BOSTON | A wise cartoon character once said, “I saw this in a movie about a bus that had to speed around a city, keeping its speed over 50 and if its speed dropped, it would explode. I think it was called … The Bus That Couldn’t Slow Down.”
Homer Simpson knows the need for speed, as does Washington Capitals coach Dale Hunter, who referenced it in connection with Marcus Johansson, Cody Eakin and what his team can do to beat the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.
“Well, speed. Get on top of them. Speed, it hurts teams,” Hunter said of combating the rough and tumble Bruins. “You get on the forecheck faster, you backcheck faster, neutral zone faster. Everything’s in zone speed is the way the game’s made since they took out holding.”
Add Eakin as the 12th forward and take out Jeff Schultz, who had been serving as effectively the seventh defensemen. Eakin will play over Jeff Halpern and Joel Ward.
“He’s a good skater,” Hunter said. “We’re adding more speed to our lineup.”
Put Johansson on the top line with Brooks Laich and Alex Ovechkin, pushing Mike Knuble down to the fourth line. Johansson has wheels but no goals in his past 10 games.
“I liked his speed,” the coach said. “Speed, again, guys. We need speed in the lineup and we need him to skate.”