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Practice Update: Varlamov Gets the Day Off

Tarik reports from a low-key, optional practice this afternoon at Madison Square Garden that the Caps are still on a high after last night's stunning 4-0 victory in hostile territory. (And for more on the atmosphere last night, check out Dan Steinberg's take.)

Everyone's talking about Simeon Varlamov, the 20-year-old rookie goaltender who was easily the story of Game 3. Varlamov was given the day off to rest and recharge for Game 4 tomorrow night.

As for practice, Mike Green was the only big-minute Cap to skate, joining third- and fourth-line players and injured goalie Brent Johnson.

Tarik will have a video update soon and a story on -- who else? -- Varlamov for tomorrow's paper.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 21, 2009; 1:21 PM ET
 
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Next: Video: All About Varlamov

Comments

FIRSTTTT...Davayte mujiki!! Vpered!!
pishet uzbek s yaponii kotoiry po internetu smotrit kajduyu vashu igru!

Posted by: shaqdigga | April 21, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

little varly is gonna curl up with some warm milk and dream about his next big hockey adventure

Posted by: trunkenmath | April 21, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Privet uzbeku s yaponii ot ukrainca v new yorke, kotoryj zavtra pojdjot bolet' za Caps na vrazheskoj territorii!

Posted by: VladG | April 21, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Do a smear story on Shawn "The Human Liability," Avery.

Posted by: SA-Town | April 21, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Good, Green needs the practice. He's been horrible in this series. Very lazy and turning the puck over way too much.

Posted by: dsphvywght | April 21, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Greg S -- yes the bottles after OT game 7 last year were due to questionable calls, but I do blame the fans for throwing them. It was classless and it should not happen. Worse, it made it harder for the fans to give a final cheer to a team that had given us an incredible amount of entertainment leading up to and including the playoffs. Ovi had to dodge the debris after coming out to give some applause to the fans.

The booing during game 2 was lame. Then some idiot in 104 threw a bottle on the ice at the end.

We're better than that.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 21, 2009 1:35 PM

Posted by: Sonyask | April 21, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

yuponi, wow! prevet uzbek u ukrainc, eta lattish is washingtona... butu na igre pyetnitsoo v krasnom!!!! :)

Posted by: alagarts | April 21, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Semyon.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 21, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Привет узбеку. Так держать.

Greenie is not himself this series. I have a feeling that he's having some carefully hidden scratch that BB etc are trying to hide from the Rags. Does anyone remember any of his recent injuries?

Posted by: fnralch | April 21, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Forsberg, oh Backstrom, was featured on NHL.com LIVE today.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 21, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Good, Green needs the practice. He's been horrible in this series. Very lazy and turning the puck over way too much.

Posted by: dsphvywght


hey dsphvywght

just so you know; you have expressed a doubting opinion regarding a Caps player. Ranndino the Great will be along shortly to call you an idiot and correct your statement.

you have been warned.

Posted by: doughless | April 21, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

please, please, please get another sports columnist to write about the caps other than mike wise. he just doesn't seem in tune with the caps - or their fans - the way tarik or dan are. he feels like a real outsider to the sport. true or not, thats the impression a lot of us get. we do not like.

Posted by: whateva1 | April 21, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Looking back at the previous post, I apologize to all that had to read the trivial back and forth on a day we should all be happy.

richmondphil, in the end, I really don't care about Boston or their fans so whatever you say is fine with me. I give.

I blame Wise.

Posted by: Moose33 | April 21, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

@Ranndino - from previous post "You must be joking. Varlamov's rebound control is actually one of his obvious strengths and it's light years ahead of Theodore's. Varly either doesn't give up rebounds at all (eats pucks up) or kicks them really far and past shooters who are trying to get rebounds, often to the boards. You probably think that kicking rebounds out far is bad rebound control, which shows how much your know about the game."

I really don't know why you have to be such a jerk (if this weren't a family blog I'd use another term) about everything - I'm guessing you're just insecure.

I know about rebound control and kicking puck to the corners - the one I was specifically thinking about was the first hard ranger shot - hit him and dropped a few feet to his right in front of the goal - but because of his athleticism he was able to make the save on the second shot. There were also a few others where he made initial save and puck ended up in scrum in front, and was cleaned up by D. I agree his rebound control has been better than jt60.

Stop sounding like a know-it-all twit.

Posted by: hook99 | April 21, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Agreed on Wise. His columns feel like he is trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Unfortunately, I do not think the Post has anyone to write about hockey other than Boswell, who is not much better than Wise. Perhaps it's time to give La Canfora a column for the NHL playoffs?

Posted by: HeShootsHeScores | April 21, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

I don't agree that it was "stunning" victory. I think the "D" has been exceptional this whole serie, we just happened to be on the short end of the stick the first two games.

Should be a great game on Wed. Rock the MSG in RED

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | April 21, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Hey Tarik - what is the procedure for suspensions in the playoffs?

Do the Capitals need to 'request' that the league review the Sean Avery sucker-punch or would the NHL do that on its own?

And are either of those things happening?

Thanks..

Oneal

Posted by: TheRealOneal | April 21, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Apparently, Green has had some personal issues lingering about. Psycho ex-gf stuff, if you believe the word on the street. STHs next to me at Game 2 said cops were called to his place last Thursday morning at 6am. I'd like to think he'd be able to put that stuff behind him two or four days later, but he has looked terrible.

Posted by: Zornado | April 21, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

doughless:
from two posts ago-
it's rantdino. he is the self anointed hockey expert here. calling you out as a being biased against euros didn't make much sense to me as i didn't get that from your comments at all. i didn't think erskine was the best player on the ice for the caps, even though he probably had his best game of the year. i thought semin had the most impact because of his two early goals, which i think prevented ny from effectively trying to match their D against our top two lines.
i was also one who thought theo should get the nod for games two - good thing i don't have any input there. varly was outstanding, but i also believe the D (forwards included) tightened up to help him out. the team as a whole has shown (with neuvirth as well) that they play a much better game (and usually the full 60) with the young guys in net. hoping the caps play another full 60 tomorrow and come back home 2-2

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 21, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

S/he, along with TONS of other posters, were right in saying Varlamov should be in net. Great job. You guessed what BB was going to do.

As I said, the points not wanting Varlamov in net are perfectly valid. Rookies can be ruined and we alienated Theo. Fortunately for us, Varlamov has performed so they are moot. That really does not change the past of rookies getting ruined because of too much pressure early on or #1's being alienated from their team.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 21, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Привет узбеку, укаринцу и латышу от американца, кто жил год в Москве и 3 года в Украине! Давай давай Кэпс!!! За победу! За НАШУ победу!

Posted by: BigRed8 | April 21, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

i would LOVE to read a hockey column by La Canfora. anythign but another Wise column...

Posted by: whateva1 | April 21, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Knowledge via my Rangers friend:
"Rumor has it Drury's injury is a fractured bone in his hand. It makes sense because he can't take faceoffs, plays with one hand, and can't make a pass. I think Torts should consider calling up Anisimov or someone and sitting Drury."

Posted by: richmondphil | April 21, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

The replay of the Bruins-Habs game is on NHL Network. Man, those Habs fans are brutal! They're crazy and the game hasn't even started yet.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | April 21, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

@Zornado

If that is true, that is really bad. No sleepovers during the playoffs. No way! Fighters dump their gf's for long times before fights. GF + drama = very poor performance. Someone, play Greenie some Simon and Garfunkel --

Just slip out the back, Jack, make a new plan, Stan
Don't need to be coy, Roy, just listen to me
Hop on the bus, Gus, don't need to discuss much
Just drop off the key, Lee, and get yourself free

Posted by: washingtonpost31 | April 21, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Apparently, Green has had some personal issues lingering about. Psycho ex-gf stuff, if you believe the word on the street. STHs next to me at Game 2 said cops were called to his place last Thursday morning at 6am. I'd like to think he'd be able to put that stuff behind him two or four days later, but he has looked terrible.

Posted by: Zornado | April 21, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

very interesting. And here I was going to suggest the problem was maybe an injury from that late season game against Tampa (?) when he got dragged down and left the game a few minutes early, obviously hurting.

Crazy stalkers and cops being called at 6 am can be enough to throw anyone off. While he may not be thinkjing about it during the game, its probably on his mind the rest of the time, meaning he's not as focused, probably not sleeping well, overly stressed, etc.

Posted by: RedBirdie | April 21, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I threw out last night that Green has looked, and played, poorly in the series. I don't know if there's some lingering injury or if he picked up something in Game 1, but it seems completely out of character for him. Being that he's the only big gun to skate I think I've convinced myself that he's testing out whatever might be ailing him. I don't think a practice at this point in the season is going to help him if he isn't already there, right? And with no one else out there, what would he be practicing?

I hope he okay.

Posted by: saintex | April 21, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Apparently, Green has had some personal issues lingering about. Psycho ex-gf stuff, if you believe the word on the street. STHs next to me at Game 2 said cops were called to his place last Thursday morning at 6am. I'd like to think he'd be able to put that stuff behind him two or four days later, but he has looked terrible.

Posted by: Zornado | April 21, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

wow, thats tough stuff if true. i mean, how is a young, rich athlete w/ a green lambo going to find companionship in the big city?

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | April 21, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Capt Kirk-

RanTdino, INDEED!!!!

Posted by: doughless | April 21, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

i wonder whats worse ...
crazy/psycho ex gf or OV driving a speeding cart towards a closing door and almost getting decapitated


Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 21, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Mike Green has the huge bags under his eyes. The guy seriously is lacking some sleep.

I hope he rests and gets back to normal.

Posted by: iastdon | April 21, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

It looks like the Ovie vs. Cindy argument has been settled in favor of Ovie at the Rags' blog. Even our rivals prefer him to Cindy--whether they like him or not:

"...he still better than whining sidney and slew foot malkin, but i've definitely taken him off the pedestal..."

"...Forgive me for being naive, but I don't understand the big fuss about Ovie's celebrations. No, he's not my favorite player, that being said, I saw the 'hot stick' thing, and I thought it was funny..."

"...Anything is better than Cindy; he could replace ipecac."

Actually, they are a fairly polite bunch relatively speaking. No trash talk against us in today's blog anyway.


Posted by: caraveli | April 21, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Only one person, Dan Rosen in his recap on NHL's site, mentioned what I thought was the greatest significance of Varly's performance last night. He said:
"The New York Rangers still have an All-Star in goal, but after the last 120 minutes of hockey played in this best-of-7 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal round series, it's safe to say they no longer have the edge over the Washington Capitals.
Simeon Varlamov is his name and at least in the last two games this 20-year-old Russian rookie goalie has done everything possible to even up the goaltending, an area in which the Rangers certainly thought they had an advantage heading into the series and definitely did after Game 1."
This is HUGE--both psychologically and actually. Can you imagine? Goaltending was the one advantage they held over us.
Another thing is the team's morale. I think that with more confidence in the goaltending, they were able to bring out their offensive advantage over the Rags. I guess we can never know for sure, but do you think that if Theo was in goal the team would have performed as well as they did? How big of a factor do you think Varly's presence was (directly and indirectly) in the team's aggressive and determined attitude?

I am reposting this because I am curious to know what others think about this question.

Posted by: caraveli | April 21, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Man, are you people getting all bent out of shape over nothing.

I hope Green's okay too. Hell, I hope they're all okay. We need a stellar game 4 and we need to come away with the win again. Forget last night. It's a new day and a new game, and that's where our minds need to be. What do we need to do to keep that going? The Rangers got cocky, loosened up, and the Caps jumped their s*** (to borrow a turn of phrase). Bet that it won't happen again, and bet that Torts is going to pour a few words into Avery's shell-like ear before Wednesday. Granted that he's made a friend in JE4, but that's not going to stop him going after Varly again.

I'm torn on whether to suspend him for that or not. I say not - if JE4's busy hanging curtains inside Sean Avery's head, then SA16 could be a very useful distraction for the Caps (and had better become good friends with the official in the home sin bin). But ... somehow I have to think that Torts isn't going to let that sort of nonsense continue.

Posted by: kittypawz | April 21, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

No shockers that the practice was lightly attended, but you would think Theo might come and face some shots and try to stay sharp. Guess he's not taking his new #1 goalie status well.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | April 21, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

@caraveli: Not a bad thought. Certainly the Russians are more comfortable in front of Varly. The rest of them might be following suit. Ultimately, only they know what they're thinking, so I wouldn't hang my hat on either side of that question. All that matters is the final score.

Posted by: kittypawz | April 21, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

@caraveli- I completely agree with you, 1 goal in 2 games has got to get in their heads, not to mention the rest of the league should we advance.

Posted by: doncosmic | April 21, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Man - after seeing Greenie's crib on commiecast, I would have thought he'd have a alarm system with 'silencer'.

Oh well, never thought the strippers he hangs out with are that 'freaky'.

Posted by: Rocc00 | April 21, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm a little concerned about the practice being lightly attended, just because Game 4 is just as important as Game 3 and the Rags won't be caught napping this time. We've won the first, but we're not there yet and this is not the time to get cocky.

Posted by: kittypawz | April 21, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

@kittypawz

Not concerned. Feds and Kozzy need more rest, Ovi+Backs+Semin played their guts out (not that the others didn't, of course but still...) and looked comfortable. It's really up to the 3rd and 4th lines to catch up.

Sean Leahy on Yahoo calls Avery "non-lobotomized." Quite a succinct description.

Posted by: fnralch | April 21, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Man - after seeing Greenie's crib on commiecast, I would have thought he'd have a alarm system with 'silencer'.

Oh well, never thought the strippers he hangs out with are that 'freaky'.

Posted by: Rocc00 | April 21, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

who in their right mind would ever let a stipper know where they live - this is even more important when you make ~5mil a year. greenie, let me help:

stripper (alexis/crystal/bambi etc): would you like some company, a dance perhaps?
greenie: no thank you, i'm just here to enjoy my $12 beer (2 minimum)
stripper: are you sure? how about your friends here with you?
greenie: yes, i'm sure. they would very much like your company - have a seat!

oh well - i guess i wouldn't be much help at all

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 21, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

IIRC, practices have been optional since the two-day break between games 1 and 2, and most have been sparsely attended. Playoff games are draining - mentally and physically. Let 'em rest.

Posted by: ModestProposal | April 21, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Man, the dialogue over at Steinberg's piece is comedy gold. Here's my two cents on fans. New York has had a hockey team for 83 years. D.C. has had the Caps for 35 years. The greater NYC area has a population base about four times the size of D.C. Washington D.C. is a pretty transitory area with government jobs, turnover, etc.

I'd fare to say that the number of hardcore, dedicated Caps fans is on par with NYRs fans if you take % of the population or a % of the fans in the stadium. I'd imagine that MSG is similar to Verizon in that it appears - appears - that the strongest fanbase are in the upper because that's all we can really afford. I'd bet the % of fans that cycle through loving both teams - those dubbed bandwagoners - is probably exactly the same.

What does it mean? Who cares about fans, bandwagons, hardcore, numbers, etc. Same, same.

I'm done.

Posted by: saintex | April 21, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

kittypawz, doncosmic:

Thanks for your responses. Of course we'll never know what goes inside players' head, but it is interesting to ponder.

I guess there is a different theory at work with NHL practices than youth or college hockey, with which I have had more direct experience through family members. At least BB's philosophy has something to do with rewarding good players or stressed out players with a day off on game day or the eve of a game. Maybe he thinks that their mental state trumps a last minute physical "tune up" which he must think they don't need at this level. Something like it.

Posted by: caraveli | April 21, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,

In spite of the Wash Post style book, what would happen if you just started to write Varley's name as "Semyon" ? As the commercial says, "just do it!" Or what is it with the style folks?

Posted by: dezlboy1 | April 21, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

@dezlboy, if you'd worked with 'the style folks', you'd know. Think about some killer grammarians....a tough crowd. They won't let you go all rebel on them.

(p.s. I work with many nice, but cricial, style mavens. They aren't so bad...)

Posted by: saintex | April 21, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, but I do not read(or watch) Wise, as well.But I doubt he gets to vacation with Ted, like he does with the skins' owner.I have trouble with his hockey-cred, I guess.

And how about Erskine? He's really stepped it up this post-season. After the game, BB said he was really pleased with his play.

Posted by: Max231 | April 21, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse


FAN POLL: LEADER OF THE PACK
Will Simeon Varlamov lead the Capitals past the Rangers?
Yes:
77.19 %
No:
12.28 %
Not sure:
10.53 %

Posted by: richmondphil | April 21, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

""My communication level with him is either, 'Play it,' or 'Leave it,' one or the other," Pothier said. "He simplifies his game and if he doesn't think he's going to get to the puck he stays in the net. Other than that we work real hard not to screen him."

Varlamov's English is good enough that he can yell words like "move" or "screen" at his defensemen so they know to get out of the way. Other than that, he doesn't have to say anything as long as he keeps frustrating the Rangers."


haha.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 21, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I haven't heard anything about it but I saw that Brashear only played 2:30 in the game. Was he hurt again or what.

Anyone?

Posted by: numero94 | April 21, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

@numero, I don't know if he got hurt. In the first period he ran some shifts and tried to bust it up with Orr (?) in front of the Caps net. Brash looks pretty cool with the bada$$ beard he's growing. I don't know if they need him after that - there was so much speed and movement that Brash could take the rest of the night off.

Posted by: saintex | April 21, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Dear WP Sports Editor,

Hopefully, the Capitals make a long playoff run here, but if we must stomach anymore of Mike Wise it may make said run a whole lot less enjoyable. After comparing the Rangers- Caps series to the Miracle of 1980, I thought you might have pulled the plug on his coverage right then and there...or at least replaced whatever he was smoking with cat nip. Please let the people who know hockey cover hockey, and send Wise, if that is his real last name, back to high school sports or worse, New York!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | April 21, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

In spite of the rumor about Green and the ex-gf (which may be true) I would suggest it is possible that his back (or hip or some such) is bothering him. He took a big hit early in game 2 where he went sideways into the boards. Honestly, he hasn't skated well since.

Posted by: ccCapsfan | April 21, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Caps really got into Avery's head last night - wonder if the NHL will suspend him for Game 4 for the sucker punch on Varly late in the third. Laughlin mentioned this was an area the NHL was seeking to enforce with the new rules and Avery has a long history of bending the rules. I'd like to think his presence doesn't have any impact on the Caps, but it would be a nice distraction for the Rangers if he was kept out of Game 4.

Posted by: wizfan89 | April 21, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

@lylewimbledon: What brought on the "don't know anything?" The post about Theodore or something else?

Posted by: kittypawz | April 21, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

@kittypawz

Yes you have a real life and no one else on here doesn't? Sounds to me like someone is very afraid and too prideful to admit when they are wrong. BTW in regards to your comment, anytime you want to compare W2's let me know.

P.S: You sound manly. If you're a man, we all know with a name like kittypawz that you are very "special."

Posted by: DCSportsFan28 | April 21, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

P.S: You sound manly. If you're a man, we all know with a name like kittypawz that you are very "special."
Posted by: DCSportsFan28

DCSportsFan28:

The people who offend, name-call and challenge others if they disagree with them are, as far as I can tell, men. (Albeit a very tiny minority).

I haven't heard kittypawz belittle anyone, so I assume she is a woman.

(This is not meant to be an insult to the many great and thoughtful guys in this blog--just a cultural observation about overly aggressive postings)

Posted by: caraveli | April 21, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Wow, now there's a mature adult for ya. Wanna compare W2's? Nice. Oh yeah, well I bet my Dad can beat your Dad up.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | April 21, 2009 11:15 PM | Report abuse

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