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Boudreau mum on Game 3 starter

One day after pulling Jose Theodore in the first period, Coach Bruce Boudreau wouldn't commit to going back to the veteran for Game 3 in Montreal on Monday.

Boudreau, however, also wouldn't commit to rookie Semyon Varlamov, saying the decision had not yet been made.

"I don't know," he said. "I'll sit down and talk the coaches. I didn't want to talk to them last night. But we've got a video session and a long plane ride. During the course of that, one of them will know."

After the Caps' come-from-behind 6-5 win, Boudreau indicated there were mitigating circumstances on both of the Canadiens' first period goals and that he made the switch, in large part, to spark the crowd and the bench.

A lot of folks took that to mean that he planned to go back to Theodore in Game 3 and show that he really meant that his veteran had the longer leash he had promised him. On Sunday, however, Boudreau threw a bit of a curveball, saying he plans to use both goalies.

"We said before the series started that if we were going to go anywhere in this we would probably have to use two goalies," Boudreau said. "I'm still going to use both goalies, whether Varly plays Monday or Theo plays Monday, I think they are both going to play again. That's why we have to keep them sharp."

After a "good" practice, Theodore said his confidence isn't shaken after his unsteady performance, pointing to his body of work since January as the reason for that self-assuredness.

"First game I felt good, I played pretty well but we lost that game," he said. "Yesterday, obviously, I didn't start it well. The first two shots, they go in. It's not like I didn't feel confident. If I would have stayed in, I'm sure I would have bounced back and find a way to win."

Last spring, Theodore did not get the opportunity to rebound after a Game 1 loss to the Rangers.

"It's something I always take a lot of pride in - bouncing back," Theodore said. "The good thing about the playoffs is you play pretty much every other day, so it's easy to forget about it and bounce back."

Boudreau said of Theodore: "Even if he plays on Monday and has a bad game... he's a professional and he'll work at it. His lows are followed by good highs and his highs are followed by lows. That's been his nature."

Varlamov did not speak to the media, but Boudreau said, "I just know I believe in Varly."

Boudreau often chooses his starting goaltender based on gut feeling and situational statistics. If that's the case tomorrow, it doesn't look good for Theodore.

In two appearances at Bell Centre as an opposing goalie, Theodore is 0-1-1 with a 7.42 goals against average and .803 save percentage (12 goals on 61 shots). Varlamov, meantime, has won his only two games at Bell Centre and has a 1.94 goals against average and .930 save percentage.

Boudreau also must weigh the fact that Theodore will have 22,000 fans chanting "Tay-oh" in unison from the moment the game begins. Theodore, who is from Montreal, starred for the Canadiens from 2000-2005 before off ice distractions began to detract from his game and forced a trade.

"I know they are going to try to distract me, but I take it as motivation," he said of the crowd. "Montreal crowd did that to the other goalies. I as watching the Buffalo game and they were doing it to Rask. It's makes it extra special. That's why playoffs are special. I'm sure they are going to remember my name if I play."

Theodore said he'll choose to focus on the good times he's had there. That is, of course, if he plays.

"It's pretty much the building where I had the most success, the most shutouts, the most stars, the most wins," he said. "For me, it's a good building. When I'm on the ice in that building, I remember some good memories."

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 18, 2010; 1:13 PM ET
 
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Next: Notes from Caps practice

Comments

Sorry, Malkin he obviously ain't - Zach Parise? no freaking way. Not Elias, nor Zubrus. Kovalchuk - c'mon, now. Or let's take the Wings, for the sake of argument - who, exactly? Zetterberg or Datsyuk? Really? Franzen? Nope. Holmstrom - similar skill set, but Holmstrom doesn't just occasionally go to the net, he does it every single time. And he's much stronger in the corner, and doesn't cough the puck up.

____________________________

govtimbo, you usually have comments I agree with, but in your analysis here, you didn't even name the top 6 forwards for those teams. Of course Laich isn't replacing one of their superstars, but Bertuzzi? Hell yeah. As for the Pens, Poni? Hell yeah. Dupuis? Hell yeah. As for the Devils, Zubrus? Rolston? Why not? He isn't replacing Kovy, Parise, Langz, Elias, or Zajac, but he would definitely be considered for that last 6th spot.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 18, 2010 1:49 PM |

Posted by: richmondphil | April 18, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

love to see a poll on here of who the fans want to start game three. You could make a case for either one. I guess I'd go with Varly. Glad I'm not the one making this decision.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | April 18, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Both goalies have big question marks for game 3. HOwever, if the Caps don't leave a goalie out to dry as they did so often in the first two games. I'd go with Theo and a revenge factor -- if he can handle the pressure. The Th-eo chant in MTL may just royally p-off the Caps and get them to commit to protecting their goalie with a serious committment to team defense.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | April 18, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

So what is Gabby going to do about the defense? Is he going to make ANY changes after last night's horrific performance? If there is anything that we should be concerned about, it's our defense - not who gets the start in game 3.

Posted by: thinicer | April 18, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

And this quote from Sidney Crosby:

"Yeah, I watched Backstrom score that game-winner. It was an OK shot. But then those DC fans had to go and toss all those hats on the ice. Some people like it, some people don't. Me, I don't like it. I would rather toss hats into my mom's dryer."

BTW, you'd think, with all the money Crosby makes, he would have bought his mom a new dryer by now.

Posted by: tominfl1 | April 18, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the Caps remind me more and more of the early-to-mid 90s Penguins. Every year, it seemed, the Caps would toughen up and the Pens would play soft D and the Caps would get the series lead. Only then with backs against the wall the Pens would turn it on just enough to win.

Superior talent has a way of doing that. Plus, it's impossible for any of us to do our jobs 100% every minute of every day. Sometimes we try "just hard enough" and sometimes that isn't quite enough so we push just a little more. Be honest - you can't do 100% all the time. You'd burn out. The Caps hopefully realize they must play harder and better on D - forwards included. Let's hope we see that tomorrow night.

Posted by: tominfl1 | April 18, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

BTW, you'd think, with all the money Crosby makes, he would have bought his mom a new dryer by now.
Posted by: tominfl1 | April 18, 2010
-------

The basement dryer from his mom's (which was replicated for the Reebok commercial) is in the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame.

Posted by: Dalliquippa | April 18, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

A sad day in the tominfl1 household. Two cats (incl the orange one, I never dyed him red) have been dispatched to my son-in-law's mother's house to now live. We are afraid as outside cats they would be devoured in CA by free-roaming coyotes. No word if the coyotes came to LA from Phoenix.

On another note, those who watched Versus last night can testify that there was more Carlson love from their announcers last night than folk love in a Joan Baez ballad from Woodstock. "He'll be the Caps best all-around D in a year or two."

Posted by: tominfl1 | April 18, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

At least take heart Theo was supportive, according to NHL.com:
http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=526010
---------------
The young Russian goalie also credited Theodore for helping to settle him down. Theodore, it seems, made sure to offer some advice and support during the first intermission.

"It's a very difficult situation to step in the game in the first period, so he helped me a lot," Varlamov said.
----------------

Posted by: blackjack65 | April 18, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

The basement dryer from his mom's (which was replicated for the Reebok commercial) is in the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame.

Posted by: Dalliquippa | April 18, 2010 2:38 PM

You don't recognize toungue in cheek?

http://www.novascotiasporthalloffame.com/index_main.cfm

Posted by: tominfl1 | April 18, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

tominfl1,

Dude, hockey players play 18-20 mins a game at most. Granted mistakes are made and we are all just human. But, c'mon, 100% focus and commitment for 20 mins a day for a job they are paid very well to do is not unreasonable in the least. Especially in the playoffs.

My take. The goalie decision is a choice between two non-championship caliber goalies no matter how bad or good the defense is in front of them. But, Varly not only still has time to improve and become that goalie, he is also much bigger so his mere presence makes it harder for the other team to score.

The only soft goal given up was the first one by Theo. Knuckleball or not - a confident championship caliber goalie tracks that puck and makes that save. Varly probably makes that save merely bc that little extra space is not even there on him. The other reason I go with Varly for now is I don't think pressure bothers him as much (seems to be less of a head case) and Theo is going to have immense pressure on him in Montreal, if he starts. So, start Varly, if he is bad, bringing Theo in relieves the pressure on him and he can get confidence back with less pressure. If Theo starts and plays poorly, he may be shot for the playoffs. I think he is that fragile psychologically.

Posted by: rphilli721 | April 18, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the Caps remind me more and more of the early-to-mid 90s Penguins. Every year, it seemed, the Caps would toughen up and the Pens would play soft D and the Caps would get the series lead. Only then with backs against the wall the Pens would turn it on just enough to win.

-------------------

Rick Tocchet, Kevin Stevens, Ron Francis, and the rest of that crew including Ulf on D don't equate to what I'm seeing here with the Caps. I never considered that Pens team to be a weak defensive team. In fact that was their issue PRIOR to the trade with Hartford for Ulf and Francis. That transformed them into a complete team. They had bruisers on D like Grant Jennings and Ulf, they had a team defensive philosophy and upfront they had some big aggressive forwards with speed. Thats the only parallel I see with us. But defensively? night and day.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 18, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

By the way, although the verdict is certainly not final on what kind of goalie Varly will be, I am starting to have my doubts about him as a franchise type goalie. So, I hope Neuvirth is, perhaps, the one of the two to become such. Varly has gotten the first shot, but aside from his playoffs run last year, has not bee overly impressive.

Posted by: rphilli721 | April 18, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Play Varly, Theo is a loser and a waste of $4.5M/yr.

Posted by: Drudge1 | April 18, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

And this quote from Sidney Crosby:

"Yeah, I watched Backstrom score that game-winner. It was an OK shot. But then those DC fans had to go and toss all those hats on the ice. Some people like it, some people don't. Me, I don't like it. I would rather toss hats into my mom's dryer."

Where did you find that quote or were u being sarcastic...I wouldn't expect that kind of comment from crosby

Posted by: capscoach | April 18, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

the stats don't support this - but i think if BB starts varly, he might as well go the rest of the way with him. theo is not an elite goalie and right now, niether is varly. last year when theo was pulled it was because he was terrible. i think theo pretty much knew he would not play again. if BB is being truthful about using both goalies (which very well could work for this team) then benching theo now might put theo in the mindset that he is done for the playoffs. theo played just under 8 minutes last night and imo think he should start game 3. for what the caps have in net - i think you need to have both goalies thinking they will play at any given time. i'm not sure either of the two can carry the caps the rest of the way by themselves.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 18, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

the Pens teams of the early 90 had basically the same formula as the current Caps team - great offense, average defense and good goaltending.

the last part remains to be seen for the Caps because not sure either Theo or Varly is good as Barrasso was.

Posted by: joek443 | April 18, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Rick Tocchet, Kevin Stevens, Ron Francis, and the rest of that crew including Ulf on D don't equate to what I'm seeing here with the Caps. I never considered that Pens team to be a weak defensive team. In fact that was their issue PRIOR to the trade with Hartford for Ulf and Francis. That transformed them into a complete team. They had bruisers on D like Grant Jennings and Ulf, they had a team defensive philosophy and upfront they had some big aggressive forwards with speed. Thats the only parallel I see with us. But defensively? night and day.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 18, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

only YOU would make those Pens teams sound like the Montreal Canadiens of the 70's... they were as high flying as the Oilers of the 80's.

they had NO defense, their defense was Tom Barrasso.

Posted by: joek443 | April 18, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

love to see a poll on here of who the fans want to start game three. You could make a case for either one. I guess I'd go with Varly. Glad I'm not the one making this decision.

Posted by: capsfansince74

capsfansince74: There's a poll on Japers' Rink. I honestly don't know who I want to start... Theo was pretty bad last night but not everything is to be blamed on him. BB had to make a change, even if it was Theo's fault or not. When Varly came in, he gave up 3 goals. I could argue that none of the three given up by Varly was on Varly. On one hand, I want Theo to have another chance and redeem himself and try to beat his former team, but on the other hand I want Varly to start b/c Theo in Montreal does scare me a little.

It took us two games to solve Lundy last year, then we got to him. Maybe the same thing is happening with Halak. Also, maybe going to Montreal will help our PP. It might start clicking up here. It certainly wasn't effective at home through two games.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 18, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

csdtanton: You missed my point completely. The Pens from back in the day would routinely fall behind in a series because they played soft D. That was all 18 skaters playing soft D. The they would tighten up as a team and play better fundamental hockey and whip the Caps into submission.

I don't have the stats here, but I don't think their D was anything to write home about. You are giving Ulf (the, "Unidentified Life Form") more credit than I woulds.

Incidently, to pick up from the last thread, PHX scored 30 seconds in (Lepisto). Detroit had on ice: Lidstrom, Rafalski and three forwards touted on that earlier thread as "way better than Brooks Laich."

rphilli721: I'm well aware how many minutes players skate per game. Much more goes into their "effort" (there's practice time and video sessions) than those 18-20 minutes. As witnessed in DET-PHX, even the "best" can let up for a shift or even a game. Maybe a team full of Mr Spocks would play perfect every game. We're human though and we don't always do our best. The mark of a champion (see above Pens reference) is screwing up but then coming back to atone.

Let's see what Green and Schultz do tomorrow night. If I'm BB, I sit them down and make them listen to the comments last night, in between periods on Versus, from Jones and Engblom. All we needed was Mike Milbury in the room and we'd've had a trifecta of vicious commentary.

Posted by: tominfl1 | April 18, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Okay.. well maybe the fifth goal by Montreal could be on Varly, just a bit. The defense didn't help but Plekanec faked Varly and pulled him outside and put it in easily... Varly gets fooled easily. :/ I'm just going to trust BB to pick the right guy for tomorrow. As long as we win!!

Posted by: rachel216 | April 18, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

The basement dryer from his mom's (which was replicated for the Reebok commercial) is in the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame.

Posted by: Dalliquippa | April 18, 2010 2:38 PM

We need to get two Caps prospects from Hershey: Andrew Gordon and Andrew Joudrey into that Hall of Fame - both from NS....

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | April 18, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

@tomflin

was that Crosby quote real or did u come up with that yourself?

Posted by: capscoach | April 18, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

(Two hundred years from now when the planet Vulcan puts a team in the NHL):

"Spock, to Sprik, to Sprack, and a shot, and a goal! And Vulcan goes up 56 to nothing!"

I don't always agree with joek443 (God knows I don't), but I agree with him just above.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1991%E2%80%9392_NHL_season#Final_standings

As you can see, Pens were far closer to worst in league in goals allowed than best. (Amazing that people on the blog can tout anything as a "given" because they say so but where are they to come back when the stats are presented - thank you, internet.)

No, the Pens were just like the Caps are now. They had Lemieux (Ovi), Francis (Backstrom), Jagr (Semin), Stevens (Knuble, on his best day), Coffey (Green), etc. These two teams are very similar in connstruction. I would say that the Pens, offensively, were better, but it was a different era and it's hard to tell.

Here's a better example, 92-93, even though they lost to Isles in playoffs:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1992%E2%80%9393_NHL_season

Pens were +100 in goal differential. And near best in least goals allowed. The Caps at this point are not as good as that Pens team; but, then again, in today's salary cap era, you will never, ever again get that much talent WITH that much experience ever again assembled. It simply isn't possible.

Posted by: tominfl1 | April 18, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

capscoach: I made it up, like all my Crosby quotes.

Like it or lump it. :)

Posted by: tominfl1 | April 18, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

and to add to what you posted tominnfl1

I do not see teams trying to load up more than 30% of their salary space on the back end.....Toronto and Philly entered this season with the highest paid D and neither team could afford a goalie to go with it..so why bother.

The game is moving back to offense...and we see it this playoffs.

Teams are locking up centers, and guys who get points to bigger contracts. There is no money to give away to the back end unless its a Brodeur type proven goalie.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | April 18, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

I am sure he was thinking it though!

Posted by: capscoach | April 18, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

I find it funny how the Habs brag about being the better team when the Caps have been playing terrible and all games have gone to OT ... quite frankly, the Habs are pathetic.

What's even more funnier is that the Habs say they're playing their best and haven't been able to win in regulation; also, blew a 4-1 lead in the third period to then lose in OT. Hm, my prediction for this series? Caps win in 5 or 6 games.

Posted by: ecaballero | April 18, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter AT ALL who is in net.

If the Caps continue to waste their puck posessions by being herded onto the half-wall and corralled into the corners, allowing the defense to set up and choke the middle, we will keep losing. Centering passes from the corners are all wasted at that point.

HOWEVER if the Caps sack up and play the puck in the slot, making drop passes, crashing the net and shooting into screens, they will win.

And by play in the slot, I don't just mean try to cycle and keep a man in the crease. I mean SKATE INTO the middle.

We've got to challenge defenders. Our forwards have the stick skills to protect the puck playing in the middle.

They (like everyone) want to take the path of least resistance. The defenders give us the space to play along the halfwall, so why not go there, right? Wrong.

ALSO. Ovi has to stop quarterbacking the PP from the point. Go to NHL.com and watch all his PPGs. He is never running it, and he is never on the left point when he scores. Every time he scores, he's shooting from the high slot into a screen. EVERY TIME. He's got to stop trying to make the play and just make space for himself between the circles.

He has the most PPGs on the
team. By doing exactly that. If he stopped trying to RUN the PP, he could do it a lot more.

Posted by: large23220 | April 18, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Lepisto scored for the Yotes? Good for him, forgot about what happened to him.
Real good points made about goalie for game 3- I voted for Theo on Japers poll because lets face it, he doesnt start tomw he'll be a head case any of the rest of the games.

Posted by: peabody2 | April 18, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

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