According to Corey Masisak (via Twitter), tonight’s lineup looks like this for the Caps. As part of our own training camp, hopeful that we won't be sent to Hershey in the last cuts of camp to blog for the Bears (or sent to South Carolina… or bought out – gulp – ), we bring you the “game within a game”… uh, game:
Chemistry 101. These guys have been The Three Amigos on the ice since the first puck was dropped last Sunday, and they’ve been quite impressive. Now, they get to skate in a game. Want to hit the ground running on October 1st. Let’s see how fast they run as a group in facing their first real competition.
This is essentially an audition for Alexandre Giroux. Coach Boudreau was quoted as saying, "We are giving him a good look, and we're giving him every opportunity. We are putting him with good players and it is up to him to the job." Given that Tomas Fleischmann and Eric Fehr are uncertain to start the season, this is Giroux’ big chance for a “call back” an opportunity to start the season with the Caps on opening night on a scoring line. Keith Aucoin would seem to be a victim of numbers, especially given that the center slots on the top two lines are occupied.
The key here might be Gordon. In a way, it’s an audition for the same position Quintin Laing has been auditioning for – an energy guy to do a lot of the dirty work. Laing would appear to have a leg up on Gordon on the merits, but they do their jobs in different ways.
The subplot here is the rumor (since squashed by none other than the subject of it) that the Caps would try to find a home for Chris Bourque other than Hershey if there is no room on the Caps roster. If at the top of the forward lines the competition is among Eric Fehr, Tomas Flesichmann, and Alexandre Giroux for what looks like one vacant slot, then down here on the third and fourth lines, the competition is between Bourque and Quintin Laing (with Andrew Gordon on the outside) for a spare slot.
Schultz, Green, Alzner, Carlson, Collins, Erskine
Three entrenched defensemen – Green, Schultz, and Erskine. Three hopefuls auditioning for what might be one slot – Alzner, Carlson, and Collins. The guy who might be the leader in the clubhouse for that slot – Tyler Sloan (who played in the first preseason game) – isn’t playing tonight. Does it say something that these three hopefuls are in, and Sloan isn’t? We’re thinking this is the best chance to impress for these three guys. Someone has to emerge from this group.