Photo credit: Dave Sandford/Getty Images
The Washington Capitals have a very busy week: four games in six days. As Alex Ovechkin returns to the line-up, Capitals head coach Adam Oates decided to shake-up his lines. The changes are drastic.
Via Adam Vingan, here are Oates’ new lines.
Brooks Laich – Nicklas Backstrom – Alex Ovechkin
Eric Fehr – Marcus Johansson – Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera – Mikhail Grabovski – Joel Ward
Aaron Volpatti/Martin Erat – Jay Beagle/Michael Latta – Tom Wilson
- A major shake-up to the lines seems bizarre to me considering the Capitals won both games without Ovechkin, scoring 9 goals and allowing just 2 against. Obviously, Ovechkin needs his spot back, but the changes here address much more than that.
- Despite his chemistry with Nicklas Backstrom, Martin Erat has been demoted to the fourth line and Brooks Laich has been promoted to the first. Erat has 5 points in 7 games while playing in the Caps top-six. He had no points in 7 on the fourth line.
- As Chris Gordon requested, Eric Fehr was not banished back to the fourth line. Fehr, however, becomes the first player who will now play on his off-wing. Adam Oates had been adamant about keeping righties on the right side. The right-handed Fehr has been assigned to the second line as left wing.
- Brooks Laich and Troy Brouwer stay in the top-six despite a very unimpressive statline during the season’s first month. The duo combined for 3 even-strength points. More surprisingly, Laich is now on the first line. Perhaps Oates wants him to get his confidence back, reaping the benefits of playing alongside Nick and Alex. The promotion is undeserved.
- The only line that didn’t change this morning was the trio of Jason Chimera, Mikhail Grabovski, and Joel Ward. Which is obvious. Since being together, the line has provided most of the team’s offense. In seven games together, Chimera has 4 goals and 5 assists, Grabovski has 2 goals and 5 assists, and Joel Ward has five goals (including his first career hat trick) and two assists. They are each averaging a point per game while playing together.
What do you guys think?
1:45 PM Update: According to Sky Kerstein, both Eric Fehr and Marcus Johansson saw time at center on the second line. The Caps’ Mike Vogel reports that Martin Erat was moved down to the fourth line because he’s banged up. Also, Adam Oates said after practice that the lines may not necessarily be the same tomorrow night.