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More on the battle in goal between Semyon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth

Morning Roundup

While there will be several positional battles that play out over the course of the next three weeks before the Capitals' season opener against Atlanta on Oct. 8, perhaps none will extend beyond these training camp days quite like the one in goal. After Semyon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth spent the past two seasons maturing in the organization, it's time for them to prove they are capable of being the team's workhorse goaltender.

I wrote about the opportunity each enters training camp hoping to seize for Saturday's paper, but here are some extras that didn't make it in to the hard copy edition.

One of the key differences between the pair of goalies has been their trajectory over the past two years. But there's little reason to think that Neuvirth's position as the top netminder in Hershey during back-to-back Calder Cup winning seasons puts him at a disadvantage. While being sent down at the start of last season was tough for Neuvirth, he reacted as well as he possibly could.

"I just told myself, 'OK, I can do something special here.'" Neuvirth said. "Winning the Calder Cup twice in a row isn't easy, but that was my goal and I did it....I had great times in Hershey; it was good for me, but I want to put that behind me now."

He might not be the flashiest of goaltenders, but his calmness is an asset at such a young age, according to goaltending coach Arturs Irbe.

"I consider him beyond his years in understanding how the game is supposed to be played from our position," Irbe said. "It's pretty interesting, pretty unique style for a young guy. Playing that way, he's always in position, he never sets himself up to fail and I think he knows what he needs to do to use that to his advantage."

Then there's Varlamov, who was resolutely determined to be in the best shape possible after nagging groin and knee injuries limited how many games he played last year. He arrived in Washington in early August to train with Capitals strength and conditioning coach Mark Nemish.

"I started training at the beginning of July," Varlamov said with Irbe serving as a translator. "I changed up my approach to come back here because it's much easier to be under [Nemish's] control and watching eye. I made the decision to be as well prepared as possible for when hockey starts."

Although training camp marks the start of this competition, it will likely stretch through the season depending on who's healthy, who's succeeding and who can prove consistently that he is truly ready to take this next step.

FROM THE POST
Training camp marks the beginning of what could be a season-long competition between Michal Neuvirth and Semyon Varlamov to become the Capitals' No. 1 netminder.

What is fall without a new slate of Bruce Boudreau commercials? This one's for Hadeed Carpet. (D.C. Sports Bog via RMNB)

AROUND THE WEB
More from the Capitals on the Eric Belanger situation.

Two more Caps players have joined the Twitterverse: @karlalzner and johncarlson74.

Corey Masisak details his top story lines to watch during training camp.

NHL.com's Dan Rosen has several items of note: a Q&A with George McPhee, a story on Marcus Johansson and the team's defiant attitude heading into this season.

By Katie Carrera  |  September 18, 2010; 7:04 AM ET
Categories:  Michal Neuvirth , Morning Roundup , Semyon Varlamov  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Capitals release updated training camp roster
Next: Training camp officially under way

Comments

Numerous posters are still crying for answers regarding the EB situation. I garrantee that if this had been the Redskins the Post writers would know what tires the moving trucks had. Hockey does not rank high on their list of priorities.

Posted by: nimrodrsp | September 18, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

cstanton1: YES, I am a long time Capitals fan and besides Cassidy, Hanlon is the 2nd worst coach this organization has ever had. Although Cassidy made it to the playoffs I consider Hanlon a better coach so your black and white wins and losses argument is out the window. BB's ability to take the SAME EXACT team Hanlon had in the basement and literally turn them into a dangerous team (the team management expected from game 1) is clear cut proof that Hanlon was NOT a good coach.

I just find it rediculous, and even offensive as a Caps fan, that you are sitting back and hoping for failure so you can be right. Denying you are like that is a flat out lie. You can't wait to see how King is used. What the heck is that supposed to mean? King will just take care of the that Bradley tried to do. That WAS Bradley's role which is why he took so many beatings. With King here Bradley now knows he doesn't have to try to settle everything. Bradley won't admit it but I sure he is relieved.

I will touch on the coaching one more time so you are clear, HANLON WAS A HORRIBLE COACH. For you to keep trying to give him kudos is stupid. He did have guys playing gritty, players who didn't need to play gritty all the time because they were skilled. Once BB had those same players play hockey instead of running around like Bruess did this week they started winning. You man crushes on grit guys is goofy. Yes, grit guys are big contributors to championships and make the difference. Here's another difference though. A team loaded with skilled players may not win a championship but they almost always at least qualify for the playoffs. You take a team loaded with Matt Cooke's and Matt Bradley's and they will get you a high draft pick every year. But if you are GM of that team they will continue to suck because you would select a gritty guy #1 overall instead of the "no brainer" pick.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 18, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

One last thing, you CONSTANTLY talk about how that regular season success doesn't matter. You do say that it matters because you have to play good enough to qualify for the playoffs, but beyond that whether a team is 8th or 1st doesn't matter to you. So, I have to ask, if that doesn't matter why are you on this board the day after a loss tearing apart every aspect of the game. If 1st or 8th doesn't matter why does a regular season game matter so much to you? Have a nice day.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 18, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

There's a difference between being defiant and being delusional and in denial. This is what happens when you believe your own hype for so long. Whatever went wrong couldn't possible be their fault.

Posted by: Fletch22 | September 18, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

The ONLY numbers that should matter to this team going into the season is 13-15 & 1-3.

As in 13 wins and 15 losses, 1 series win and 3 series losses in the PLAYOFFS since BB's been here. That ought to put them in their proper place when they start to feel better about themselves in the regular season.

Posted by: joek443 | September 18, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

as far as the subject of this thread, it's good to see Varly put more emphasis on conditioning. If he's healthy, I expect to see him get at least 50 starts.

Posted by: joek443 | September 18, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

@joek443

agreed on Var-LA-mov: his working out should put him ahead of Neuvirth who (understandably) took time off after Hershey wound up playing almost into July and having to hitchhike to games in Texas and all.

It looks like Flash at 2C with a possible move to Maca later on. That 14 game winning streak was fueled in large part by the Laich-Flash-Semin line, perhaps they recapture the magic and improve on it. The whole thing fell apart after the Olympics, which, truth be told, seemed to be the point at which the Caps unraveled.

Posted by: RedLitYogi | September 18, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

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