Sonny Milano Elevated To Top Line With Alex Ovechkin And Evgeny Kuznetsov: Notes From Monday’s Practice In Sunrise, Florida

The Washington Capitals made their way to the east coast of Florida following their 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday night. They next face the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night. The team held practice Monday afternoon at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida.


As per Samantha Pell of the Washington Post, Sonny Milano was elevated to the top line during today’s practice rushes. Milano skated with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov in the later parts of Sunday night’s game in Tampa.

The full lines were not provided, but here are the projected lines with the elevation of Milano to the top line.

Alex Ovechkin — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Sonny Milano
Marcus Johansson – Dylan Strome – Conor Sheary
Connor McMichael – Lars Eller – Anthony Mantha
Aliaksei Protas — Nic Dowd — Garnet Hathaway

Erik Gustafsson — John Carlson
Martin Fehervary — Nick Jensen
Matt Irwin — Trevor van Riemsdyk

Darcy Kuemper
Charlie Lindgren

Extras: Alexander Alexeyev, Joe Snively
Suspended: Nicolas Aube-Kubel (2 more games)
Injuries: Dmitry Orlov, Nicklas Backstrom, Tom Wilson, T.J. Oshie, Connor Brown, Beck Malenstyn.

Capitals bench boss Peter Laviolette entered the league’s Covid-protocol on Friday. There has been no update on his status for Tuesday night’s game against the Florida Panthers.


Conor Sheary scored his sixth goal of the season on Sunday against Tampa Bay, marking his second-straight game with a goal. Sheary’s six goals this season rank second on the Capitals, trailing only Alex Ovechkin (8).

With nine points (6g, 3a) in 17 games, Sheary is on pace to record 28 goals and 43 points this season. Should Sheary maintain his scoring pace, he would establish a new career high in goals (2016-17: 23) and match his point total from last season. Five of Sheary’s six goals have come at five-on-five, which leads the Capitals and ranks tied for 15th in the NHL. Sheary’s only goal not scored during five-on-five play was a shorthanded goal on Oct. 24 at New Jersey, which marked his first career shorthanded goal. Through 17 games, Sheary ranks second among Capitals forwards in shorthanded ice time per game (2:13). Prior to the start of this season, Sheary averaged 0:14 of shorthanded ice time per game in his career. [More here].


Who’s leading the Capitals in hits? The following graph plots each of the Capitals skaters hits per 60 minutes of ice time. [Click to enlarge].

Beck “The Check” Malenstyn (no surprise) and Matt Irwin have the team’s highest hits per 60 minutes of ice time. However, their total games played (sample sizes) are rather low. Garnet Hathaway and Nic Dowd (no surprise again) lead the regular starters.

Martin Fehervary has toned it down a bit so far this season, having led the team in hits last season, but is still tops among all defensemen.


Hendrix LaPierre scored his third goal of the season last night in the Bears 4-1 win over the Laval Rocket. More here.

Alexander Suzdalev scored his 10th goal of the season on Sunday night against the Saskatoon Blades.

Suzdalev remains a consistent starter at left wing on the second line, although he is often given shifts with Conor Bedard as the game progressses.


About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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19 Responses to Sonny Milano Elevated To Top Line With Alex Ovechkin And Evgeny Kuznetsov: Notes From Monday’s Practice In Sunrise, Florida

  1. Jon Sorensen says:

  2. Anonymous says:

    Gotta think Caps could be looking to extend Milano.

  3. novafyre says:

    I always wonder if Lavi stays at home in Manatee when playing in Tampa and if Ovi stays at his condo when playing in Sunrise.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Ah, Longboat Key. Spent a lot of time there for a project 10 years ago.

      He sold his beachfront home, but I get the feeling they have other prosperities in the Sarasota and Manatee County area.

      • novafyre says:

        There are a whole clan of Laviolettes in both counties. My understanding was that his parents went there first and then others followed. So property records still show a lot of owners named Laviolette. Of course, if he is renting, that would not show. Some Bolts own houses through a trust which doesn’t show their names. Most Bolts live on Davis Island in Tampa but Coop lives on Longboat Key.

      • novafyre says:

        6661 GULF OF MEXICO DR, LONGBOAT KEY FL 34228-1301

        Retrieved today. Map location and photo also on county site. It’s an octagonal house directly on the water with pool in back. Bought 2019.

  4. hockeydruid says:

    Jon…..Please be very careful when you write about such positive things as Sheary and how well he is doing as the Injury Noid is waiting and listening!! That could just be the bad juju that makes him act especially when it seems that this team already has had a lot of interactions with the Injury Noid this year.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Oh, I know Druid. We have to be running out of bad luck, very soon, right?

      • hockeydruid says:

        Hopefully. Would be nice if for no other reason than to get a stable 1st line and PP to get Ovie some goals to continue his assault on the record. Having only missed what 45/47 goals in his career and worked so hard he deserves better than what is happening now. Wonder is Ovie should contact should contact J G Wentworth and sue for non-support!

        • novafyre says:

          Need some different strategies too. Standing around and feeding the puck to Ovi is too well known. Ovi has had more success this year firing from different spots. So we need stability in teammates but innovation in plays.

          • hockeydruid says:

            Agree and maybe its no so much moving him around on the PP but having others take the shot to force the other team to open us some. Also need to have a strong presence in front
            of the goalie all the time.

            • novafyre says:

              Agree and agree. Just one shooter doesn’t work. I’m a fan of Rod’s shoot early, shoot often. But sadly, the Caps haven’t had a good net presence since Justin Williams . I thought Mantha was supposed to be that person.

            • dwgie26 says:

              One of the things (i think) i have noticed is on the PP the Caps try to use a strike fast mentality. They try to create an odd man rush of sorts and get a quick shot. That leads to a lot of in and out of the zone, but I like the intent. If it fails we need to do a better job of keeping it in the zone to continue to the PP setup.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Still wonder why all teams decided against being Milano aboard. Makes you wonder what the issue is.

  6. dwgie26 says:

    When Milano was interviewed after being signed and immediately sent to Hershey, he was very specific that he needed to play two ways and knew what he needed to do. Seemed very focused and committed to two way game. It was also noted by players and Tarik when he visited that he had unbelievable hands and was electric on the ice. So hopefully the bad dee, or lazy or whatever it was (assuming on ice) is gone and he could be a great find. Seems versatile as well and can play 1-3 lines and right or left side. Hope it stays consistent.

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