The Caps are just finishing up the morning skate here in Kanata, a lovely suburb west of Ottawa. Shaone Morrisonn and John Erskine are expected to play tonight, so Sergei Fedorov has moved back to center. The lines and d-pairs are shuffled up though.
David Steckel and Eric Fehr are the healthy scratches, and Brent Johnson will be in net. Mike Green and Shaone Morrisonn will not be reunited, as Green will skate with Jeff Schultz. Morrisonn will pair with Tom Poti.
“I don’t think you do anything just for the sense that, ‘Hey, it is Tuesday and I haven’t made a change in a while,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “There are reasons for everything.” He declined to divulge those reasons, of course.
It was a cramped scene in the Caps dressing room, which is pretty much a given when the team is here. I counted 19 media members surrounding Alex Ovechkin, and that doesn’t include me or Tarik. a few of the TV guys appeared to be quizzing the American guys on the election.
Obviously, Ovechkin was a hot topic during Boudreau’s media scrum, and so was Washington’s success against Ottawa last year. The Caps swept the Senators in the season series, and Ovechkin had six goals and 10 points in the four games.
“[Ovechkin] likes playing here; he likes the attention Canadians give to hockey,” Boudreau said. “I am sure missing a week … I wouldn’t say he’s going to play harder becuase he has played hard from Game 1 through the first eight games he’s played, but he just hasn’t had too much luck around the net lately.”
There is also the matter of the team’s success with Boudreau is coach after a shutout. In each of the four previous times the Caps have been blanked with Boudreau behind the bench, the Caps have come back with at least four goals the next time out.
“That’s all great when we do those statistics, but everything is a new day,” Boudreau said, “To say, OK, automatically that is going to happen is not true. … We’re playing a team that is coming off a road trip where they played well but they previously struggled at home, so they want to show their fans that, ‘Hey listen, we’re for real here. We’re a new team.’ Just because we’ve done it in the past doesn’t mean we will do it in the future.”
Finally, if you’re watching on TV tonight, expect to see pom-poms in the crowd — lots of them. There is a red pom-pom sitting on every seat in the arena right now.