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Posted at 2:39 PM ET, 02/14/2011

Boudreau on Varlamov, Neuvirth: 'They can be the tide-turners'

By Katie Carrera

It's no secret that the Capitals have been inconsistent this season. One thing that has been fairly constant throughout this yo-yo routine of win one game, lose the next, though, has been that -- when healthy -- both Michal Neuvirth and Semyon Varlamov have played well.

There have been few games in which the reason for a loss could be primarily attributed to either of the 22-year-old goaltenders. Each has strong outings to his credit recently, but often without the goal support from the rest of the team to complement it. After giving both Varlamov and Neuvirth starts at home last week, Coach Bruce Boudreau opted to go with the latter to kick off the important road trip tonight against Phoenix.

In two starts last week, Neuvirth made 56 saves that were dampened by a pair of late goals that fueled San Jose's 2-0 win on Feb. 8. While it's more than likely both Neuvirth and Varlamov will play during this five-game trip, if either is in net for a big win that could get things trending in the right direction for Washington, don't be surprised if Boudreau goes with that goaltender.

"There's no experiments or nothing going. We want to win," Boudreau said. "So whatever goalie we think is going to be capable of winning us the game is going to get the nod. Both have played great. Neuvy in the San Jose game, I think would like to have those two goals back late in the third period, but we were thinking that might have been the only two bad goals he's given up in an awful long time.

"Varly, you can't fault him on the L.A. goals," Boudreau continued, "and that's the first time he's given up four goals since the Rangers game when we lost 7-0" on Dec. 12.

It's hard to know what x-factor might help put the Capitals back on track, but Boudreau believes either goaltender has the potential to help get the ball rolling. It's just a matter of which one does it.

"They can be the tide-turners," Boudreau said. "Braden Holtby kept getting his starts because he had that great game in Toronto, and if these guys do that then they're going to keep getting the starts."

By Katie Carrera  | February 14, 2011; 2:39 PM ET
Categories:  Michal Neuvirth, Semyon Varlamov  
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Next: With 25 games left, Capitals keeping an eye on the standings

Comments

jeez so apparently varly can do no wrong in the eyes of BB, but neuvy isnt allowed to let any goals in

Posted by: _stevo | February 14, 2011 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Can Neuvy or Varly score a PP goal for us too?

Posted by: dml1077 | February 14, 2011 3:03 PM | Report abuse

@ _stevo

In fairness if Varly and Neuvy got even a little support infront of them things would be alot different.

Posted by: bqts | February 14, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

reposting:

fanohock1

I couldn't agree more with you on your take on Ovi. The "boozing" rumor is as offensive as it is utterly stupid. Ovi is a young man who lives with his parents, for crying out loud, in a modest apartment. He is clearly NOT a diva and cares about his team more than his own success. He is having a bad season but not for want of effort. He always throws himself into games giving 150%. The fact that all forwards are having problems scoring tells me that it is not due to any one individual's unwillingness or lack of skill. Something is happening here that has to do with the system and the general mindset of the players, whether it is loss of confidence in the system or what. You can see that the whole team looks like they don't know what role is expected of them. They are not on the same page; they can't even find what that page is. Unfortunately, much as I like BB, I would say that it is the coach' responsibility to bring individuals together into a team. But slandering dedicated players and attacking their character is not analysis or speculation. It is disrespectful, mean-spirited and pointless.

Posted by: caraveli | February 14, 2011 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Did anybody else hear the rumors about Ovie being out late drinking before the Afternoon game against the Kings?

Posted by: CheyenneWY | February 14, 2011 3:16 PM | Report abuse

@caraveli

How is saying a person goes out and has some drinks at night slandering him?? If that is the case 90% of the world would be slandered against.

I dont understand why people care if Ovi or any other player goes out and have some drinks. Dont know why people get mad and dont know why people think its not true. They are human beings, not machines, they do what most people in there early to mid 20s do.

On 24/7 it showed almost the whole team having beers at dinner the night before the Winter Classic. No one brought it up then. Who cares.

Posted by: ThePat | February 14, 2011 3:16 PM | Report abuse

@ Caraveli

So in your eyes poeple should suck it up and continue to pay for their season tickets and keep their thoughts to them selves ?????

Are you for real? If you went into a car dealership bought a car and transmission dropped out of it, would you then keep your mouth shut???? Everyone knows OV is the driving force on this team and bad season or not I for one have not seen this 150% effort yet this year.

Posted by: bqts | February 14, 2011 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Caraveli
OV lives in a modest apartment?? you are so wrong (I know that for a fact.) as for the rest of your post, i will be the first to say disagree.

Posted by: doughless | February 14, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

@caravelli -You're forgetting a simple letter that sets Ovie apart from everyone else on the team. "C"

Yup, he's the captain. He's not acting like it and like bqts said, i have yet to see teh 150% effort that you mention.

Are you sure you're not watching last years games?

And if I'm paying good money to see them play, I at least want an effort. Some effort.

Posted by: jwash4472 | February 14, 2011 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I dont think I ever rremember seeing ovie fall down as much as he seems to be lately. He is definitely a bit heavier, but hard to say if he has put on muscle.

Cant argue with the fact that he is not getting it done. When you are to the point where they are having players only meetings, he should be at every morning skate. I will bet money Ovie isnt even the one that called the meeting.

Posted by: CheyenneWY | February 14, 2011 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I dont think I ever rremember seeing ovie fall down as much as he seems to be lately. He is definitely a bit heavier, but hard to say if he has put on muscle.

Cant argue with the fact that he is not getting it done. When you are to the point where they are having players only meetings, he should be at every morning skate. I will bet money Ovie isnt even the one that called the meeting.

Posted by: CheyenneWY | February 14, 2011 3:33 PM | Report abuse

How come the crap in front of them keep getting the starts?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 14, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

One of the players that currently sees himself as 'untouchable' needs to be traded to wake up the other players.

It may not be a simple thing to effectuate, ie a trade for a high profile player, but it seems relatively simple to deduce from an uninspired locker room that a boot in the pants is the only thing that is going to work.

The coaching staff and GM have tried to rattle these players verbally during the season but not one of them has been moved by their words because NOBODY thinks there is anything meaningful behind them.

Ovechkin, Backstrom, Semin, Green, etc. all have reached a level of comfortability where they don't think there are any dire consequences to not performing other than a curse word or two from Boudreau.

McPhee needs to step up here and show the locker room that there are indeed consequences to not playing up to one's contract.

These guys are ALL well paid now. These guys in question aren't working on rookie deals or two-way contracts.

With big money comes the responsibility to lead and be consistent.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 |

Agreed, well said. Bye-bye Semin. Should have been bye-bye over the summer after his Springtime no-show.

You want to see change? Trade Ovy's wingman.

He doesn't have a NMC. Now, he's extended. If he wants to get paid, he needs to go somewhere else and play. He's got tremendous value with so many teams trying to get in the playoffs.

I will say it in the simpliest terms I can. GEORGE MCPHEE, IF YOU DO NOT TRADE ALEX SEMIN, YOU ARE A STUPID, STUPID MAN.

Posted by: underpants2 | February 14, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Much as I love the guy and respect his talent, I'd have to call out N. Backstrom as well for inconsistent effort during this season.

#55 is also having his share of issues, but it fails to get mentioned.

I've already said it before, but BB is much more "warm" toward Varly than Neuvirth, regardless of play. I'm not sure that it's the best way to manage, but he seems to give Varly the benefit of the doubt more than Neuvy.

Also, Semin looks better last game than he did in his first game back -- when I think his line was absolutely terrible.

M. Perreault is another issue - he's too darned small to stay upright! I think he's talented, but he spends most of his ice time getting knocked down.

Posted by: TurbineBlade1 | February 14, 2011 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I see dumb people.......everywhere.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | February 14, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

SAOTI,
Funny and true... Haha

Posted by: _Mark | February 14, 2011 3:50 PM | Report abuse

People talking about Ovechkin's partying before games, show me some links, and not the Sports Bog piece from September. Show me pictures of him at a bar at 1AM like what surfaced with Haynesworth. Otherwise you're all full of crap.

As for the team, they need a kick in the butt. Maybe it'll come from a late season coaching change. Maybe it'll come from a trade. Maybe it'll come from the players only meeting.

Re: Semin. I'm not opposed to trading him for the right pieces if it can be done. For everyone ragging on him, why do you think an actual professional would take him if he's the player you say he is? Given the right team, a player like Semin can contribute. Kovalev won the Cup with the Rangers.

Probably late bu re: Fisher, he chose Nashville, while Carolina made a better offer. Check out today's Elliotte Friedman's column/30 thoughts, not that I'd expect most posters here to know what that is.

Posted by: GFisher1 | February 14, 2011 3:50 PM | Report abuse

@ Thepat - agree 100% - does anyone honestly think the caps somehow were 'motivated' last season when they won the presidents cup, and this year are a bunch of 'unmotivated' players? Wake up. it's the stupid system BB/GMGM brought in based on the panic after the Mntl loss. IT's no co-incidence that the entire first line, and PP are slumping - they are hesitant, and thinking too much - and aren't buying into the dump and chase style. that's how i see it.

Posted by: gs12 | February 14, 2011 3:55 PM | Report abuse

FYI

Regarding the players only meeting, Mike Vogel on the precap today said 2 of those meetings have been held in the last month. Both times they have been called by Scott Hannan.

Kind of shocked that it was him, but good for him. The new guy doesnt like wants going on on the ice or in the room.

Posted by: ThePat | February 14, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone else hope the Kings would tack on a 4th goal on that 2 on 1? Their strategy of trying to sit on a 1-0 lead for 59 minutes had blown up spectacularly and I wanted them all humiliated.

Posted by: cao091402 | February 14, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

This guys lost faith in BB after the most humiliating defeat in history of NHL losing to 19th team in the league.

Posted by: Randolph2 | February 14, 2011 4:13 PM | Report abuse

This guys lost faith in BB after the most humiliating defeat in history of NHL losing to 19th team in the league.

Posted by: Randolph2 | February 14, 2011 4:13 PM | Report abuse

OVI does not live in a modest apartment. He lives in a posh townhouse in Arlington. Regardless he makes with endorements probably 20 million a year and frankly I could care less if he parties or lives in a nice place. He deserves to have a good time and live in a nice place. However he should be 100% before game night and not out enjoying the drink. I think OVI is a little goofy but he seems to be a good guy. I question his work ethic. Lets be honest if all of us had the things OVI had we would be going out and having fun as well. Especially if we were 25 years old and had a large money supply. Most professional atheletes do this.

Posted by: pkme | February 14, 2011 7:41 PM | Report abuse

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