ATLANTA -- When first asked whether he thought about putting a new version of the Russian Five together at Sunday's game, Eastern Conference coach John Paddock's initial response was nyet.
Actually, Paddock never got to elaborate on his thought process during the coaches roundtable. But when a member of the Russian media followed up with the same question during a media scrum, the Senators coach seemed to be changing his stance on the possible combination.
Paddock explained that he hadn't thought about putting a forward line of Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Ilya Kovalchuk together because both Ovechkin and Kovalchuk were left wings with right-handed shots. The journalist informed Paddock, however, Ovechkin said he was excited about the prospect of playing with his fellow countryman and willing to play right wing if thats what it took.
Andrei Markov and Sergei Gonchar would fill out the five on defense.
"I never thought of it before. I probably should have," Paddock said. "I thought of how I'd play the lines. I don't think I'd play them as a regular group, but I think since it has been brought up, sometime during the game, or at the start of a period, it would be entertaining and further the players' enjoyment. It's certainly something we'd consider now."
Paddock also hinted at possible line combinations including: Kovalchuk-Savard-Hossa, Ovechkin-Spezza-St. Louis, as well as seeing if Mike Richards and Eric Staal can play wing. Scott Gomez and Vincent Lecavalier would probably remain at center.