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Trotz plans to let Johansson, Kuznetsov, and Burakovsky compete for time at center

Jul 29, 2014, 11:04 AM EST

BarryTrotz Getty Images

Good interview here with new Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz, by NHL.com’s Dan Rosen.

The first part of the interview focuses on Alex Ovechkin and how Trotz plans to make the face of the franchise more “accountable”; however, since we’ve already written plenty on that topic, let’s turn our attention to Trotz’s comments on the all-important center position.

After Nicklas Backstrom, who will obviously play the middle, it sounds like Trotz wants Marcus Johansson and one of either Evgeny Kuznetsov or Andre Burakovsky to center the second and third lines.

“I’m going to let them play it out,” said Trotz. “We’re going to try to get the best three up the middle in terms of the people who are really good at distributing the puck and making things happen from the middle of the ice. After those three I think the fourth line will probably have a little more definition, probably more bite to it.”

The Caps, of course, lost one of their centers from 2013-14 to free agency, with Mikhail Grabovski moving to Long Island.

Washington has another potential top-nine center in veteran Brooks Laich, but Trotz suggested that the 31-year-old was likely destined for the wing.

  1. patthehockeyfan - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:11 AM

    Ovechkin-bashing comments begin in 3 … 2 … 1

    • phtjoey - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:31 PM

      Trotz said exactly what we “bashers” have been saying about Ovi, except he said in a more polite way so he can maintain a working relationship with him.

      “If we’re going to be successful in Washington, [Ovechkin] has to be a big part of that. It’s not only him, but he’s a main component, a big personality, and I have to sell my vision of the team to him because he’s one of the top players. In today’s sport, coaches are in a partnership with their top players.” (Hunter, Boudreau, and Oates failed to build that partnership)

      “He’s been the face of the Caps for the past eight or nine years, since he’s been drafted. He gets a lot of the credit when they do well and he gets a lot of the blame when they don’t, but that’s the responsibility for a top guy in the National Hockey League now. If you want to be the elite guy those are the responsibilities that go with it.” (coach T said he wanted less glide in Ovi’s game and more hard work to get the puck back when they lose possession)

      People look at Alex and say, ‘Well, he doesn’t backcheck or play in the other end of the ice, but Barry is going to change that.’ Is that a goal of yours, to add more responsibility in that end, make him think he has more responsibility in that end? – Blomfeld was that you interviewing Trotz?

      “I think you look at it as what’s going to help you win, and Alex playing a little more on both ends of the ice, a full 200-foot game, will enhance our chance to win. I know it’s a process. I want to make him more accountable. I use the term that he’s got a lot of glide in his game right now. Some of that was his doing and some of that was actually put on his plate by the previous regime from what I understand. I just want him to play the way that will give us the best chance to win.”

      Maybe you should get your head out of Ovi’s jockstrap and come up for air. Your brain will function better when supplied with O.

      • blomfeld - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:49 PM

        note to PHT …

        please tag this comment of Joey’s as a candidate in the ‘comment of the year’ awards ! :)

      • capsnbohs23 - Jul 29, 2014 at 1:17 PM

        Our problem isnt what your saying, its that you say the same exact thing every single time Ovi is mentioned in an article. WE GET IT, move on

      • phtjoey - Jul 29, 2014 at 2:05 PM

        Capso, NBC is doing a phenomenal job covering the NHL for us die hard fans. The authors on PHT are second to none. This results in new commenters joining this site every week who need to hear the hard truths. Many of them are first time readers regarding our opinions of Ovi. If you’ve already read a commenter’s opinion, then I suggest YOU “move on”. Others will benefit greatly from unbiased opinions. Do you get it?

      • govtminion - Jul 29, 2014 at 2:33 PM

        There is nothing more sad than watching someone make a boneheaded comment, then signing in under another name to promote how great his first comment was.

      • blomfeld - Jul 29, 2014 at 3:52 PM

        “NBC is doing a phenomenal job covering the NHL for us die hard fans” …

        Well said Joey. Nonetheless, our friends at PHT are ‘somewhat’ restricted at times from coming out and just calling a ‘spade a spade’ eh ? (ie: of course that’s due to obvious legal and/or commercial considerations). However that’s where ‘veteran & knowledgeable’ Montreal-born hockey fans like you and I come in. Yes sir ! You see we are ‘not’ restricted from saying ‘that’ which needs to be said ! … the ‘truth’ if you will. And so it’s imperative that people like you, me and Valoisvipers remain here in-order to augment the efforts of PHT spreading the truth. Can you imagine what a joke this website would become if everyone was a ‘gutless’ sycophant like these losers Capso and Pat ? … it doesn’t even bear thinking ! :(

        “may the Heels of Truth ‘forever’ come down upon those who are deceitful”

      • phtjoey - Jul 29, 2014 at 6:16 PM

        “our friends at PHT are ‘somewhat’ restricted at times from coming out and just calling a ‘spade a spade’ eh ? (ie: of course that’s due to obvious legal and/or commercial considerations)” So true. Well said, friend.

      • patthehockeyfan - Jul 29, 2014 at 4:06 PM

        “Can you imagine what a joke this website would become if everyone was a blomfeld and joey?”

        Oops! Too late!

      • blomfeld - Jul 29, 2014 at 4:10 PM

        Stop throwing stones at me ! … stop trying to ‘hurt’ me !

      • patthehockeyfan - Jul 29, 2014 at 5:08 PM

        blomfeld and joey. What a pair.

        blomfeld has written before of his romantic encounters with a woman. Given all the evidence presented here, one can safely assume that the woman is a blow-up doll.

        phtjoey has this very weird obsession with Ovechkin that has now extended into his fantasizing about Ovi’s jockstrap.

        What a pair. PHT commenting guidelines prohibit me from saying a pair of what.

      • blomfeld - Jul 29, 2014 at 8:08 PM

        *** earlier today at Los Angeles Airport (LAX) in Domestic Arrivals ***

        TSA Official: next please …

        Pat: hi there rent-a-cop ! … how’s it going ? … tee hee hee

        TSA Official: what’s this garbage that you have in your bag ?

        Pat: what ? … um, that’s like Ovi’s jock strap sir … tee hee hee

        TSA Official: as a woman, why are you carrying filth like this on your person ?

        Pat: um, like maybe because Ovi rocks ? … tee hee hee

        TSA Official: Ovechkin is a lazy parasite ! … guards if you please …

        Pat: hang on a minute, like what’s going on here ?

        Guards: shut up you idiot ! .. KAPOW !! .. KABOOM !! … KAZAAM !!

  2. capsnbohs23 - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    Get your popcorn ready, the trolls are coming!

  3. jpelle82 - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:29 AM

    hope one of those guys can step up, I personally don’t see johanssen as being the one though, my money is on kuznetsov.

    • patthehockeyfan - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:35 AM

      Agree, jpelle, about Kuznetsov. He’s going to be outstanding.

      • blomfeld - Jul 29, 2014 at 4:17 PM

        Yeah ? … well I say he’s going to be a bust ! … and do you want to know why that is ? … well for no other reason than thanks to Captain ME ME ME !

        *** example of how a ‘real’ Russian star scores a goal and then behaves after ***

  4. kantnockdahustle89 - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:48 AM

    Marge sucks so I really hope he doesnt play center. I think its going to continue to be a problem all year long.

    • dipthatchip - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:33 PM

      never heard that nickname for 90. I was really excited about him four years ago, but he really hasn’t panned out

      • kantnockdahustle89 - Jul 29, 2014 at 1:56 PM

        If he was any good Id continue to call him MoJo but since he doesnt have any…he gets a girls name.

      • govtminion - Jul 29, 2014 at 2:50 PM

        Someone PLEASE photoshop a blue beehive on a picture of him! I love it, MARGE!

    • capsnbohs23 - Jul 29, 2014 at 1:18 PM

      He is a better 3C than a top 6 winger

  5. lowenni - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    Ovi-Backstrom-Johansson
    Burakovsky(natural LW)-Kuzya-Brouwer
    Chimera-Laich-Ward
    Fehr-Latta-Wilson/Volpatti if Wilson plays AHL

    Alzner-Carlson
    Orlov-Niskanen
    Orpik-Green
    Allows for left/right combinations, and Orpik and Green still play about 18 min. Per game

    • ravenscaps48 - Jul 29, 2014 at 3:16 PM

      After seeing what they did last season, there is no way in hell I break up Chimera, Fehr, and J-Weezy

  6. jeffychan27 - Jul 29, 2014 at 1:06 PM

    I think Ovi is good at scoring goals. That’s about it. I would take Giroux, Stamkos, and Toews all before Ovi. If you score 50 goals and are still a huge minus something is wrong with what you’re doing

  7. jeffychan27 - Jul 29, 2014 at 1:11 PM

    @ Blomfield : yes I agree! Great comment by Joey

  8. smartacus23 - Jul 29, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    So just thinking about remarks now that Trotz and GMBM have made this is what I think will end up happening if Burakvosky doesn’t make the cut. (GMBM said Tom Wilson needs top 6 min)

    Ovechkin-Backstrom-Brouwer
    Laich-Kuznetsov-Wilson
    Chimera-Mojo-Ward
    Latta-Beagle-Fehr

    What worries me is how bad Kuz is at FO. Unless he has been drastically improving and working on them all season he could lose a lot of draws.

    Burakovsky is a question mark when it comes to center. He looked great in dev camp playing there, but that was dev camp. I think he could make the jump now at LW, but it will be tough to make the jump at C this year. For the sake of this lets say he does and sticking to GMBMs word, we keep Wilson at RW2

    Laich-Backstrom-Ovechkin
    Kuznetsov-Burakovsky-Wilson
    Brouwer-Mojo-Ward
    Chimera-Latta-Fehr

    I originally had Laich slated at 3C, but this changes things up a bit. Going to be interesting how Trotz puts these lines together.

    • jpelle82 - Jul 29, 2014 at 2:22 PM

      I don’t think burakovsky should play beyond the first 10 games or whatever time they allot for them to take a good look, I just don’t see them burning a contract year on him. I still don’t think Wilson should be in the top 6 on the hershey bears much less the big club. gmbm mustve been kidding. kuznetsov will be on a line with either laich or johanssen, either of those 2 guys can take the faceoffs for him, you can bet that line wont be out there for a lot of defensive zone starts anyway.

      here’s how I see it by the time mid November rolls around…

      ovechkin backstrom brouwer
      johannsen kuznetsov laich
      chimera fehr ward
      wilson/beagle/latta/volpatti

  9. mattsening - Jul 29, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    Jeffy, Ovi plays a lot on the ice, making a lot more likely that he gets minuses, also, the caps let in a lot of goals right after they scored last year causing Ovi to get minuses while still on the ice after a goal was scored

  10. blomfeld - Jul 29, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    YOU CAN’T HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT TOO !

    As an ardent, sexy and ‘values-driven’ basher of Alexander Ovechkin, I know that I speak on behalf of ‘millions’ of hockey fans everywhere by saying … “thank you Coach T, thank you very much”. The bottom line friends is that the days of Ovi having his cake and eating it too are now over ! Yes sir, because as Joey puts it so succinctly, there are ‘certain’ responsibilities that come with being an NHL captain and one of those is ‘leadership’ by example. As it stands, Ovechkin has been a ‘free-loading’ parasite who’s been pulling in a cool ’10 mil’ per year, all the while just ‘gliding’ around center ice waiting for his teammates to feed him a break away pass. Well that’s going to stop ‘immediately’ with the dropping of the first puck there in Washington this fall. And you know why ? Well for no other reason than Coach T ‘says’ it’s going to stop ! … that’s why ! :)

    ps to the lovers …
    if your man Ovechkin has any brains then he’ll now refer to SC Champion Captain Brown’s personal handbook on leadership and make himself familiar with the term ‘esprit de corps’ and the notion of ‘self sacrifice’ for team and cause … as you know, we LA Kings are truly blessed by having the most ‘Nelsonian’ captain (Lord Horatio Nelson) leading our cause … and while it’s unrealistic for someone like Ovechkin to ever become an exact facsimile of the ‘greatness’ which is Dustin Brown, there is nonetheless much which he could learn from our ‘glorious’ leader and apply to his own situation there in DC …

    • capsnbohs23 - Jul 29, 2014 at 1:39 PM

      no one cares

      • blomfeld - Jul 29, 2014 at 3:55 PM

        apparently you do eh ?

      • capsnbohs23 - Jul 29, 2014 at 5:10 PM

        When you found out what hockey was back in the spring of 2012, was it tough to get a seat on the Kings bandwagon?

      • blomfeld - Jul 29, 2014 at 7:20 PM

        TRY ‘1973’ YOU HUMAN IDIOT !!!

    • ravenscaps48 - Jul 29, 2014 at 3:19 PM

      Blomfeld, what is mommy making you for dinner tonight?

      • blomfeld - Jul 29, 2014 at 3:57 PM

        I thought I was supposed to be a geezer in some retirement home ?

      • jpelle82 - Jul 29, 2014 at 4:57 PM

        i thought you were some BC hippie in your sixties that hangs out in antique stores

      • blomfeld - Jul 29, 2014 at 7:40 PM

        On the contrary Labelle …

        I’m actually a very handsome, sexy, ’54 year old’ supporter of the SC Champion LA Kings, a team which I’ve been supporting since 1973 ! And trust me pal, that’s ‘extremely’ rare here in Canuckle ‘mad’ Vancouver ! Anyway, I’m also a ‘hard-working’ man, as I run my own ‘successful’ store here in the city which is extremely ‘popular’ with the ladies ! (ie: I’m often told by them that I look like Kevin Costner or something). Suffice it to say that if I ever decided to go into politics, then I could become mayor of this town ‘faster’ than it takes Ovechkin the time to lace up his stupid ‘yellow’ skates ! You just gotta love it man ! :)

        QUESTION: CAN WE GET RID OF OVECHKIN ?

        ANSWER: YES WE CAN !!!!!! :) :) :) :) :)

    • phtjoey - Jul 29, 2014 at 6:28 PM

      Maybe next year we’ll be talking about how Ovi was able to play hard on both sides of the puck after he raises the SC and Conn Smythe. Wouldn’t that be something? :-)

      • blomfeld - Jul 29, 2014 at 7:45 PM

        We know Joey that you’re undoubtedly an Agent of Hope, however Ovechkin amending his parasitic ways is simply ‘not’ going to happen ! Not today, not tomorrow, not forever !!! :(

  11. bmoreredfury311 - Jul 29, 2014 at 8:33 PM

    Congrats Blomfeld and joey, you guys officially have ruined reading any comments on here. F-ing tools.

    • blomfeld - Jul 30, 2014 at 2:04 AM

      Go back to your sewer friend, where your fellow vermin ‘need’ you …

      • bmoreredfury311 - Jul 30, 2014 at 2:00 PM

        Good one d-bag “stop throwing stones”. Ps Elvis sucks

  12. vancouversportsbro - Jul 30, 2014 at 12:45 AM

    I really, really, really think this hiring is going to backfire for Washington. Dale Hunter was brought in who played a super defensive style and it lead to a semi finals appearance I recall but fans complaining how boring it looked. Didn’t he bench Ovechkin? Trotz has coached some of the most boring hockey I have ever seen myself. I’ve heard people saying he never had the talent. Suter and Weber as a defensive pair is not talent or that 06-07 team?

    • blomfeld - Jul 30, 2014 at 2:11 AM

      Vancouversportsbro – with all kidding aside friend, the odds now are that Trotz is finished after one season … that’s right, because love him or hate him, Ovechkin equals short-term ‘money’ at the gate and that will ‘always’ carry the day over long-term ‘sensibility’ here in our western world … that’s just the way it is …

      • bmoreredfury311 - Jul 30, 2014 at 2:17 PM

        Stop speaking like you know whats going on in DC. Please find me actual proof that ovi is the reason that these coaches left. I bet you will not.

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