The Washington Times - October 2, 2011, 03:43PM

It has been assumed and conjectured for a couple weeks now, and it’s not hard to project how the Capitals’ pieces fit together. But Bruce Boudreau on Sunday finally made something of a statement on how his top line might look opening the season.

With the Blackhawks in town and Chicago media asking about Troy Brouwer, the Caps’ coach let it out that he envisions the big right wing playing with Alex Ovechkin in the season opener agains the Hurricanes.


“I do for next Saturday,” he said. “But after that, we’ll see how it works out.”

Boudreau said recently he likes Brouwer up there in much of the same role as Knuble, except with even more ability to throw the body around.

“He’s a physical presence. He hits, he forechecks well,” Boudreau said. “He can make the play when he has time.”

At 6-foot-2 and 214 pounds, Brouwer is a big body just like Ovechkin (6-2, 225). And his willingness to hit could be a major asset.

“I can definitely take a lot of that responsibility off him, so he can just worry about controlling the play, taking shots and producing in that sense,” Brouwer said. “If he’s not relied on to hit and pass and score goals and be that leader in every category, then maybe he can be a little more at ease with the goal scoring and make some plays.”

Based on practices, it seems like Marcus Johansson will be centering the big wing duo, with Alexander Semin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Knuble on the second unit that looks a lot like a first unit.