A pretty poignant quote from Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz when discussing his top 6 forwards recently. Though of course, as ever with Coach Trotz, there is method in the seeming madness.
For the better part of this season the top two lines have been consistent. The first line being Captain Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and TJ Oshie. The second line, which honestly has been on fire as of late, consisted of Evgeny Kuznetsov, Andre Burakovsky and Justin Williams.
Each grouping has their merits. Backstrom has always been the quiet and unsung hero, making plays and setting up the likes of Ovechkin and Oshie. However, the Capitals have been plagued with injuries this season. Brooks Orpik has just returned after a 40 game absence and comes out to score a blinder of a game winning goal against the New Jersey Devil’s while on a line with the teams Russian forwards Ovechkin and Kuznetsov. Jay Beagle is still out of the line up for the coming games, although rumours of his return are rife as he’s been spotted on the ice for a number of practises. He broke his hand earlier in the season and after surgery to repair the damage he’s looking set to make his comeback soon.
— #CapsFightCancer (@Capitals) February 22, 2016
Four days back now, Trotz made the decision to shuffle up the top six. In an attempt to keep things fresh and interesting and to see how they worked together in different groupings. When asked for the reasons for the change Trotz had this to say.
I think it’s good during the year because you have injuries. You have to play different people. I think it’ll be great for a guy like Burakovsky playing with a guy like Backy, who plays a little different than Kuzy. I think it’s going to be good for all the players with Kuzy a little bit just so they don’t get stuck in a rut. Then we can always flip flop. Last year, I flip flopped centermen. We flip flopped on the left side. I think we have good balance so I think it’s good for growth of the players in the middle and also some of the players on the wing. It’s just going through the dog days of February and, like you say, sometimes the love goes out of the marriage a little bit for a little while so they’re not as excited. You get a little bit of separation, a little vacation, and you come back and they’re excited again.
At the time of announcement it was preliminarily only for the one game against the Devils, however after morning skate at Kettler Ice Complex, the projected lines for tonight are looking different again.
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) February 22, 2016
Marcus Johannson is as you can see from Isabelle Khurshudyan’s tweet, wasn’t seen at morning skate and also as of a few moments ago, hasn’t made an appearance for warm-ups either. I think it’s safe to say that he’ll not be in the line up tonight due to illness.
Tonight the Capitals take on the Arizona Coyotes at Verizon Center, it’ll be interesting to watch these shuffles and see how the chemistry is between the new line mates and if the Capitals can continue with their winning ways. #LetsGoCaps
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