Photo: Amanda Bowen
This morning at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, Barry Trotz took a hammer to the lines that have been so successful in the early part of the season. Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom have been split up. The team’s second line, consisting of Marcus Johansson, Andre Burakovsky, and Troy Brouwer, has been blown to smithereens as well.
The Capitals also made a roster move this morning, recalling Tom Wilson from AHL Hershey and demoting Chris Brown. Brooks Laich, who suffered what appeared to be a shoulder injury last week, did not skate with the team and will not play Wednesday. Trotz believes Laich may practice later in the week. Come on, baked goods, I thought you had magical healing powers!
Ovechkin – Burakovsky – Ward
Johansson – Backstrom – Brouwer
O’Brien – Latta – Wilson
Chimera – Kuznetsov – Beagle/Fehr
It’s surprising to see the top six get such a drastic makeover. As we wrote about earlier in the season, Trotz prefers to keep forward pairs together when switching up the lines. On top of that, his top-six forward pairs (Backstrom-Ovechkin, Burakovsky-Johansson) were playing exceptionally well.
Through the first eight games of the season, take a look at how these duos have tilted the ice.
|Duos||TOI||Shot Attempt %|
Perhaps something occurred in Washington’s 4-2 loss to Vancouver Sunday night that Trotz did not like. Ovechkin (+4.48% of shot attempts) and Backstrom (+13.33%) were both positive possession players on Sunday. Though Johansson (-7.14%) and Burakovsky (-9.09%) were in the red against Vancouver, that second-line pairing that has been effective all season long. To blow up the lines with the numbers this good after one bad game may seem like a knee-jerk reaction. Then again, this is just one practice and Trotz has been known to experiment.
When speaking to reporters, Trotz elaborated more on Tom Wilson’s status. He admitted there’s a “good chance” Wilson will be return the line-up Wednesday. He also discussed how he may use Wilson in the future. “When I first talked to him [in the summer], my intention was to put him with Backy and Ovi,” Trotz said, according to CSN’s Chuck Gormley.
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