Road Takes Caps to Music City

Posted on January 14, 2013 by Mike Vogel

Heading into the last three games of his team’s pre-season slate, Caps coach Bruce Boudreau has a very good idea of what he wants his lineup will look like for the Oct. 8 regular season opener against the Carolina Hurricanes at Verizon Center. Now it’s up to some players to change Boudreau’s mind, and others to avoid doing so. “There are a lot of things settled in my mind,” says Boudreau. “It’s up to them to change my mind. I’ve got an idea of what the lineup is going to be. We’ve got these three games. The only difference would be if somebody changes my mind both positively or negatively. All of these games for a young guy [are] really important.” Forwards Jay Beagle, Chris Bourque, Cody Eakin, D.J. King, Mathieu Perreault and Mattias Sjogren are embroiled in a battle for no more than three roster spots at the bottom of the team’s forward depth chart. Five of the six will be in the lineup tonight in Nashville; Bourque will be able to rest on his Monday night laurels. He had three helpers in a 3-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The outcome of that battle for roster berths will also determine whether veteran forward Brooks Laich starts the season as a center or a left wing. How much does that matter to Laich, who’ll be getting into his third pre-season game tonight against the Predators? “Not too much,” he says. “I’m pretty comfortable either way. I enjoy playing wing and I enjoy playing center. At center, I’d like to have a week or two in a row at center to really get in a rhythm, but I’ve played the majority [of the time] at wing the last couple of years so I’m pretty comfortable there, too.” Laich missed some time on the ice earlier this week with a minor ailment, but he’s ready to go now.” “I had a little bump in the road here the last couple of days,” he says, “but today I’ve felt really good. I’m assuming I’m going to play the last three [exhibition] games and I’ll be ready for the start of the regular season. The body felt good today and I’m looking forward to a good game tonight.” While the youngsters who are vying for an NHL paycheck are bent on impressing the brass, Laich knows he needn’t worry about that. His checklist for a pre-season game is a bit different. “You want to get your timing back,” says Laich. “We’re not sure what the lines are going to be or whatever, but you want to get your timing back where your passes are on, you’re in the right position and you’re doing what you can. And then you get used to contact, too. I think one of the main things is holding the puck in traffic and with contact. You want to win those little stick battles along the boards and pull pucks out of feet. It’s kind of a refined art; finding pucks around the net is kind of the same thing. It’s tough to be tricky in those areas. That’s something I think you really try to work on in the first couple pre-season games.”

next up:

Caps, Chimera Get Deal Done

January 14, 2013

Nearly 21 months to the day after he was obtained from the Columbus Blue Jackets in a trade for then-Caps captain Chris Clark, Washington winger Jason Chimera has signed a two-year contract extension that will keep him locked up through the end of the 2013-14 NHL season. “It’s nice,” says Chimera


Mike Vogel on Twitter

Caps Featured Video

Caps Red Line 2015-16 - Top 8 Ove...

As we celebrate Ovechkin reaching the 500-goal club, here's a countdown of the Great 8's eight mo...

Capitals Shows & Videos