Daily Caps: It’s the Caps and Rangers
By PennSkinsFan | December 23, 2008
The Washington Capitals limp into New York tonight, coming off a 7-1 bruising from Philadelphia and mounting roster injuries. Out tonight, besides Chris Clark and Jeff Schultz, are Tom Poti (groin), Alexander Semin (back), and Sergei Federov (ankle). Still questionable are Donald Brashear (ankle) and Dave Steckel (ill).
The Capitals are expected to call up at least one player from Hershey, but likely two. Money is likely on Sami Lepisto on defense, possibly from offense the Caps will look at Chris Bourque, Oscar Osala, Graham Mink, or Keith Aucoin.
As promised yesterday, Tarik at the Washington Post has an outstanding in depth article on the Capitals goalie situation. The fact for the Capitals is — both goalies, Brent Johnson and Jose Theodore, have been given ample opportunities to nail down the number one goalie spot, both have failed to do so. More troubling is the fact that Theo was brought in to be the number one goalie, but has been less than impressive. And it’s a problem.
While it’s expected that goalies will have poor performances over the course of an 82-game regular season, Washington’s 7-1 debacle at the hands of the Flyers on Saturday shined a spotlight on the biggest concern for a Capitals team that has designs on contending for the Stanley Cup — the goaltending. Heading into last night’s NHL action, the Capitals were ranked seventh in the league in goals scored, but 21st in goals allowed.
Who should be given the opportunity to become the number one goalie for the Capitals?
- Simeon Varlamov (100%, 1 Votes)
- Brent Johnson (0%, 0 Votes)
- Jose Theodore (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 1
Some out there have even suggested the Capitals need to improve goal tending at the trade deadline in order to be serious legit contenders to go deep in the playoffs. I am not on that bus. I think we have solutions in house.
Boudreau stopped short of saying there’s a goalie controversy, but something is percolating between the pipes in Washington. Johnson and Theodore have appeared in 17 and 18 games, respectively, and both are looking over their shoulders at prospect Simeon Varlamov, who earned wins in both of his starts this month after being called up from the team’s minor league affiliate in Hershey, Pa
Is young Varlamov the answer? Long term, yes. Now? Let’s find out! There is no doubt that the two games under Varlamov’s belt, stunning performances against Montreal and St. Louis have intrigued the Caps, cast optimism throughout the system, but we also know we can not judge whether young Varlamov is ready based on two games. So my solution — let’s see more. The only problem here is we have two healthy veteran goalies, which one carries a hefty two year deal. Having three goalies on the roster really makes no logical sense. Trade Theodore? Given his play this year, what value does he bring? Caps are in a sticky situation between the pipes.
As for now, Johnson is the guy that gets the shot. He has actually played pretty well, but he must, he must become more consistent if the Capitals plan to push not only for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, but if they wish to push deeper than one round in the NHL playoffs. There is no doubt that Johnson has been more consistent than Theo. But, is it good enough? For me, if the Caps choose to allow Varlamov to develop in Hershey, Johnson deserves the shot to be number one. He has played better than Theo, has been consistent in streaks, but durability concerns linger. Still, you have any faith with Theo between the pipes?
Mike Gartner’s #11 will be retired by the Capitals on DEC 28. Gartner was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame.