- The Washington Times - Friday, September 14, 2007

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH

THE BLUE LINE CORPS: This should be the best battle of camp. If the top four (Tom Poti, Brian Pothier, Shaone Morrisonn and Milan Jurcina) are pretty safe, then there are only three spots for Steve Eminger, John Erskine, Mike Green, Jeff Schultz and Josef Boumedienne. And then there is first-round pick Karl Alzner as well.

THE SWEDES:Michael Nylander meshed pretty well with Jaromir Jagr, and now he likely will play with Alex Ovechkin. Is Nicklas Backstrom ready to play on one of the scoring lines, and will it be at center or on the wing?

THE YOUNG FORWARDS: There aren’t many openings up front with 13 forwards signed to one-way contracts, which likely leaves only one spot to come from a group of Dave Steckel, Tomas Fleischmann, Jakub Klepis and dark horse Francois Bouchard.

THE POWER PLAY: Washington struggled mightily with the extra man last season, but the additions of Poti, Nylander, Backstrom and Viktor Kozlov should not only inject life into the top unit but give coach Glen Hanlon a capable second group to call upon.

THE GUY WHO WEARS NO. 8: If anyone hasn’t heard, he’s pretty good. Any combination of a new center to pass him the puck, better offseason training and even the new streamlined uniforms could make defending No. 8 a pretty scary proposition.

Corey Masisak

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