The Washington Times - October 4, 2011, 01:05PM

When the Capitals skated onto the ice for Tuesday’s practice, the combinations stuck out because they were unique and didn’t seem at all like the lines that will start the season Saturday.

Most notably, there was Mathieu Perreault centering Alexander Semin and Troy Brouwer on what could be considered the second line. But when asked about reading into that – and other lines like Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-Mike Knuble, coach Bruce Boudreau ooffered up a wry smile and cryptic response.


“I don’t know how much you want to read into that or whether I’m sending a message to other people,” he said. “No, I don’t want to expound on that right now.”

Boudreau likely doesn’t need to expound. Marcus Johansson seems to be on the receiving end of the message, as he was on the third line at practice with Brooks Laich, Jason Chimera and Joel Ward.

As recently as Sunday evening against the Blackhawks, Johansson was replaced on the top line at times by Perreault.

“He was creating things, and Marcus hadn’t to that point, so we wanted to see if Matty could handle playing with those guys, because sometimes it’s intimidating,” Boudreau said Sunday.

Things could change as soon as Wednesday’s practice, and order could be restored. But until then, Johansson appears to be on notice.