties against the Oilers, leaving themselves shorthanded eight times. Predictably, the Oilers scored two power play goals in their 2-1 win.

Saturday wasn’t much better in Vancouver, where the Canucks converted on two of five power plays in their 7-4 win.

“The thing that really has to get better is our penalty killing, which was really good last year and is really not very good right now,” Boudreau said after Saturday’s loss. “We have to correct that. It’s put us in the hole in both games that we’ve lost. In games that we’ve won, we’ve still allowed (power-play) goals. We shore that up, and a lot of other things take care of themselves.”

The Capitals penalty-killing unit is rated 23rd in the league at 77.1 percent. The Caps finished second in the NHL last season at 85.6 percent.

“We just have to stay out of the box and we won’t have any issues on the PK,” said defenseman Roman Hamrlik. “We can take lessons from the last two games in Edmonton and Vancouver. We’re just not doing the little things that we’re supposed to do… We’re just doing too much running [around] out there.”

The Ducks have struggled with man advantage this season (rated 22nd in the NHL at 13.3 percent), but have the weapons to rebound. Anaheim finished third in power play efficiency last season at 23.5 percent, with the same nucleus as this year.  

Limit Anaheim’s Shots on Goal

The Capitals gave up a season-high 43 shots on goal in Saturday’s 7-4 loss in Vancouver, including 17 shots in the first period alone.

The Ducks, meanwhile, have managed just 20 shots on goal in each of their last two games (with only one goal to show for it).

Anaheim is 27th in the league, averaging 25.6 shots per game. Washington is 25th overall, allowing 32.3 shots per game.

Tomas Vokoun is set to make his ninth straight start for the Capitals, despite Boudreau suggesting that the 35-year-old was not “sharp” in allowing three goals on 17 shots in Saturday’s first period.

Catch tonight’s broadcast as the Capitals take on the Anaheim Ducks. Caps PreGame begins at 7:00 on Federal News Radio, 1500AM & online at www.wfed.com.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

Former Caps prospect Gordon returns to D.C.

Posted on: Tuesday 11/1/2011 1:20pm By benraby

Ben Raby, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - When the Capitals host the Anaheim Ducks tonight at Verizon Center (Caps Pregame at 7:00 on 1500AM & www.wfed.com), a familiar face will be skating for the opposition.

Former Caps prospect and Hershey Bears forward Andrew Gordon signed a two-year deal with Anaheim in the offseason and will make his D.C. return tonight with the Ducks.

“Coming into training camp, I was hoping to get an opportunity to make the team and start the year with the team,” Gordon told Caps play-by-play voice John Walton this morning. “Once I did that, my next big objective was to stick around for this trip to Washington.”

Tonight will be Gordon’s 12th game of the season, matching his career total with the Caps from limited AHL call-ups spread over the past three years.

Gordon is still living out of an Orange County hotel and says it’s probably still another few months before he can really get comfortable as a full-time NHLer.

“Gordo is a worker,” said Anaheim head coach Randy Carlyle. “The one thing he did, he came into training camp and earned an opportunity. He was our best young player in training camp and maintained that through all of it.”

Gordon was selected by the Capitals in the seventh round of the 2004 entry draft (197th overall), and spent three full seasons with the Hershey Bears from 2008-11.

“I always saw him as someone who had the potential to play in the NHL,” said Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner, teammates with Gordon on back-to-back Calder Cup championship teams in Hershey in 2009 and 2010.

“My second year in Hershey he got to play on the top line in front of the net, just crash and bang and tipping pucks and he was one of the best players in the league. So he fits into a certain role and when he gets into that role he’s a great player.”

Gordon was a top-line scorer with AHL Hershey, but 11 games into his tenure in Anaheim he’s played primarily in a defensive checking role. He has been limited to one assist and a minus-4 rating entering tonight’s game against the Caps.

“The nice thing about him is that he’s also versatile,” Alzner said. “He’s one of the hardest working guys in the league and that’s what you need on your third line. He’s not a fun guy to play against for a defenseman or a forward for that matter, so it’s good to see him being successful.”

Catch tonight’s broadcast as the Capitals take on the Anaheim Ducks. Caps Pregame begins at 7 p.m. on Federal News Radio 1500AM & online at www.wfed.com.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

Caps recall Cody Eakin

Posted on: Tuesday 11/1/2011 9:31am

Ben Raby, wtop.com

WASHINGTON -- The Capitals have recalled center Cody Eakin from the American Hockey League Hershey Bears, the club announced this morning.

Eakin was among the final cuts at training camp and has three goals and eight points in his first 10 games with Hershey this season.

The 20 year old was the Capitals third round pick (85th overall) in the 2009 entry draft, but is widely regarded as one of the team's top prospects.

Eakin won a silver medal with Team Canada at the 2011 World Junior Hockey Championships and competed in the 2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup with the Western Hockey League's Kootenay Ice.

"He's got very good quickness," NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire said last year after covering the World Juniors.

"He's as tough as anybody as far willing to sacrifice his body to make plays. He loves to play, he doesn't take shifts off. He's a hustler, he's a guy who's going to buzz around and work all the time."

Catch tonight's broadcast as the Capitals take on the Anaheim Ducks. Caps Pregame begins at 7 p.m. on Federal News Radio, 1500AM & online at www.wfed.com.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

Boudreau tweaks forward lines

Posted on: Monday 10/31/2011 11:33am By benraby

Ben Raby, wtop.com

The Capitals had a different look Monday morning as they prepared to face the Anaheim Ducks Tuesday at Verizon Center (pregame coverage begins at 7:00 on 1500AM & www.wfed.com).

Washington is looking to rebound from an 0-2 western Canadian road trip and head coach Bruce Boudreau is hoping that a few changes to three of his forward lines could help.

While the Caps' top line of Ovechkin-Backstrom-Brouwer remained intact, Jason Chimera found himself on the second line with Marcus Johansson and Alexander Semin.

Matt Hendricks skated on the third line with Brooks Laich and Joel Ward, and Mike Knuble was in unfamiliar territory on the Caps’ fourth line with Jeff Halpern, Mathieu Perreault and D.J. King.

Trios at practice Monday morning:

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Brouwer

Chimera-Johansson-Semin

Hendricks-Laich-Ward

King-Perreault/Halpern-Knuble

Defensively, Mike Green missed his seventh straight practice due to an ankle injury. Jay Beagle (upper body injury) remained sidelined as well.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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