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Caps Recall Varlamov, Three Others (Updated)

The Caps will recall Simeon Varlamov, Alexandre Giroux, Andrew Gordon and Bryan Helmer tomorrow.

Since there was no practice today, I don't have an injury update. It's also unclear which, if any, of the recalls will actually suit up against the Sabres. I should know more after the morning skate, so check back then.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 25, 2008; 5:21 PM ET
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Here's your chance to sing that catchy tune!! :-D So who do we think will start in goal?!?

I replied to you on the previous thread. :-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 25, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse


Saw your post. Not to say you aren't amazing youn looking, I think the ponytail helped. :-)

Posted by: rw-c | December 25, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

younG looking!

Stupid computer!!! Always making me look bad.

Posted by: rw-c | December 25, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

AmazingLY young looking!

[i]stupid computer[/i]

Posted by: rw-c | December 25, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

LOL!! Trust me, it's none of the above - it was him, not me (sad but true).

OK, so what are the predictions for tomorrow? We know who has been called up, but who all is out? Who will start in goal AND who will be the back up? Most importantly, what will the score be? Let's just hope our boys can stay out of the box on Boxing Day!

Speaking of Boxing Day, did anyone hear Locker explain Boxing Day during the last game? If so, what the heck was that?!? Does it have a different meaning in Canada than it does in the UK, or am I just confused?!?

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 25, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse


No OH-fense to Locker, but he is often confused and ungrammatical ["they should've went" etc.]

Posted by: rw-c | December 25, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Apparently - I just googled it and it sounds like it is the same there as it is in the UK. He's Canadian, right? If so, how could he not know that? Don't get me wrong, I like Locker but, hello?!?

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 25, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

He was probably on the pond with his new skates every December 26th, so he never learned about Boxing Day.

Posted by: rw-c | December 25, 2008 7:03 PM | Report abuse

BJ to be placed on LTIR.
It's 50/50 as of today

Posted by: Pivot | December 25, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm guessing the Caps would put Johnny on LTIR. He's got more issues than a cold virus. I'm also not completely convinced theat Theo60 is completely healthy, either. Guess we'll find out tomorrow.
I'm going to the pre-game skate @ 1000 and see for myself.

Posted by: Dougeb | December 25, 2008 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Iiiiiinteresting. Guess we shouldn't expect Green back either.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | December 25, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Why put Johnson on LTIR? He makes $812.5K. I haven't checked all the cap figures, but the chances are that Alzner, Varlamov, Giroux and Helmer fit within the value of Clark and Schultz.

OK, they don't. There's a cap problem roughly the size of Johnny's contract. I'd be very surprised though if he's hurt bad enough to gp on LTIR, with doctor concurrence. More likely they will put one of the other injured players on LTIR. Fedorov is the obvious choice since he has already missed part of the time.

As far as goaltending, I still say to jettison Theo. Maybe they can get something after his good period and a half. The Ranger announcers said, late in the game, "Theodore has played very well since the four goals." I said to my daughter, "Sure, and the captain of the Titantic did a great job after the iceberg." We'll see. I'd love to get a 17th round draft pick for any team willing to take on the contract. For $4.5M in cap space you can have Alzner and Varlamov and have $2M leftover for as prorate on a tough, SaH D. Maybe Theo will turn it around though.

Is there anyone here who thinks Theo can turn it around so much to make the difference between his $4.5M and Varlamov's $822K?

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 25, 2008 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Spoke with gmgm at Rags game. Fed is def going on LTIR. Clark due back on 28th for sure. He said several times goalie situation concerning and that Simeon would hopefully be back up for a while.

Posted by: jerry2178 | December 25, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Feds going on LTIR would make sense. He's reinjured that ankle twice and it's been a problem for quite some time. Maybe this is the only way to make him sit and let it heal.

As for Varlamov - I guess it depends on who is out. Guys, I know Johnny is having trouble with that hip, but I don't think that was the issue during the Rangers game. One look at the guy told me that he was sick as a dog and probably running a fever. He looked positively awful.

I'm going to the morning skate tomorrow, too, so I guess I'll see you guys there. Heh. Maybe we should meet up or something, I dunno.

@Boo: I heard Locker's explanation. I was pretty sure he was kidding. :)

I don't mind any of those guys being recalled. I think this team can handle that if they put their minds to it and decide that they're going to go out and kick some Sabre tail tomorrow night. Injuries or not, we've still got the firepower to get the job done.

Although, can Giroux please spend some one-on-one time with either Johnson or Theodore and work out some moves to finish those breakaways of his? If he can learn to finish those breakaways, he'll be a monster.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 25, 2008 9:42 PM | Report abuse

I thought Locker was joking about Boxing Day. ;-)

As for Theo vs. Varlamov vs. Johnson... I suspect Johnny's cold/injury may have him sidelined, BUT I don't think it's LTIR-worthy... The Caps have been extremely chary about putting players on LTIR status, even when (IMO) they should (cough-FEDOROV-cough).

@tominfl1 - I don't think that Theo turning it around for that kind of difference is the key here. The key is NOT ruining Varlamov by bringing him up too early. If it is a choice between mediocre goaltending this year and having a Varlamov that is fully NHL-ready next year, or bringing Varlamov up this year and shattering his confidence, I'll take the former (mediocre goaltending).

Varlamov is this team's future in goaltending. If we bring him up to stay too soon, we are risking damaging him in the confidence department, and a goaltender - as we can see with Theodore - CANNOt afford that.

Posted by: irockthered | December 25, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

@kittypawz -
Question - are the Caps pretty good about starting practice at 10AM or should I get there a little early if they hit the ice early (anything happen before that)?

Posted by: ralCapsFan | December 25, 2008 9:58 PM | Report abuse

@ralCapsFan: I don't know. :( Living in Baltimore, this is the first time I've ever managed to make a morning skate. I'm planning to show up a little early, just because that's how I roll. If nothing else, I can hit the gear shop, I have a question I want to ask them anyway. I'm really looking forward to it. :)

Sorry I can't be more help!

Posted by: kittypawz | December 25, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse


No problem...I took in one of the training camp games and they seemed to start on time so I will also prob get there early just to be sure. Should be interesting to see who is in the injury colored sweaters.

Posted by: ralCapsFan | December 25, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse


As I posted the other day, I was a STH when Carey came up. I remember listening on the radio (medium of the day) when he beat the Isles for his first win. How can anyone ever say Carey was ruined coming up too early when he won the Vezina?

I watched Carey in net game after game. I recall one game vs Hawks early in 95 maybe when over his left shoulder was like an invitation for a free goal. The Caps moved him and Carter and Allison I think for Oates, Ranford and Tocchet later in the year. Great trade, looking back. Was Carey brought up too soon? Or did he fail to adapt? From everything I read back then, his problem was he wouldn't listen to his coaches.

I am 51. I have lived long enough to know success and failure in business. I had some success when it was pretty easy and I was like, "Whoa, I'm the Dude!" Then I've had failure when the whole situation sucked and even God couldn't fix it and I was like, "Why are they blaming me?"

I'm still here though. I know when you are on top it isn't just you and when you are looking up it isn't just you either. I don't know young Mr. Varlamov enough to know whether he will handle the pressure or crack like Hillary Clinton's campaign squad. I can tell you from my own experience that bringing him up or not has less to do with his eventual success than his parents' training. I learned everything I needed from life by watching my own dad tie his shoes in the morning and go to work EVERY SINGLE DAY without a complaint for year after year after year.

If I could meet Mr. Alexander Varlamov for 5 mins and talk about his son I'd probably know all I'd need about whether or not his son will make it as our goalie.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 25, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse


Interesting perspective. I am torn about the whole theory of how soon to bring up a young tiger and throw him to the fire. However, by his own admission, he is not ready physically to go game to game as he is still building his North American game stamina. Now that is not to say that he can't pinch hit but part of me (although not a fan of his mis-positioning) wants to see Jose suceed. Who knows.

Posted by: ralCapsFan | December 25, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

@ralCapsFan: Remind me what the color code for sweaters is? I know that orange is injury, and I think white for forwards and black for defense?

Posted by: kittypawz | December 25, 2008 10:27 PM | Report abuse

@kittypawz: I think you nailed it (but not 100%) on the color coded sweaters. Am bummed that my boy Feds who's sweater I have is about to be eclipsed in GP by Alzner (shows you how long he has been out...and prob. should be more since he should stay out until healthy - Note for Caps trainers)

Posted by: ralCapsFan | December 25, 2008 10:30 PM | Report abuse

BTW...meant I am not 100% on the color schemes

Posted by: ralCapsFan | December 25, 2008 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Red = 1st line
Green = 2nd line
Gray = 3rd line
White = 4th Line
Blue = defense
Orange = Dont touch me

Posted by: JSchon | December 25, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse

@ralCapsFan: It wasn't Varlamov's admission that he wasn't ready for the North American game but Boudreau's and McPhee's judgment. All of this has to do with, "He expends so much energy betwen pre-game practice and the game, that he can't come back and play the next day."

Contrast that to Ovechkin: the more enery OV expends in one game, the more energy he seems to have available for the next.

My own opinion is that Varlamov will never have a better situation to join the NHL than the Ovechkin-Fedorov-Kozlov-Semin Caps. I read the story about his dad coming down and watching the game last week and I'm thinking how his dad got to spend the game in the fancy seats watching with Fedorov! I mean, Fedorov must be his dad's hero like Brooks Robinson was my hero growing up with the Orioles!

I have never in my life seen a person more determined than Alexander Ovechkin cupping the puck at the Rangers' blueline and scoring that goal the other night. That kind of determination is what Varlamov will see when he's with the Caps. How can it not rub off?

Ask not whether you want Varlamov to suffer from coming up too soon; ask instead whether you can allow him to miss out on these daily lessons from Mr. Ovechkin.

In the immortal words of President John F. Kennedy: "Ich bin ein hockey fan."

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 25, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm wearin' orange.

Glad you guys think that Locker was kidding - I clearly did not get the joke.

Johnny on LTIR? I don't see it ...

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 25, 2008 10:50 PM | Report abuse

@JSchon: Thanks! :) Much appreciated. I know sometimes Gabby will put all the lines in the same color to disguise his lines, yes? We'll see if he does.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 25, 2008 10:50 PM | Report abuse

@JSchon: Ditto...thanks dude.

@tominfl1: Dude, great point on Varly's Dad being in town. Saw him up in Hershey on Saturday with Varly after the game. Being with the Russian contingent would certainly be condusive(sp) to the youngster.

Posted by: ralCapsFan | December 25, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

@Boo: I don't either. I think Fedorov is more likely, and Erskine isn't out of the realm of possibility either. Neither is Semin.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 25, 2008 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Those who say that they don't want Varlamov's confidence to get ruined by playing in the NHL this year are assuming that he's gonna play badly. It is just as possible that he'll play well and his confidence will go through the roof.

Alzner is a good example. He's come up and you can see his confidence rise game to game. He looks more and more comfortable at the NHL level. Ovechkin and Crosby were 18 when they played a full season in the NHL and put up crazy numbers. Thornton sucked in his first year at 18. Stamkos has really struggled. It doesn't so much depend on age, but on a person. Theodore is 30+ yet he lost his confidence. It can happen to anyone at any age.

Posted by: ranndino | December 25, 2008 11:08 PM | Report abuse

I know you guys want to get rid of Theodore and put Varlamov in because he did well in those first couple of games, but to be honest, I watched Varlamov those two games and once or twice in Hershey, and I can see the holes in his game. He doesn't play the puck when he should sometimes, and he does get out of position. Also, if BB and GMGM say he's exhausted after each game, that's not good either. I'm really hesitating to bring him up for good yet, and other than what I just outlined, I can't say why.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 25, 2008 11:15 PM | Report abuse

My impression of Theo is that he doesn't feel 100% that this is his team. Maybe fans are a part of it too. But I hope that if he plays enough and get his confidence, and starts to believe in his teammates and the Caps... well he can be a great asset - especially in the playoffs.

Posted by: mauree | December 25, 2008 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Where are all the Teddy & GMGM bashers now? the lockout plan is working. The depth is never more evident than in these injury riddled days.

Posted by: Rocc00 | December 26, 2008 12:40 AM | Report abuse

@ jerry2178

You must be GMGM's psychoanalyst. Or lawyer. Or priest. Or wife.

Nevermind... he would never tell any of those people about his plans for shuffling personnel.

Every practice I've been to started in earnest around 10:30 and went for an hour. Guys usually slowly trickle out of the locker room around 10:10 and the last ones come back off the ice around noon.

Posted by: large23220 | December 26, 2008 1:12 AM | Report abuse

my call is Varmalov gets the start. Boudreau sees that with Theodore in goal, the game starts at 3-0 Buffalo. Every game Theodore starts we are spotting 3 goals. How much more can he tolerate?

Posted by: ergoroc | December 26, 2008 7:33 AM | Report abuse

To kittypawz: I too see potential problems. Varlamov does not strike me as an NHL goalie right now. I do not think it's just his style. His stats, after two games, are great, but I doubt they will remain that way for very long at the NHL level this year.

To tominfl1: Theodore looks really shaky right now. I am not happy with him. He doesn't deserve that kind of money. But I suspect, at this point, that the Capitals would have to give a team something in order for that other team to assume the entire remainder of his contract. I don't think anyone's looking for Theodore right now. I think we are stuck with him. Hopefully, he'll regain the form he showed throughout the last half of the regular season and the playoffs last year. Check out his numbers over that time--they were solid. Hopefully that wasn't just a case of contract-yearitis and Theodore will improve as the season continues like he did last year.

Posted by: youaresquishy | December 26, 2008 7:35 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: rachel216 | December 26, 2008 7:48 AM | Report abuse

By the way, Giroux really needs to work on his breakaways, he's been stopped I can count about 4 times. :(

Posted by: rachel216 | December 26, 2008 7:49 AM | Report abuse

@ergoroc: Varlamov only gets the start of you guys learn to spell his name right :) You guys have Locker-itis. :D

Morning, all.

I think our guys can swing this one tonight as long as we come out flying and ready to play a full 60 minutes. Vanek and Roy are no joke in the scoring department, and I'm guessing that Alzner/Jurcina are going to get shut-down duty on those two. I hope those two have a good game tonight, because we'll need it no matter who's in net.

I don't know about you, but a 5-0 Caps payback for the last game would complete my Christmas.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 26, 2008 7:59 AM | Report abuse

I bet the Caps can trade Theo given a couple realistic scenarios:

Scenario one: package Theo with Nylander to a team that needs a veteran center and goalie (NYI & 'Hawks come to mind).

The Isles need a veteran center and a good back up goalie. They are almost under the Cap and the fairly short term salaries for these two will allow them to trade a few vets for picks/prospects (Bill Guerin, Doug Weight, Mike Sillinger, Andy Sutton, and Brenden Witt).

Scenario Two: Wait for the trade deadline and trade Theo to a team that despartly needs a goalie for a pick or prospect. If Varly plays well enough to earn the 1 or 2 spot, Theo is expendible, and a team with a goalie injury and playoff prospects may bite for a 1.5 year contract and a proven playoff goalie.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | December 26, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

I wish we were playing in the Winter Classic, it looks SO COOL! I think it's great for Hockey though.

Posted by: rachel216 | December 26, 2008 8:24 AM | Report abuse

I agree with bringing up Varlamov and letting him play. If he's not ready to play back-to-back due to energy issues, so be Theo on those days and we'll just have to score more. I also couldn't agree more about having Varlamov up this year to play with Ovechkin, Feds, Kozlov, and Semin. The comfort level should be great with those guys around and he'll learn tons about the game. I was great watching AO come back to goal in the Blues game and give Varly some words and support throughout the game. You can't ask for a better situation. When BJ gets back, keep him and Varly, send Theo through waivers and pay his salary elsewhere if need be. Paying his salary here and watching goals against isn't helping anyone.

Posted by: saintex | December 26, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

No GM, no sane GM is going to accept a trade of Theo/Nylander who are paid over $10M per year. Pairing them together in a trade would be a better magic trick that levitation crap David Blaine does.

Most likely scenario is trade deadline, no one being traded with all the injuries we are accumulating.

Posted by: JSchon | December 26, 2008 8:34 AM | Report abuse

There was much doubt about Alzner a couple months ago (really it's true ,remember?) - Play Lord Varlamov and see what happens. I think the worst that could happen is it scares JT into winning his job back. Best case is he gels with the Russians and the Red Revolution is complete.

Posted by: TheCapitalist1 | December 26, 2008 8:34 AM | Report abuse

I can hope that Theodore will play hot if he plays tonight. He's shown he is capable. As for Vezina trophy winners, apparently people have forgotten that Theodore is also one, and he won the Hart that year as well. So being a Vezina winner means little to nothing for some winners, and that argument doesn't hold water for me.

After looking at Johnson, if he's ill - and he looked like sh*t the other night - I would want to call Varlamov up just so that Johnson can stay in bed where he belongs and get the cold gone.

But I don't want to rush him. If he does not have the stamina, and that's what Boudreau is saying, well... In Bruce I trust!

Posted by: irockthered | December 26, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

@ Jschon -- Respecting a Theo/Nyls trade, it depends how much the other team is trading in terms of salary. The only way the Caps trade Nylander to Chicago, the common rumor, is in a package deal. I think that latter scenario is more likely for Theo -- deadline trade. I don't think the Caps can trust Theo with his incredibly inconsistent play. Nylander's stupid NTC makes him almost impossible to trade because he has to approve the trade which lessens his chances of going to a non-playoff team that may really want him.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | December 26, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

I do not think Nylander is hard to move. Do not play him, healthy scratch him every night. He'll get feed up eventually and except a trade to a playoff contender.

However right now, with Semin, Feds out he wont be going anywhere.

Posted by: JSchon | December 26, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Nylander after this year is owed $10.6M and Theo is owed another $4.5M.

I'd like to see Nylander for Komisarek at the trade deadline. Montreal needs a center. Komisarek is a UFA after the season. Brashear is gone after this season, and Komi could be our enforcer and he plays 20 mpg.

Posted by: JSchon | December 26, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Nyls' trade to Chicago is off the table. I have it from a unrefutable source. Mark my words, he is here until the end of the season; GMGM has no one who is interested right now plus Nyls is useful at the moment; he is well liked by the players and helps setlle down the kids. Case in point, notice the reaction of the whole team when he scored the winning goal in Montreal.

Posted by: atybat | December 26, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse


Don't know what sources you are talking about, but Emminger could have scored that GWG and he would have been mobbed, not Jagr, but definitely Emminger and even Witt.

Posted by: JSchon | December 26, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

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