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Neuvirth: 'I have the best chance to win the Stanley Cup here'

Morning Roundup

About to enter the final year of his entry-level contract, Michal Neuvirth said he is glad to have an extension that will keep him in Washington for two more years beginning in 2011-12 already in place. He will earn $1.15 million each year of the new deal.

"When I found out I got the offer it meant a lot to me," Neuvirth said this morning when asked his reaction to knowing the Capitals want him in the mix beyond this year. "It took me about a month to get the deal done and I'm glad that's over, I can put that behind me and just focus on hockey now."

Neuvirth, who will earn $765,000 this season, said after weighing his options when he was originally presented with the extension about a month ago, he decided it was a good idea to ensure his future with the Capitals.

"I was thinking what to do for a bit," he said. "But me, my agent and my family decided it'd be nice to sign for another two years with Washington. There are great and high expectations here. Their goal is to win the Stanley Cup and that is my goal. I feel like I have the best chance to win the Stanley Cup here, that's why I took the deal."

Here's what Coach Bruce Boudreau had to say about whether the extension might take some of the non-hockey pressure off Neuvirth: "There's always pressure because he's young enough he's going to want another contract, but if anything [the new deal] gives him the peace of mind of knowing the faith that we have in him and he can focus on being a great goaltender like we know he is."

Mathieu Perreault isn't wasting a moment to impress in his quest to make the Capitals' opening-night roster.

Dan Steinberg talks to Gare Joyce, co-author of "The Ovechkin Project".

And if you missed it yesterday, defenseman Tom Poti signed a two-year extension with the Capitals.

Scott Burnside paid a visit to Arlington and in addition to taking a look at the future potential of Michal Neuvirth, he suggests that maybe it's time to cut Alex Ovechkin some slack.

Corey Masisak takes a look at whether Tomas Fleischmann, who is being given the "inside track" by Bruce Boudreau for the second-line center spot, can fill the role.

By Katie Carrera  | September 22, 2010; 11:37 AM ET
Categories:  Michal Neuvirth, Morning Roundup  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Michal Neuvirth signs two-year extension
Next: Lineups for preseason opener in Columbus


It seems unlikely that Washington will be able to advance in the postseason through several rounds to a championship with such youth in goal and on the blueline.

There is no doubt the talent is there to do the job. But the maturity level of guys like Neuvirth, Alzner, Carlson, Varlamov, etc. may just not be there without an injection of veteran leadership.

People point to the Penguins winning in 2009 with Crosby, Malkin and Staal. But the fact remains that club had veterans like Hal Gill, Rob Scuderi, Sergei Gonchar, Bill Guerin, Fedotenko and others to help lead the way.

Washington has Mike Knuble. But he is really the only player on the team who has tasted success in the postseason.

Most of the other players are either career long Capitals or are vets like Tom Poti or Jason Chimera who have been on losing clubs most recently before joining Washington.

If this team hopes to advance in the postseason, I see the need for at least 1 if not 2 trades by the deadline.

IMO the team will be in the market for a veteran defenseman who can be an anchor on the PK.

And the club will most likely need a consistent face-off and assist leader as the second line center.

Perrault and Johansson to me are not the answer. Johansson may be the answer in the future but not right away.

He is not Nicklas Backstrom and nothing is more annoying than having fans recite the 'Backstrom was in the NHL at 19' argument to shake their bobble heads up and down confirming that ALL the Caps' young talent can come in at that age and be ready to be regular contributors in the NHL.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | September 22, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

-- nothing is more annoying than having fans recite the 'Backstrom was in the NHL at 19' argument to shake their bobble heads up and down confirming that ALL the Caps' young talent can come in at that age and be ready to be regular contributors in the NHL.--

i concur. Very annoying!

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 22, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I have noticed a lot of posts regarding who will be the better goalie. I don't think that we will know that for most if not all season. I agree that Varly is a better athlete and Neuvy is technically sound....but goalies take time to mature and my gut feeling is that Varly will learn at a faster pace making him the better long term goalie if he stays health.

Posted by: Caps4Life1 | September 22, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Whose Career is this?

99 Oilers - Lost in 1st Round
00 Oilers - Lost in 1st Round
01 Oilers - Lost in 1st Round
02 Oilers - No Playoffs (Traded to Rangers)
02 Rangers - No Playoffs (Acq. from EDM)
03 Rangers - No Playoffs
04 Rangers - No Playoffs
05 Lockout
06 Rangers - Lost in 1st Round
07 Islanders - Lost in 1st Round
08 Capitals - Lost in 1st Round
09 Capitals - Lost in 2ND Round
10 Capitals - Lost in 1st Round

Posted by: underpants2 | September 22, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Interesting post, Caps4Life1.

Here is what you basically said:

A. It's too early to predict who will be a better goalie.

B. I think Varlamov will be a better goalie.

Posted by: tmac2yao | September 22, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Varly, even though very young, has a lot of playoff experience. 19 games and three game 7s. So I'm not too worried about the lack of experience by the goalies. Especially considering Halak, Niemi, and Leighton were three of the final four goalies last year.

All that matters is if they can play or not. Only time will tell.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 22, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

@ sgm3

Not a good comparison. Halak, Niemi, and Leighton played behind much better defenses than the Caps. Varly/Neuvy success depends heavily on the play of two rookies and two guys still finding their games.

Posted by: ablake70 | September 22, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who thinks Johansson is going to ever be as good as Backstrom is dreaming. Backstrom is without a doubt a phenom. The kid just gets better every year. To be honest, for the Capitals, it would be much better for him to pan out to be considered a 2nd line center at best. Of course in DC he will never be considered 1st line if Backstrom keeps performing at the level he does now, what I mean is, considered a 2nd line center regardless of Backstrom's presence. If he could be had for 3-4 mil a year as a bonafide 2nd line center we could afford to keep him. If he ends up being as good as Backstrom, he will cost as much as Backstrom.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 22, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse


I agree that those goalies had much defenses but I don't see why that has any impact on a goalies ability to withstand the pressure of the playoffs?

My comment was only about a young goalies ability to withstand the pressure of the playoffs. I was pointing to guys with little to no playoff experience performing well in the playoffs and not faltering under the pressure. I think that comparision is apt.

Also, Halak in each of his series' against the Caps and Pens faced more rubber than Varly ever faced in a playoff series and more than any Caps goalie will face in this years playoffs.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 22, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Mathieu Perreault looks like he will be a good center in the NHL, and the knocks about him being undersized don't take away from his skills. Look at St. Louis. However, the Caps need a two-way grit center and they don't have one on the roster. Rrediction: an early out again this year. But that's okay with the CAPS management. See, this team is built "to compete every year for the cup", not to win it.

Posted by: festus75 | September 22, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Saw Neuvirth walking down Wilson Blvd. yesterday with a Subway sandwich bag in hand. My brain froze when I tried to assign a name to his face, so I just nodded and said "hello," thinking it would be rude to ask why Varly (whose name I was able to remember) wasn't joining him for lunch. With new contract, maybe Neuvy can spice up his lunch options in Ballston.

Posted by: HonestBroker1 | September 22, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Bad stats, for him, but I bet there are a lot more players in the NHL that are comparable. Then again the fact that he is our veteran blue liner.....

Posted by: seraphina21 | September 23, 2010 8:08 AM | Report abuse

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