Monday, October 23, 2006

Up Down The Beech

According to Tarik El Bashir, with Matt Pettinger coming off the IR for Wednesday night's game in Colorado, Glen Hanlon plans to shake up his lines a little, swapping Jakub Klepis and Kris Beech and sitting Rico Fata or Brooks Laich to leave four lines that look like this:


The hope is that an all-Euro line and a reunion of Pettinger with his center from juniors will provide both chemistry and balance (though Alex Semin sure hasn't needed any help so far and, in fact, every point Beech has is either an assist on a Semin goal or the result of a Semin assist). As Klepis noted:
Zednik "is European like I am, and same with Semin, so maybe there is more chemistry than when I'm playing with the guys from the U.S. or Canada."
In addition, this is probably an audition to see if Klepis, with more ice time, can stick with the big club, as there's no point in him playing in the fourth line at the NHL level right now.

The fear is that dropping the NHL's fourth best faceoff man to the fourth line in favor of a guy who has lost 60% of the draws he's taken will hinder the second line's (read: Semin's) productivity. The other fear is that Beech will miss Semin's sweet, silky hands.

If I were behind the bench, I'd throw Princess on Brian Sutherby's left and bump Laich/Fata down, but that leaves a pretty grisly fourth line. In any event, it's good to see Petty back and it's good to see Klepis get a chance to prove himself - worst case, Klepis gets sent to the minors once Boyd Gordon can play; best case, the Caps have found a decent playmaker to center their second line. My bet, however, is that Klepis is in Hershey when we turn the calendar to November.
(Cross-posted at Southeast Shootout)

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