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Videos: Debate Mike Wise, Tarik Talks Defense

There's been plenty of chatter about the Caps' goaltending situation following Jose Theodore's poor showing in Game 1 against the Rangers.

Some say Coach Bruce Boudreau shouldn't waste time trying to figure out if Theodore will improve; he should replace him with 20-year-old rookie Simeon Varlamov (who's played in just six NHL games) in Game 2. Others -- including Post columnist Mike Wise -- think Theodore should get a second chance.

Boudreau will do whatever he wants to do, of course -- and he's hinting that he'll stick with Theodore -- but even good coaches make bad calls sometimes. So what should Boudreau do?

Check out what Mike has to say below, and then -- we're trying something new here, so bear with us -- record your own response, if you'd like. All you need is a webcam and an opinion. (And as you can see from our shoddy production in Michael Wilbon's office, any video quality will do.) Mike will be doing this every other day or so, and we'll publish some of the best responses in the paper.

We also have another daily video update from Tarik. Check out what he has to say about Jeff Schultz, today's practice and, uh, the decor in Wilbon's office:

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 17, 2009; 3:20 PM ET
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Next: Today's Lineup: Rangers at Caps


I can't watch the video, but I agree. Theo deserves a chance for redemption.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 17, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Also, I love that idea. Give a voice to the fans!

Posted by: richmondphil | April 17, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Wise and Phil.

If you take Theo out now, he's done for the season. If Varly stinks too, you're out of options.

Give him another shot and see what happens.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 17, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse


For those wondering.

In playoff hockey, OT is treated as a sudden death regular period. That's a 20 min break followed by up to a 20 minute period. Repeat until someone scores.

The longest game was Detroit vs the Montreal Morons, er, Maroons in 6 OT periods with 176:30 minutes played in '36. The Caps vs Pitts game comes in 5th with 4 OT periods in '96. Pens won.

Posted by: Greg S. | April 17, 2009 3:34 PM |

Posted by: Greg S. | April 17, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I dont know who should start in goal...but I'll tell you this Wise.....

If I worked with you, I would smacked you right in the cheek with a wet wad of toilet paper at the 20 second mark...

Viral would of been a legend.

Posted by: SA-Town | April 17, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

From the previous thread...

Arena etiquette:

1. If you're in an upper level seat, you don't lean forward blocking the view of everyone behind you. 2. When an opposing player is injured, it's customary to applaud when they leave the ice. 3. You don't boo when the ref stops play on a puck played with a high stick or a hand pass. 4. You don't get up and leave your seat when the puck is in play. Those are just a few of the egregious things I've seen here that you don't see in other arenas (save for maybe Philly, we all know they're a different breed). I'm all for education, it makes watching the game (at home or at Verizon) and discussing it on here a lot more enjoyable for everyone.

Might be a cool PR thing for the Caps to run intermission video "education" sessions, since we're gaining a lot of fans who are obviously new to hockey.

Posted by: snakegriffin | April 17, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I think you have to ride Theo until the wheels come off. The thought of starting a rookie goalie, on the road, in the playoffs....scary. Theo is your guy, you paid him to be that, lets see the full scope of what he can do for us, if he sucks, he can watch Varlamov play next year!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | April 17, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I can't wait until JT gets a W tomorrow and the media shuts up about him.

Posted by: CapsChick | April 17, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Dammit, Greg, why do you have to bring that up?

Penalties haunt us then, and they will haunt us now. I hate Nedved.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 17, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I don't think any one person "deserves" anything, especially when the psychological standing of an entire city rests on a certain outcome (or is that just me?). I think Wise makes sense about starting Theo, but pulling him if he let's in a soft goal or looks shaky and doesn't let in any goals. Sometimes when Boudreau says "deserves", it scares me as it implies this is about the player rather than about the team. If he thinks the team will do best with Theo, play him. If Theo plays and wins, he deserves ice cream or whatever his favorite treat may be.

Posted by: fehrrocks | April 17, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

And if Theo wins, he deserves a nice "thank you" from us non NHL types.

Posted by: fehrrocks | April 17, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

@fehr the game tomorrow is in DC.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 17, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

CapsChick - the media will never shut up in Washington. The most popular players in DC are the backup QB for the Skins, followed closely by the backup goalie for the Caps.

Posted by: superpaqman | April 17, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Media? Shut up? They're paid to talk.

Personally, I agree with Mike Wise, mostly. I'm thinking Theodore starts with a short leash. If you don't start him in Game 2, he's done for the season, and riding the whole playoff run with Varly is flying on a wing and a prayer, to borrow a turn of phrase. However, if he isn't sharp, if he starts allowing soft goals, then definitely give him the hook and see what Varlamov can do.

Posted by: kittypawz | April 17, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, RP! :)

Of course that makes owning the Pens this year all the sweeter, doesn't it?

Posted by: Greg S. | April 17, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: StanleyCup19O7 | April 17, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

"...shoddy production in Michael Wilbon's office"

There's a certain justice to that phrase, isn't there?

Posted by: Greg S. | April 17, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I have nothing better to do than to troll the boards of NHL teams that are actually good... With "studs" like Sid and Geno I can't wait to watch my Pittsburgh Rainbows, uh I mean Penguins, get their ass kicked by the Caps again!

Posted by: StanleyCup19O7 | April 17, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

or is it a play on words...fore=FOUR as in 4 games! geez do i have to explain EVERYTHING

Posted by: StanleyCup1907 | April 17, 2009 2:37 PM |

On second thought... maybe it's fore as in "foreskin", you know, my breakfast of choice

Posted by: StanleyCup19O7 | April 17, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Sounds to me like the Yankees embarrassing themselves is causing all the New Yorkers to jump on the Rags bandwagon. Honestly, I've never seen such premature unabashed congratulatory chest bumping in the NY media in years. Not even when the Giants won. It strikes me as amazing for a city with such a rich sports tradition that their sports beat can be so ignorant. I blame it on the economy.

Posted by: snakegriffin | April 17, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

If I was a Washington Fan I wouldnt be bringing up baseball right about now! LOL

Posted by: StanleyCup1907 | April 17, 2009 2:20 PM |

Another point on this, my Pittsburgh (Butt)Pirates are the envy of every other MLB franchise out there

Posted by: StanleyCup19O7 | April 17, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

here is a amazing stat!!!! SEMIN has played every playoff game this season...ooops check that ...He has been dressed for every playofff game!

Posted by: StanleyCup1907 | April 17, 2009 2:32 PM |

My bad guys, I thought by Semin you meant what Sid drops on the small of my back every night

Posted by: StanleyCup19O7 | April 17, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse


You must be kidding?? I have been to other arena's and they are just as bad if not worse then Verizon.

Have you seen a game in Detroit? Those fans are all over the place...Next time you watch a wings game look at the's like an ant farm during play...

Posted by: SA-Town | April 17, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I saw a few PSA's concerning moving in the aisles while the puck was in play. I thought they did a pretty good job of it. But leaning forward is a problem.

Posted by: Greg S. | April 17, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

OldtimeHockey, you sound like those cry baby NYR fans on the Daily News blog. I'm used to standing the whole game in the freezing cold at FedEx, so I cannot sympathize with your 5 seconds of inconvenience, when a person make a decision to stand up and blocks your precious view. wahhhahha Stay home!

Posted by: bhound69 | April 17, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse


LOL, no $*!!

Posted by: bhound69 | April 17, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Play Varly in Game 2. No way you should start him at MSG in game 3 on the road. Lets play this out a bit. if Varly sucks and gives up a bad goal so what. Theo gave up 3 last time. If Theo needs to go back in game three at MSG, Theo should look at it from the angle of I have to prove something to the world. They took my job away. He should be mad and play even harder. Go with Varly. We are not going far with JT. Look at how he played in Florida. JT is trending in the wrong direction. Give the rookie experience so we can go further next year. Also look at the Anahiem game last night. Did they not have a rookie in net that shutout San Jose on the road.

Posted by: samb99 | April 17, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Never been to Detroit.

Regardless, I do think that with the burgeoning fanbase here the organization could do more to help the newbies out.

On topic: Let Theo attempt to redeem himself. 2 bad goals and you're out. It's promising that Schultz is out, so long as Pothier can stand tall.

Posted by: snakegriffin | April 17, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse


Not missing much at all. I was there for a month in June when they beat Carolina for the SC. I couldn't get in to see a game, which was OK really. But the bars I went to was like a morgue.

Posted by: Greg S. | April 17, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

from previous thread.
it took me until your second post to figure it out.
you're just as entertaining (if not more so) than the origin 07

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 17, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Theo deserves another shot, but that leash should be short. Look at Anaheim, they have Jiggy sitting on the bench cuz he has slipped and Hiller has played well. And Jiggy has actually won the whole thing!

It worked out for them in game 1 so far...

Posted by: sargeantmofo | April 17, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Neat idea for the Post. We'll see how many responses you get. Apparently computer ability is not a job requirement for columnists. "How do I turn this off?" Hysterical, Wise....

Posted by: oldtimehockey | April 17, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

This webcast unlike the second one was perfect. You are sitting not too far and not too close, you speak normal voice unlike 2nd webcast where you were forcing your voice and spoke right into the webcam.
Awesome! Pretty soon CNN will want you. :-)

As of Varly I agree with this:

Not that anybody is listening, but here's why I would go with Varly:

1. When the team has a backup in the net, the team plays tighter defensively. It's a well known trick or team's mental aspect that the coaches use in difficult situations.

2. Can Simeon do it? Yes, he can, with his great record and previous non NHL experience as Boudreau just said it above.

3. Can Simeon fail? Yes, it is possible. But it would be the chance for Theodore to come back. He did come back great vs. the same Rangers when he was pulled in 2nd period and was put back in the 3rd. He knew there was no way out because Brett Johnson was sick. If Varly will not show up his potential, it would be almost identical 'no way out' situation for Jose Theodore. And he bounced back well last time. He will also be relieved of the pressure of showing up immediately on Saturday.

Posted by: CodePoetry | April 17, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Man, I don't know why anyone would want to come on this board and put up with the non-stop abuse (obviously it's well deserved for someone who only uses 2% of their brain) - you guys are ruthless.

828 - great jokes, I enjoyed them.

As for the goalie situation, I agree with most that Theo should get another shot but if we see another game like Wednesday night, Varly should be in.

Also, I don't want to badmouth #55 but that actually might be a blessing in disguise. I wonder if Nyls can pull a hammy (not a serious one) and we can get Aucoin in.

Posted by: Moose33 | April 17, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Also look at the Anahiem game last night. Did they not have a rookie in net that shutout San Jose on the road.

Posted by: samb99 | April 17, 2009 4:07 PM |

Are you really comparing Hiller, who has been their #1 for the whole season, to Varlamov, who played 5 games?

Varlamov can be ruined with a bad game. Theo gets his chance at redemption, and more than likely he will also play Game 3.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 17, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

@ richmond.

Point about the Rangers in NY game is that Theo can rebound in NY and the NY crowd can be ignored by him. Wouldn't put him in NY if he lost tomorrow, but if Varlamov lost tomorrow, Theo might be appropriately inspired to rise to the occasion in NY.

Posted by: fehrrocks | April 17, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Wise, here are my thoughts (no webcam): Theo might bounce back, he might let in 3 or more and the Caps might still win despite it. Do you keep him in then? Whats the criteria? A soft goal? A team victory? The issue is that Theo wasn't ready for the biggest game of the season. Of all the post season games so far, his play in net has been the worst. Varlamov outshone him and he only played in 5 games. The team rallied around the kid, too. Theo has said he's better in the second half of the season, so he's only good half the time by his own estimation. I haven't heard the guy say anything that fills me with confidence. I see him routinely get beaten and the only thing that keeps the Caps in it is the stellar offense provided by Ovechkin, Semin, Backstrom and Green. He's letting in short side goals, and barely flinching as other, savable, shots rattle by. They have to win the next game at home and even things up or they lose all the momentum heading to NY and quite possibly the series.

Is Varlamov above reproach? No. Thankfully, Varly's Angels are sitting on the goal frame. His rebound control needs some work. But I haven't seen anything that tells me Theo is better right now. In light of that, and given the expectations, my hunch is to play Varlamov. If he plays great and they win, awesome. If not, Theo's time on the bench should serve as a great big wake up call. If it doesn't, and they lose game 3 because of goaltending with him in net, then it doesn't matter anymore, does it?

Posted by: oo7 | April 17, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

I also agree that Theo gets another chance. However, if he were to struggle tomorrow, BB has to have a short leash and put in Varly. We can't keep testing if Theo is going to be the guy during playoff games. If Theo struggles, then BB must put in Varly, no matter what, and hopefully it won't be too late. Tomorrow is an absolutely must win. If we don't come out with a win, being down 2-0 and heading to MSG will not be good at all.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 17, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm really pulling for Jose tomorrow, for him to have a great game, but I'm not going to feel bad if he lets in a few and gets pulled. He's played many good games in the regular season for us, unfortunately, he's had just as many bad games as good games. We all saw how good Theo can be, like in the 2-1 win in Philly and the OT win in Nashville. That's the Theo I want to see!

Posted by: rachel216 | April 17, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

This is like a car wreak you feel obligated to continue watching the carnage...

I just threw up in my mouth a little

Posted by: superpaqman | April 17, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

@Superpaqman, I'm not sure I agree with, but the line about the "most popular athletes" being the back-ups was pretty funny.

@ whoever called me a whiner, whatever. If you jump thinking its a goal and its not, that's one thing. If you stand up to get a better view of the far corner, and stand there, that's another. Sit down, let everyone enjoy the game. I could stand up too, but then the guy behind me would, etc, etc. I'm 6'3", I'll see fine. The 10 year old behind me, not so much.

Also, that you stood at R-words games for hours or walked uphill both ways in the snow to school or whatever, isn't really relevant.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | April 17, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

i now hate you :) - i threw up in my mouth a lot.
at 2:45 in it looked like the yellow pen guy was doing baby blue pen guy from behind!

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 17, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

how do you get that thing to record ur reply? it says to hit enter and i when you do it just says starting recording and never does...

anyway...i dont know man...jose needs a kick in the @$$ i think...he needed on in the middle of the season and when he got benched he responded well when he got back at it...that definitely needs to happen again at this point...

i think it comes down to whether you want to give varly a start in the booth or the garden and which environment you think he has the better chance in...i figure its at home and now would be the best time cause youve got to figure the skaters are gonna bounce back and get it done this next game...

take the win, give varly his game and lite a fire under it again later in the playoffs as needed...

im down with jose playing tomorrow but win or lose if he plays sketchy, you gotta make a move to send him a message...

even if varly starts and wins tomorrow, i think jose still #1...until such time as he comes back after varly start and doesnt respond...

i dont think if you start varly tomorrow youre necessarily saying hes #1 either and it doesnt necessarily have to start a goalie controversy...over course that could play out depending on how they both respond to their optys...

Posted by: deadskin | April 17, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

This is excellent!

The Flyers-Penguins game is in overtime, with 7:19 left.

I hope they set a record for most overtime minutes in a playoff game. I'd love to see both teams so tired they can't skate straight.

Posted by: irockthered | April 17, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

I don't know what makes me happier, that the Pens are on the PK, or that Briere got shoved to the ice.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 17, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

@Tarik - I'd report StanleyCup19O7 for abuse, but the mailto: link doesn't work properly. Those remarks of his are completely inappropriate...

Posted by: irockthered | April 17, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

This game is nuts.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 17, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

@jmu_capsgirl - They're both happy-making. And if the Flyers can hold out for another 1:50, it'll be another OT! :-) Offsides, Pittsburgh.

Posted by: irockthered | April 17, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Geez. Flyers deserved to lose that one. Definitely a bad time to leave their brains on the bench.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 17, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

DARN. Penguins over the Flyers, 5-on-3, with less than 2 minutes left in OT. Game over courtesy of a Bill Guerin goal.

Posted by: irockthered | April 17, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Canes win in OT too.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 17, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Awesome, awesome game between Pit/Phi. That was so intense.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 17, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

@jmu_capsgirl - Seriously. 5-on-3? They didn't play spectacularly... I was really hoping for a second OT, though...

Posted by: irockthered | April 17, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Yup, Philthy basically lost the game to Pitt because they played too philthy for their own good. It's hard to overcome two guys in the box at the same time, one at 2:00 and another with 1:30 left to go.

I'll admit I was rooting for Philthy in that one. Okay, I don't like them but I'm rooting for a touch 7 game series and NOT a sweep. Or, maybe it goes to show you, I hate the Pens worse than Philthy. (I actually like the Philly baseball team, after the Nats and Cardinals and, while I'm not a Eagles fan, I like them better than Dallas or NY.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 17, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Flyers deserved to lose that one. Two men down in way they could survive that. Stupid penalties to take. But legit calls. I was watching on Comcast Philly and even their announcers said it was terrible decision-makeing by the Flyers.

I was kind of rooting for the Flyers tonight just because I want this one to go 7 games and watch them beat the crap out of each other.

Posted by: tess2201 | April 17, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

i watched that youtube video and left a comment of my own. see if you can guess who i am. i encourage others to do the same.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | April 17, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

irockthered, Are you kidding? I was hoping for about 8 OTs. In all 7 games. It would be completely different if they were phantom calls, but there's no way you can't call those. Just stupid play by the Flyers.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 17, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Philly taking dumb penalties? No way...

We should've taken a penalty Wednesday night when Avery tapped Theo's glove, who agrees? No one? Oh..

Posted by: richmondphil | April 17, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse


You're definitely on the same page as me re Pitt vs Philthy

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 17, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

How can tickets for tomorrows game not be sold out? I was able to get both lower and upper level tickets from ticket master.

Posted by: skins1110 | April 17, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

So Philthy now has their back to the wall for the playoffs. Down 2 to zip.

As for Pittsburgh, the Bruins (or whoever they get) will dump them in Round 2.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 17, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

For SC 1907, did Semin once steal away your girlfriend (which is why you are so negative about him)?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 17, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

@ richmondphil

Are you really comparing Hiller, who has been their #1 for the whole season, to Varlamov, who played 5 games?


I cited the same exact example as samb99 in my video reply before even reading any of this stuff. Before replying next time you might wanna check your facts first. Hiller has not been Anaheim's #1 all year. That's the point. They had a very similar situation to us. They kept giving chance after chance to Giguere who sucked all season despite Hiller playing much better in limited time. Finally, when it looked like Guguere was gonna play them right out of the playoff picture they finally gave Hiller the #1 job. The kid responded with getting them into the playoffs and now shutting the Sharks out in game 1.

Overall, this whole NHL playoff experience stuff is overrated. Every person is different. Some freak out, some don't. There's no reason to doubt Varlamov now like many are doing (he hasn't given any), but there are more than enough reasons to doubt Theodore. Lastly, like I've said many times, Varlamov, just like Hiller isn't really a green rookie coming from some junior or beer league. He's played at a very high level, in high pressure situations and in front of large crowds. And has done extremely well. I don't see what we're risking by putting him in.

As far who deserves what... Theo doesn't deserve anything anymore. He's been given every chance to get his game in order and hasn't done so. How many chances should a guy get? Also, some on here don't realize just how important this game is. It's a must win! Check the record of teams that have lost the first 2 games at home. I see playing Theo as a bigger risk and if anyone deserves something it's Varly who's been excellent every time he's been given a chance.

Posted by: ranndino | April 17, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse

BTW, the Flyers really shot themselves in the foot once again by taking unbelievably mistimed idiotic penalties today. First they let Pens tie it with 3 min left and then took back to back penalties in OT. I can't remember the last time I saw a 5-on-3 in a playoff OT game, but both penalties were legit. Not that I don't expect the boards to already start filling up with irate Flyers fans blaming the loss on the refs, Gary Bettman, Obama, flood in Asia, etc.

Posted by: ranndino | April 17, 2009 11:52 PM | Report abuse

@ranndino: The only thing that concerns me is that I think assessments of Varlamov's performance are a bit unrealistic. He has been lucky as much as he's been good. People who think his performances have been flawless are seeing him through rose-colored glasses. Yes, he handles pressure well, but he's aggressive to the point of being wild and can be tricked out of the crease pretty easily. He can't afford that in the playoffs.

I don't hate him, but do we really want to have no recourse if he does have problems? If you pull Theo after one game, that's exactly where you'll be. You pull him and he's done.

At the same time, I don't like the odds of being down 0-2. So, start Theo on a short leash and pull him at the first sign of trouble. Play it like the game right before Christmas - seemed to work out well the last time.

Posted by: kittypawz | April 18, 2009 12:01 AM | Report abuse

I am sorry. Let me rephrase that. 6/8th of the season. Is that better for you?

Do you not get the point or what?

and BTW, "Finally, when it looked like Guguere was gonna play them right out of the playoff picture they finally gave Hiller the #1 job. The kid responded with getting them into the playoffs and now shutting the Sharks out in game 1."

is completely wrong. Do you want to go check the game logs and see who started predominately since late November? No of course you don't, because my facts are wrong.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 18, 2009 12:12 AM | Report abuse


I agree with you on Theodore. Start him but have him on a short lease. He's been known to bounce back from some pretty awful games. Benching him now would probably cause psychological damage.

On the one hand, I'd rather see Varlamov start in our building rather than in MSG but Theodore probably should start tomorrow.

Varlamov is a bit raw. Sometimes I wonder, what would have happened if the Caps had drafted Steve Mason. Odds are, he'd be in the same boat Varlamov is in now, up and down between here and Hershey and being the backup goal tender and we'd all be having the same debate about him as we currently are on Varly.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 18, 2009 12:16 AM | Report abuse

The way Yahoo sports displays there statistics are weird. They show me all game stats when I am just looking at one goalie. Him and Hiller battled all season, but it was pretty much easily decided earlier that Hiller was going to be #1. Giggy has stunk it up all season.

And like I said, my point still remains. Hiller is a 26 year old who played 40+ games this season. Varlamov is 20 years old and played 5.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 18, 2009 12:17 AM | Report abuse


Yes, the Flyers certainly shot themselves in the foot with those penalties. They are too philthy for their own good. (Can't help saying that for obvious reasons.)

They are in a big hole. I hope they can come back and make that series interesting for the Pens (and wear down both teams in the process)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 18, 2009 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Varlamov is a bit raw. Sometimes I wonder, what would have happened if the Caps had drafted Steve Mason. Odds are, he'd be in the same boat Varlamov is in now, up and down between here and Hershey and being the backup goal tender and we'd all be having the same debate about him as we currently are on Varly.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 18, 2009 12:16 AM |

If we saw Varlamov this season as much as these other rookies like Mason and Hiller and he performed well, then go ahead and put him in.

But he is 20 years old and has only played 5 nhl games. As someone as stated, goalies are very fragile. Highly touted goalies can get burned out too quickly, like pitchers and QBs. This is what I am worried about. Varlamov is the future, and I want him to develop properly to be our next franchise goalie.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 18, 2009 12:20 AM | Report abuse


The Blue Jackets were MUCH more desperate at goal tending than we were so they were forced to use Mason. They had both of their incumbent goal tenders out for a while. In our case, we had Theodore out with an injury short term and eventually had Johnson out for the long term so Varlamov didn't get a long run at goalie, unlike Mason.

We'll see how well Mason does in the long term.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 18, 2009 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Boudreau expects to play in Game 2

all i can say is that gabby's putting the foil on.

Posted by: am_jim | April 18, 2009 12:35 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I know. If Johnson was injured much earlier, then maybe we would have a big enough sample size to look at, like Mason. That is my point.

Mason is just another guy to receive his big break on injuries. Sort of like Alzner and his run earlier this season.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 18, 2009 12:35 AM | Report abuse

"It would be a stunner for Boudreau to pull Theodore after one narrow postseason loss. The 32-year-old goalie did not have the best of games Wednesday night when the Rangers won 4-3, but he played over the second half of the season as Washington secured the No. 2 seed in the playoffs."

Exactly. You do not dump your #1 after 1 game.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 18, 2009 12:37 AM | Report abuse


Comcast SportsNet ratings were through the roof for Game 1 of the playoffs last night, Capitals vs. Rangers.

The ratings averaged a 3.3 which is bigger than ESPN. That means about 77 thousand households were tuned into the game locally.

At one point during the night, the broadcast received a 4.6 rating which means more than 100 thousand households were tuned into the game.

I guess that means we have crossed the chasm and have casual fans now watching the games. And I don’t ever want to hear some no name broadcaster on ESPN say that there are at best 15 thousand hockey fans per market and then you build from there. We have better ratings than ESPN. Our ratings for the year were up 65 percent. No more teasing hockey fans that they are different ESPN and kudos to Comcast for doing such great production and promotional work on these broadcasts."

This was taken from Ted Leonsis's web site (

Anybody out there think his no name broadcaster comment could have possibly been a shot at 980 or PTI? I have heard TK make a similar comment (15K) through the years more times than I could possibly count. Go Ted!

Posted by: croftonpost | April 18, 2009 1:58 AM | Report abuse

@ the guys talking about Hiller & Giguere, Giguere's dad passed away towards the beginning of the season, about the time you see Hiller's GPs start to pick up. That's the primary reason Hiller has gotten so many games. Giguere left the team for a week (maybe two) to be with his family, then struggled when he came back, I think understandably.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 18, 2009 7:55 AM | Report abuse

@fehr the game tomorrow is in DC.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 17, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I know, I was thinking about the doomsday scenerio....if Theo looses today people will go nuts screaming for his head, and I think benching him would still be a bad idea. Thats all i was sayin.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | April 18, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

NHL on the fly is absolutely throwing Theo under the bus this morning. I dont remember his name, a former player/GM utterly blames Theo for the loss.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | April 18, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Ok. This is it. I've had enough. I've been "Nice" long enough. Actually, too long. It's time to speak my mind, and tell it like it REALLY is.
This hyper criticism ( After one stinkin' game ) of Theodore is making me nauseous. Really ill, to be honest about it. Talk about "Throwing someone under the bus." Well, this is truly a classic example of it. The truth of the matter is that Jose most definitely DID NOT PLAY POORLY. Not at all! Truth is, the forwards and defensemen left him out to dry time, after time, after stinkin' time. I'm completely mystified by what game all these Theodore assasins were looking at. It certainly wasn't the same game Puckguru witnessed. Every single goal N.Y. scored was from 15 feet or less. On two of them, the scorer walked in totally free, took his time, picked his spot, and scored. Yes, there's plenty of Caps to point the finger at, but Jose is certainly not one of them.
This whole mess has George McPhee's stench all over it. HE'S THE ONE orchestrating this "Public lynching" of Jose Theodore. To these keen eyes, that fact couldn't possibly be any clearer. Basically, what I'm accusing him of is making Theodore the sacrificial lamb, to divert attention ( Again) from his groos incompetence as a procurer of talent.
IT WAS HE who shamelessly proclaimed Jose to be Huet's "Equal." And, it was the ever blind, ever faithful typical Caps fan willing as usual to drink the Kool Aid. Just as it was the very same George McPhee who has convinced thew faithful that signing Sergei Fedorov was such a wonderful coup, that Sarge Schmidt would eventually be a serviceable NHL defensemen, that Victor Kozlov provided good "Balance" to OV's line, that Nylander was actually worth that ridiculous contract, that Pothier was anything better than your typical 5-6 D'man, and now, that Varly is actually ready to be an effective goalie in these highly pressurized playoff games. ALL HOGWASH!!
But, as always, George gets no serious scrutiny. And, even less criticism. As is always the case, GEORGE GETS A FREE PASS. And, THAT's THE CAPS' MOSAT GLARING WEAKNESS. Nobody's willing to stand up and speak the truth. It's as if gmgm has pictures on ALL OF YOU.
Quite frankly, the whole stinkin' thing is more than I can take. I'VE HAD ENOUGH! This is beyond insane!

Posted by: Puckguru | April 18, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Come on Caps! Let's tie up the series today!!!!!!

Posted by: rachel216 | April 18, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

wtf_e_fehr: Last night during the time between the 3rd period and OT, Brian Engblom said it was the defense, but Jose wasn't any better. About Schultz falling down, he said that just shouldn't happen.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 18, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Just came across this on TSN. I agree 100%. It's amazing to me how Theo lovers always blame the D after he stinks up the joint. What are our D supposed to do? Limit the other team to 10 shots from center ice?


Boudreau inadvertently gave more fodder to the Theodore-bashers Friday when asked about the play of his defencemen.

"We allowed 21 shots, eight scoring chances, no seconds shots," the coach said. "That's about as good as a team can do in the NHL. I thought we played as good as we can play, and we didn't come up with it."

Translation: The Capitals defence absorbed most of the Rangers' attack before it ever reached the goalie.

Posted by: ranndino | April 18, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Thew up in your mouth a little?!? I full on hurled.

Posted by: --Boo-- | April 18, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

After watching some of the other goalies step it up in the first round (Vancouver, Anaheim, San Jose, even the Rangers), the Caps troubles are pretty clear. I'd maybe start Theodore again but pull him if he doesn't start playing like a playoff goalie. Some of these other guys look like they are in a whole other league. Nothing weak is getting through any of them. That's what you need from your goalie at this stage.

Posted by: Stu_c | April 18, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse


You are on target for the most part. What you're failing to realize or at least point out is at the time of the Pothier, Poti, Kozlov and Nylander signings they were upgrades to our horrific team. We were in a rebuilding stage and this was GMGM's attempt at plugging in some holes. The only 1 of those signings that hurt us this year was the Nyls signing as he production vs. contract was grossly unbalanced. This team has certainly outgrown most of the acquisitions made but we can't have a roster full of Ovie's, Back's and Green's. Let's not forget that under GMGM this whole rebuild process probably took 3 years instead of 5-7. Not everybody can be as fortunate as Ken Holland and pick up a Datsyk and Zetterberg in the 5th and 6th rounds. I can't remember any time a GM has been able to pull that off. Regardless he's made some decisions that got us to where we're at which is a hell of a lot further along than we were 1 year ago and 2 years ago. Yes I would've rather had Huet signed as well but not that isn't looking so bad knowing that he's a backup and unfortunately The Odor was the next best option. Chances are if BJ hadn't gotten hurt he'd be in the nets right now and we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | April 18, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Stu C

You're right on with that one. D and goalie's have really stepped it up. Defenses have really clamped down as well. The Van/STL game last night was just another example. Before the playoffs I was thinking that Theo would have to play out of his mind (for him) in order for us to make it to the dance now I'm not so sure he's capable. Look it's no secret we have goalie issues. Ever since the announcement of the signing we knew it. From the 1st goal weak goal of the season against Chicago we knew it. We've just been able to overcome it for the most part with scoring. The game changes in the playoffs where defenses are more disciplined and goaltenders are more focused. If we don't get to that mindset and concentration we won't make it past the 2nd round. I still think we have enough to get by the Rangers.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | April 18, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Some guru doesnt like the job GMGM is doing. I think he has developed the team quite nicely. The D was not bad last game. The golatending was average, and you need better than average to win play-off games.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | April 18, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Don't forget...for all the talk about how great the Rangers D and Lunq were in Game 1, we still fired 35 shots on net and put 3 behind him. It easily could have been more. Theo needs to be a little better today, and yes, I will say it would help him if Schultz wasn't out there getting his ankles broke.

We need a statement today, from the win and our goalie in it.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | April 18, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I agree with us winning today and Theo having a decent game. One of the reasons will be that (I won't say his name) isn't in the lineup. Everybody wants to blame 1 or the other and the blame belongs on both. Theo should've made the save and at the same time should've had to make the save had anything but a pylon been defending the play. So you have a very motivated Ovie and that's typically enough to get the boys going. It'll be enough in this round, just don't know about any more. I'm not even panicked if we lose today. I'm P1ssed not panicked. Do I think we can win 4 in a row against these guys absolutely. If we wait until game 4 to turn it on though, we won't have that much time in the next round.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | April 18, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

i for one do not believe Schultz is injured.

Posted by: DER27 | April 18, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Wise, stick with basketball.

Posted by: MNMNT | April 18, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

All the pro/con arguments for a goalie switch is well taken, but seriously, it sounds as if most fans have already found a scapegoat if - and that is a big if, the way I see it - the Caps lose the series. I will reiterate: It is a team sport and no one player will lose or win the game.

I also don't buy into the argument that the goalie will lose confidence if he does not play or if "the team" loses the game. These guys, are young, professionals, competitive athletes, when they go into the ice they are only worrying about being the best they can be, winning, period, anyone who thinks otherwise have not been a dedicated athlete.

I also don't buy the argument that Varly is not ready to play, for the same reasons as above. The myth about the playoffs making players super humans with abilities and intensity that had not been shown in the regular season, well, is just that - a myth. I think Varly or Theo can handle it, and neither one of them is the sole reason for a Caps lose if it were to happen.

Having said that, I am not excusing the bad play that Theo had in the previous game, but I am also not overlooking all the bad plays done by the rest of the team - a fact that does not seem to compute on some of the fans here.

Posted by: opita1 | April 18, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I don't think he's hurt either but I know 1 thing, he isn't playing today and that's a good thing.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | April 18, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

@opita1: Sure. Nobody is perfect, and I think we as Caps fans are expecting them to be perfect. I've discovered that anytime you expect someone to be perfect, you're in for a huge disappointment. I only got to see the third frame, but from what I saw, Schultz missed on that one because he lost an edge and fell, and Theodore had a clean look and just plain whiffed. But, we can sit here casting blame and wailing all day long and what does it buy us? Heartburn.

Frankly, I think that a lot of us are getting far too freaked out over this. I like the way Fear the Fin put it about the Sharks: "Get a grip. It's called a seven-game series for a reason." Does it mean that we need to win today to have a real good chance at getting out of the first round? Sure. Is it over yet? Is it worth all the wailing and gnashing of teeth? No.

So, get a grip, go have a beer, take a deep breath, and get ready for game 2. The world is not ending, and even if we do lose the series, the sun will continue to rise in he east the next day. Have a little faith. Oh and, if you're going to the Phone Booth today, rock the red for me. I'm going to be sitting at a local wing joint hoping and praying my flight out tonight doesn't get snowed in and watching the Caps game.

Posted by: kittypawz | April 18, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Is there a Capitals Insider drinking game? If yes, "short leash" should earn a shot.

Posted by: honed | April 18, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Just wanted to say I really enjoy these video blog entries, and all of the recent coverage. I know things like this might be a little bit out of Tarik's wheelhouse, but lots of value here, and I hope they'll continue.

Posted by: jpbryant | April 18, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

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