Thursday, August 30, 2007

Backstrom To Skate On The Wing?

The CP asks, "Are the Washington Capitals this year's sleeper team in the NHL's Eastern Conference?"

Olie Kolzig answers in the affirmative, and he says all the right things throughout the article, but of more significant interest (as CapsChick astutely points out) is this suggestion that Nicklas Backstrom may be end up skating on a wing (presumably the right one) to start his career:
The top two lines will score goals but it's not clear yet how they will line up. A lot of it depends on how the 19-year-old Backstrom fits in. Will he play centre or wing? And on which of the four lines?

"We know we have a very smart player, a very responsible player, someone who can make a play, someone who is good on faceoffs and really sharp defensively," said [GM George] McPhee. "But you just don't know if they're ready to handle that centre-ice position."

McPhee points out that rookies Jordan Staal of the Penguins and Phil Kessel of the Bruins, both natural centres, played the wing most of last season.

"We'll just have to see where Backstrom fits," he said.
It certainly will be interesting to see how the top two lines (and the bottom two, for that matter) shake out in camp.


Rage said...

JP, I <3 you.

But then again, I'm drunk right now, so these things amuse me.

Marky Narc said...

Rage, I <3 you as well, but then again, I've also been drinking tonight, so there's that.

I think there will be a fair amount of line shuffling with Backstrom (and for that matter, Kozlov) just to see who works well with whom and perhaps find some unexpected chemistry.

With that in mind, it's not out of the realm of possibilities that Pettinger could wind up seeing more second line duty than we have him penciled in for. Which I would totally be cool with.

Anonymous said...

pettinger is a lw, im not sure he is going to see top 2 line duty unless one of the russians goes down, so help us god, its more likely that backstrom is top 2 rw and kozlov centers the 2nd line, making a third line of probably pettinger-gordon-flash/steckel/clark/fehr
ideal lines;
pettinger-gordon-clark(best line ever)

please go away; bradley, clymer

oh, and ive been drinking too, obviously, its 3am

JP said...

I may have the best-hydrated readers on the 'net.

I <3 you all too, just not in a Toe-Tappin' Larry Craig kinda way.

Marky Narc said...

Now that I've sobered up, my views don't change. I still think Petty is going to see some (not major) second line duty, just to see how things work out.

Oh, and as the season grinds on and players miss a handful of game here and there for various small injuries, you all will be glad Matt Bradley is on this team to plug in those holes.

He's certainly a better option than Joe Motzko or whoever you're thinking is going to fill in a gap on the fourth line.

Anonymous said...

im thinking that person is going to be steckel, and even still, i would almost rather see clymer than bradley. a line with brash and sutherby is going to need some speed(which is why laich should be there ahead of both). bradley is fine as a fill-in i guess, but only in the case that half the team is sick or injured(think stomach flu/mono) and the road between hershey and dc is closed due to a tanker fire/100 car pileup and they cant get motzko or klepis

exwhaler said...

Pettinger is a natural left wing, but he played on the right when he played with Semin last year.

Anonymous said...

that was a rarity. and if somehow petty ends up as a rw on either of the top two lines, breaking up a potentially great third line in the process, something has gone very wrong.

NS said...

myeah. i'm not sure if the abundance of preseason info is making me happier, or making me lose my mind at all the possibilities.

*head explodes*

p.s. i wish i was drunk right now.

NS said...

Dear Niklas Backstrom,

Please do not turn into the next Partik Stefan.

All of Washington D.C.

JP said...

Have faith - there's no chance the Caps could draft a player fourth overall that turns out to be a total flop.