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Boudreau: Michal Neuvirth could play first three games

Semyon Varlamov told CSN's Corey Masisak that it is a groin injury that has sidelined him for the past week and a half and was why the Capitals ultimately chose to put the goaltender on injured reserve for the start of the season.

Varlamov only rejoined his teammates in practice Tuesday after sitting out in the days since he was a late scratch for Washington's preseason game against Boston on Sept. 28. Coach Bruce Boudreau said he hopes that Varlamov will be able to participate in a full practice session on Tuesday and that he doesn't expect as long of a recovery process as the goaltender went through last season with groin and knee injuries.

"I'm discouraged for him because it's happened before and it's taken him a while to get ready," Boudreau said when asked if he was concerned about Varlamov's latest injury. "But I think he was in such better shape this year that...it's not going to take anywhere near as long and don't think it's bad as it was in previous years. It was just something that we wanted to make sure didn't get as bad as in previous years."

Since the start of training camp Boudreau has said he hopes to play both Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth regularly and give each ample time to prove themselves this season. But because of Varlamov's injury Neuvirth will be the go-to netminder, for opening weekend at least.

Neuvirth will start against Atlanta Friday and Boudreau wouldn't rule out the possibility of Neuvirth playing in each of these first three games in four days.

"I've done it a lot in my career," Neuvirth said about the chance he might play in several games in a short period of time. "But I'm just focusing on tomorrow night. I want to be sharp tomorrow and that's what I'm thinking right now is getting ready for Friday. I'm pretty excited. I can't wait for the game and I'm going to get a little nervous before the game, but I think I can handle the pressure."

By Katie Carrera  | October 7, 2010; 12:48 PM ET
Categories:  Bruce Boudreau, Michal Neuvirth, Semyon Varlamov  
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Comments

Neuvy has always had to contend with the perception that he is second fiddle to Varlamov. This could be the big break he needs to set himself apart. I hope he takes advantage of it!

Posted by: braunt | October 7, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Groin again, time to get him healthy....have him play some good hockey and then find a trade partner unfortunately. That is three seasons in a row correct? Sounds like a genetic issue rather than just freak injuries.

Posted by: PhilR | October 7, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Did people see this about Ian Laperriere? That's too bad for him, but I hope he listens to his doctors and stops playing. Not worth the risk.

http://msn.foxsports.com/nhl/story/Philadelphia-Flyers%27-Ian-Laperriere-told-to-retire-due-to-lingering-concussion-100610

Posted by: sgm3 | October 7, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

@ PhilR
I hate to have to agree with what you posted. Get him healthy and trade get something in return for him, its sad cause we have seen what he could be but it will never be.
Anyone have any insight to on the Souary to the Bears move?

Shout out to SECTION 115

DROP THE PUCK !!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: bqts | October 7, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I hate to give up on Varly...is it possible to find out WHY he is so injury prone before we ditch him? I don't know much about sports medicine, but there has to be a reason...and possibly a way to fix it? He really COULD be a very solid goalie. If Irbe can get him in better form, then maybe his decrease in those crazy athletic saves would prevent the injuries he has been getting.

Posted by: capscoach | October 7, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Corvo is so bad.

Clutterbuck is the man.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 7, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

it did take Sutherby an eternity to get over his groin issues. And he doesn't have to do the splits like a goalie does.

"Anyone have any insight to on the Souary to the Bears move?"

the bummer is that Godfrey got demoted to the ECHL because of that move. This is his big yr to prove himself and he was having a good camp. So hopefully he finds his way back up again.

Maybe the Oil want to give teams a chance to watch Souray play this yr so someone picks him back up on re-entry.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 7, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3 -I saw that same story. As much as I hate the Flyers, I would never wish that on anyone. I hope everything turns out OK.

Posted by: jwash4472 | October 7, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3 -I saw that same story. As much as I hate the Flyers, I would never wish that on anyone. I hope everything turns out OK.

Posted by: jwash4472 | October 7, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Anyone see how McBain physically removed John Madden from the play? That's what we ask for in our d-men...not some big, open ice hit.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 7, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Neuvy will have plenty of time to play and get more experience. Varly will be on IR off and on most of the season.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | October 7, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Man, these announces are right. Pitkanen just turned the puck over like 6 times in that PP.

That's why having d-men who can make that first pass is so important.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 7, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

My take on Varly is this, he got away with being a very athletic goalie as a kid growing up. Was able to be very flexible because his body was still growing. Now his body is done growing so the way he throws his body around has much more of an impact on the muscles that he use to be able to stretch with ease. So bottom line for Varly to not have groin issues anymore he has to fundamentally change the way he plays goalie. If he doesn't, then he will constantly have groin or hip problems due to his style. He is a big enough goalie where if he just focuses on fundamentals and positioning he can probably be even more successful than he has been relying on his athleticism. If he is unwilling to change his style, as soon as he is healthy and gets on a hot streak I try to deal him.

Posted by: ThePat | October 7, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

There are tons of goalies who play a style similar to Varly and don't have chronic groin injuries. I think he just injured it as a kid, and it never healed properly. *shrug

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 7, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Lappy, Darcy T, all cut from the same cloth. They leave it all on the ice.

Hopefully the new GM will draft some of these types. We drafted one--SDR. gone baby gone.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 7, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

@ cstanton1

Thanks - Sure makes sense for them as a method of shopping him, still not sure anyone will touch the price even at half on re entry

DROP THE PUCK !!!!!!!!

Posted by: bqts | October 7, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

So much is made of Varly being injury prone, yet no one ever mentions the 3 injuries Neuvy suffered last season. Just curious, why the omission?

Posted by: ablake70 | October 7, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

@ablake

bc Neuvy is not the one injured right now.

Posted by: ThePat | October 7, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Afternoon fans. Can't wait for the start of the season. I hope they stay focused and hungry for Lord Stanley's Cup. If the defense stays consistent and we get the goaltending, we have a great shot to win it all and laugh at the Pens while we do it. I'll be at the game Saturday section 110, Row R 12-13. Hope to meet some of you there. Let's Rock the Red!!!

Posted by: robostop10 | October 7, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

@ThePat

Sure, but when the situation was reversed last training camp, some posters were still saying that Neuvy was the better goalie because Varly is injury prone. To date, neither one has been able to stay healthy for a whole season.

Posted by: ablake70 | October 7, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

whatever happened to max omelette ? he was supposed to be the next great goalie.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 7, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

@ThePat

Sure, but when the situation was reversed last training camp, some posters were still saying that Neuvy was the better goalie because Varly is injury prone. To date, neither one has been able to stay healthy for a whole season.

Posted by: ablake70

i think they're just "haters" :)

anyone have a line on Holtby? Does he look like a bluechipper puckswatter?

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 7, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I love watching Corvo suck on another team. The funniest thing is when I see people actually draft him in fantasy leagues. Oofff.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 7, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

@ablake

Both goalies get injured, Neuvy less frequently. No one mentioned it last training camp bc everyone knew he was going to Hershey and not going to be here.

I prefer Neuvy bc he relies on positioning rather than athleticism. To me he lets in fewer soft goals and is stronger mentally than Varly. I know people disagree with me on those statements but just my opinion.

Posted by: ThePat | October 7, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I like me some Holtby, he is still a bit raw but as I have stated on here in the past I just have a gut feeling he is the goalie of the future with Neuvy being his back-up. I just don't think Varly will ever be able to stay healthy due to the style he plays. I think that is why Neuvy's injuries aren't discussed as much because he is more of a positional goalkeeper as opposed to relying strictly on athleticism.

Holtby is a mixture of both IMO.

Posted by: PhilR | October 7, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Geez ThePat, guess great minds think alike.

Posted by: PhilR | October 7, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I think Grubauer is the goalie of the future!

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 7, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I think Grubauer is the goalie of the future!

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 7, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how long Clutterbuck's body will hold up if he keeps up this hitting pace. He does look like he's built like a tank though. Guys like Tucker always looked a little skinny on the ice.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 7, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

ThePat,

That's why this year will be interesting, and very important for their futures. The better goalie will eventually get more games as the season progresses - it will be fun to watch.

What if they both perform well? or conversely, poorly?

Posted by: jeets | October 7, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Phi-Pit should be a nice little war tonight....I wonder if ex-Bear Deryk Engelland will be in the lineup. Always liked him. Extremely strong frame and has the desire to boot.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 7, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

GMGM stop posting as richmondphil2!!

Posted by: PhilR | October 7, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I think Philly wins, they have the numbers given that the flightless foul have one girl :)

DROP THE PUCH !!!!!!

Posted by: bqts | October 7, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

@ ThePat

Not true. Neuvy was injured at the end of training camp, during the Olympic break, and during the Calder Cup playoffs. Varly was injured in December and January. Both goalies have had their share of "lower body injuries".

FTR, I would have preferred Varly and a cheap, veteran goalie and let Neuvirth come up as needed. Give the young guys a chance to grow into the position instead of forcing the issue. The Caps could (and should) keep both for years to come.

I think Grubauer is the goalie of the future!

I've been waiting for this! Caps fans ALWAYS think the grass is greener.

Also, it looks like Minny could use a little Flash. Where is Tom with his trade proposal?

Posted by: ablake70 | October 7, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

@ablake

I know Neuvy was injured at the end of training camp. But did anyone really think he was going to make the team last year? We had Theo making the money and Varly off the playoffs the year before.

Regardless you dont agree with me and thats fine. I said people dont think the same way I do when it comes to the goalies. Not a big deal to me. In the end I'll be right and you'll be wrong, so no big deal, haha.

Posted by: ThePat | October 7, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Varly is a fragile Russian flower...trouble...he is going to hurt himself out of the league.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | October 7, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

What? Neuvy's won back to back Calder Cup Championships. What does he have left to prove at the AHL level? He won't learn anything more down there. He needs to move up to keep developing and honing his game, and Holtby needs to be the #1 in Hershey to keep developing his game. Keeping the kid goalies is the right move, not just for Neuvy but for Holtby as well.

I'm another one who is more comfortable with Neuvirth's style than Varlamov's. Varlamov is spectacular, Neuvirth is solid and steady. A good combo.

Posted by: kittypawz | October 7, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

@ThePat

Good one! Personally, I think the kid the Caps draft next year will be the goalie of the future. I don't know who he is yet, but I just like him because he is so cool under pressure and positionally sound. He will be the starting goalie at the start of the 2012-2013 season!

Posted by: ablake70 | October 7, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

ablake70:
i think the goalie of the future is being conceived as i write this

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 7, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I think Grubauer is the goalie of the future!

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 7, 2010 2:14 PM

@richmondphil2:

Maybe he is, and maybe he ain't.


I watched him play during the Rookie Game vs. PHI last month. He seemed to have very sound positioning, good reflexes and good focus. Most impressive was the way he seemed to pick up shots even through heavy traffic, instantly square up, and get a glove on them.

So, ignoring the context of the Caps' goaltending situation this season, Grubauer could and probably should be a (not "the") goalie of the future...if not for the Caps then at least somewhere in the NHL. Kid does have some skills.

Bottom line: If junge Herr Grubauer does turn out to be Zilla 2.0, I hope he does so while Rockin' the Red.

Posted by: Rhino40 | October 7, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

@ kittypawz

Bourque, A. Gordon, Aucoin, Giroux, Perreault all won back to back Calder Cups, but someone still think they have something to prove in the minors. The Calder Cup argument is similar to the Niemi is a better goalie that Kipprsoff because he has a Cup.

Neuvy only spent one full season in the AHL. How about proving that he can carry a less talented team before declaring him ready for the big show? Had Neuvy carried a crap team to the Calder Cup, I would agree with you 100%, but everyone knows the Bears are stacked. The only reason I think Neuvy should have come up when he did is because the Bears don't have a goalie coach. Maybe the Bears should consider adding one.

Capt. Kirk-Wrong! The goalie of the future is a twinkle in his father's eye. Despite this minor setback, he will be available to lead the Caps to the Cup in 2013!

Posted by: ablake70 | October 7, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Just wanted to say, I'm not endorsing Varly or Neuvy. At this point, I just don't know. I hope that fans will temper their expectations for Neuvy, Varly, Carlson, and Alzner. They are all basically rookies.

Posted by: ablake70 | October 7, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Holtby is superior technically to Neuvirth who is superior technically to Varlamov.

Varlamov gets injured too much, Neuvirth is quite healthy and Holtby just has more technical upside than the other two.

2010-11:
1-Neuvirth
2-Varlamov

2011-12:
1-Neuvirth
2-Varlamov
(Varlamov traded in off-season)
(Holtby's ELC ends, an RFA)

2012-13
1A-Neuvirth (last year of contract)
1B-Holtby

2013-14 onwards!
1-Holtby
2-an unforseen backup
(Neuvirth traded for a great return)

I'm sure people will flame away but I've been posting this since last year... Neuvirth is the better goalie for this and next season... but Holtby will win it outright for the future for years to come. I ain't arguing with Dave Prior who said holtby was the more superior technically of the three. kind of like Kolzig and the Dafoe battle!

Posted by: FrankM73 | October 7, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

@kittypawz

I am not sure the point of your comment or who it was in response to, so I will just play devil's advocate.

What does pointing out that Neuvy has won back to back Calder Cups prove?

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | October 7, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

"Give the young guys a chance to grow into the position instead of forcing the issue."

After being drafted Neuvy played two more years in juniors. Then his first year in the pros he started in the ECHL(named ECHL all-star) and later played in the AHL. At the end of that year he led the Bears to an AHL championship while winning playoff MVP. Then he started last year being the full-time AHL goalie for the Bears, while winning another championship for them. During that year Neuvy played in 17 NHL games last and was decently successful.

So Neuvy showed success in the ECHL before being called up to the AHL. Then he played and showed great success in the AHL, and moderate success in a short stint in the NHL, before being called up full-time for the NHL.

The Caps are now intending to split Neuvy with Varly(so about 41 starts barring serious injury). There is no inention to make him a Ryan Miller like starter who plays almost 70 games.

Isn't that basically the definition of letting a guy grow into the position and not forcing him?

Posted by: sgm3 | October 7, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

@ablake70

Exactly.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | October 7, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

@Frank

I'm pulling for Holtby. If I'm not mistaken, doesn't he have some Hextall in him. As in, doesn't take kindly to forwards in his crease.

The last goalie we had who played with some fire was Olie. Still remember him going after Leroux in the Hunter/Leroux squabble.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 7, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1:

I haven't seen him as much as I'd like but reports I've heard are 'Yes', he has some Hextall in him. But maybe a reg Hershey follower could confirm.

His superstitions and routines are very "hardcore goalie-like"... very technically sound...

Posted by: FrankM73 | October 7, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

I am coming down for the home opener saturday and was wondering where a good bar is to pregame and postgame at?

Posted by: capsfan5252 | October 7, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

I am coming down for the home opener saturday and was wondering where a good bar is to pregame and postgame at?

Posted by: capsfan5252 | October 7, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

I am coming down for the home opener saturday and was wondering where a good bar is to pregame and postgame at?

Posted by: capsfan5252 | October 7, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Camelot.

Posted by: DCFanatic | October 7, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

The truth is Neuvy and Varly only have this season to proove themselves. If Varly keeps missing too many games to injury and Neuvy cannot hold his own, they are both major trade bait come offseason. With Holty waiting in the wings the starting job is up for grabs and as long Holty stays healthy and does not have a complete meltdown, he will be our starter for the next several years. Just MHO.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | October 8, 2010 4:54 AM | Report abuse

DCFan,
I usually just hang out st the Hooters a few blocks down prior to and after.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | October 8, 2010 4:57 AM | Report abuse

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