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Posted at 8:30 AM ET, 03/11/2011

Capitals' goalie surplus means tough choices

By Gene Wang

With goalie Semyon Varlamov perhaps set to face shots today as he works his way back from what's believed to be a knee injury, the Washington Capitals soon may have three goalies with strong cases to be the regular starter.

That means eventually Coach Bruce Boudreau and GM George McPhee must confront some difficult choices among Varlamov, Michal Neuvirth and Braden Holtby.

Goaltending has been a major factor during Washington's six-game winning streak. The Capitals have yielded eight goals over that time and have not surrendered more than two goals in any of those games. Washington has moved up to fourth in the league in goals allowed at 2.38 per game.

"I mean all three goalies are playing great," Boudreau said. "Where it was a two-man competition, now it almost looks like it's a three-man competition, so it's really good to see."

The current sensation is Holtby, who logged his first shutout on Wednesday in Washington's 5-0 victory over Edmonton. Holtby made 22 saves in that game and has stopped 130 of 133 shots over his last five games, with a record of 4-0-1.

On Monday against Tampa Bay, Holtby relieved Neuvirth, who had been struck with a puck that dislodged his mask, after the first period and stopped all 21 shots for a 2-1 shootout victory.

Neuvirth had appeared to move into the lead for the regular No. 1 slot before yielding to Holtby, compiling a 22-10-4 record with a 2.47 goals-against average. His 22 victories are a team rookie record, and during a personal four-game winning streak from Feb. 26 to March 6, Neuvirth had a 1.73 GAA and .942 save percentage.

Varlamov, meantime, is the most playoff tested. During the 2008-09 postseason, he started 13 out of 14 games and finished fifth in playoff save percentage (.918), tied for fifth in wins (seven) and sixth in goals-against average (2.53). His two playoff shutouts were tied for the most in the league.

"Don't ask," Boudreau joked when asked how he planned to choose among the trio. "Call George.

"I don't know. As long as they're all playing good, it's great, and they are all playing good."

By Gene Wang  | March 11, 2011; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  Braden Holtby, Michal Neuvirth, Semyon Varlamov  
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Next: Braden Holtby to start against Hurricanes

Comments


happy friday CI !

Posted by: hessone | March 11, 2011 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Well Doom and Gloom Chara was penalized last night for boarding. He cross-checked Montador (I thought it was Leopold last night) in the back, at the goal line and it caused him to go face first into the boards. It only resulted in a 2 minute minor, and I don't believe Montador was injured beyond limping for a short time on the way to the bench. However, now he is showing a trend of being reckless. There have been suspensions when a minor wasn't even called, Kubina got three games yesterday, so the league should be looking at this hit from yesterdays game and considering action. Of course the Bruins broadcasters tried to say that the referees were just getting back at the Bruins. It sounded like a bunch of parents watching their kids play last night.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 11, 2011 8:39 AM | Report abuse

While I'dd like to see Neuvy or Holtby get the long term asssignment, I wish they would pick one and go with it. I know injury's have played a role but even when both Varly and Neuvy were healthy they were constantly rotated. This and Gabby's constant line swapping drives me insane! Let them build some chemistry before you blow it apart! AAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Good Friday, folks.

Posted by: bloodontheice | March 11, 2011 9:03 AM | Report abuse

@fanohock1 -The Bruins announcers are two of the biggest homers on TV.

Jack Edwards, formerly of ESPN, and Andy Brickley, never played in the NHL, are the worst hockey guys out there. I refuse to watch when they're on.

I think Chara should've gotten something, since it looks to be almost as bad as the Bertuzzi incident, if not a little worse.

Posted by: jwash4472 | March 11, 2011 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Sorry..I almost always side with the injured player, but Chara only should have faced an interference penalty and maybe a little extra for the hit being late.

The hit itself did not target the head at all. They were just in a bad spot...no way Chara did it on purpose...he was just finishing his check.

NOBODY ever talked about Chara being dirty before this incident. If the guy hadn't of been hurt no one would even be talking about it. It was an extremely unlucky incident and I feel for Pacioretty. But Chara did nothing malicious...these things happen when a 6ft. 9giant hits a guy.

Posted by: capscoach | March 11, 2011 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Andy Brickley DID play 385 games in the NHL for the Bruins, Penguins, Flyers, Devils and Winnepeg in the 80s and 90s. He is a Homer though.

Posted by: MReilly9 | March 11, 2011 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Andy Brickley DID play 385 games in the NHL for the Bruins, Penguins, Flyers, Devils and Winnepeg in the 80s and 90s. He is a Homer though.

Posted by: MReilly9 | March 11, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

I don’t have a problem with rotating to goalies, they seem to react pretty well to it. Neither of them display the “Price” attitude, with the upcoming road trip I think BB will use this time to select the one he’ll go with into the playoffs. They are youth and can probably handle to physical aspects of playing all the time, but the mental part is what worries me. There is a lot of pressure on this team, by rotating you don’t put all the pressure on them individually.

Posted by: ttenner | March 11, 2011 9:25 AM | Report abuse

@ capscoach

I agreed with you on the Chara hit and it just being a bad spot for it to happen. However Gary (I want to ruin the NHL) Bettman said last year when OV got suspended, words to the effect of, you are responsible for you hits and the results of it. This to me implies that Chara by default is responsible for this and should have been suspended. This is totally based on Bettman's statement last year.

Posted by: bqts | March 11, 2011 9:25 AM | Report abuse

capscoach: Oh no, Chara is dirty and his size is always the excuse. Caps fans don't remember Chara tripping Ovechkin in Boston last year just before the goal line and Ovechkin going into the boards shoulder first at about 20mph. The classless Bruins fans had the nerve to boo him and I was just glad he was able to get up. The latest boarding call was LAST night, not in the Montreal game. The Bruins announcers also started to complain because they though McCormick cross-checked Chara. There was never a replay and I believe it is because it would have shown that Chara elbowed McCormick in the face when he went at Chara to finish a check. His height is always the excuse for his elbows but he can just as easily turn his shoulder into people instead of extend his elbows to make contact with players.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 11, 2011 9:30 AM | Report abuse

capscoach: Oh no, Chara is dirty and his size is always the excuse. Caps fans don't remember Chara tripping Ovechkin in Boston last year just before the goal line and Ovechkin going into the boards shoulder first at about 20mph. The classless Bruins fans had the nerve to boo him and I was just glad he was able to get up. The latest boarding call was LAST night, not in the Montreal game. The Bruins announcers also started to complain because they though McCormick cross-checked Chara. There was never a replay and I believe it is because it would have shown that Chara elbowed McCormick in the face when he went at Chara to finish a check. His height is always the excuse for his elbows but he can just as easily turn his shoulder into people instead of extend his elbows to make contact with players.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 11, 2011 9:33 AM | Report abuse

I say start Holtby tonight and give Neuvirth a chance to rest, which will also give Varly a better chance at recovery. When it comes to the playoffs, I think we need to go with Varly and Neuvirth, so we'll need Varly to be 100%.

Posted by: SirPelleas | March 11, 2011 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Keep all three and play them. One will fall out by virtue of the odds and the other can be traded.

Posted by: sjshanno | March 11, 2011 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Goalie surplus?

Hmm...what are they talking about...

1) Play who is healthy (because they are all never healthy at once)

and the depth chart is:

1) Neuvirth
2) Holtby (will be #1 next year)

and who is this Varly person?

Posted by: SoaringCaps | March 11, 2011 9:40 AM | Report abuse

if and when all 3 goalies are healthy, Neuvy is the #1, Varly backs up and Holtby gets to be the #1 in Hershey, so he can get a playoff under his belt while Neuvy gets his shot carrying the Caps through the NHL playoffs. Long term, the job is Holtby's to lose, he has Neuvy's positioning and calmness with Varly's athleticism and 2 things that set him beyond those 2. He can handle the puck extremely well and can be aggressive getting it back up ice, and he has an attitude and will let players know when coming into his crease, they won't be staying long. It's a great problem to have.

Posted by: BBDwrestling | March 11, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Chara at it again. Absolutely cheap shot a Buffalo player last night.

Saying he isn't a dirty player is COMPLETELY FALSE...

Chara= Kjell Sammuelson

Posted by: SoaringCaps | March 11, 2011 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Varly to Hershey for conditioning. Can me make that move? Procrastination, FTW.

Posted by: Cletus_P | March 11, 2011 9:52 AM | Report abuse

@BBDwrestling...

You forgot the most important asset Holtby has...

HE IS CANADIAN!

Posted by: SoaringCaps | March 11, 2011 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Even after 5 days at Mardi Gras, Im ready to return to the Phone Booth to Rock the Red tonight. OH YEAH.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | March 11, 2011 9:55 AM | Report abuse

@BBDWrestling

I agree that if all 3 goalies are healthy that Holtby will be playing with Hershey in the playoffs. As good as Holtby has looked the past 5 periods, he hasn't had much experience in the NHL or any playoff experience in the NHL or AHL.

Usually after playing a while, NHL teams start picking up the holes in a goalie's game and attack that, then the goalie usually adjusts.

However, if there are injuries to Varly and/or Neuvy in the playoffs I would feel very comfortable having Holtby come in to start.

My guess is if all three goalies are healthy and not rusty, that Varly will be starting game 1. Neuvy will come in on relief due to either injury or ineffective play.

I'm not saying this is necessarily how I would go about it but I feel that this is what is going to happen.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 11, 2011 9:58 AM | Report abuse

@SoaringCaps

... and he seems to have a free pass from the referees and the NHL ...

... he knows exactly what he is doing and how far he can go ... and he won't stop doing it unless the referees and the NHL took appropriate care of their business ...

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | March 11, 2011 9:59 AM | Report abuse

no, Holtby isn't ready for the NHL playoffs (this year)

Neuvirth has been through the AHL playoffs 2 times (with Cups!)

Varly, please, has he really won anything? 1 series...I say play Varly the last 5 games, he will get hurt and situation solved...FORD will back up!

Posted by: SoaringCaps | March 11, 2011 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I agree with BBDwrestling. Holtby is on the clear roster for Hershey, correct? And who else do they have? Unless he clearly outplays the other two down the stretch, he will be a Bear for the Playoffs. Neuvy has won two Calder Cups, right? That is good experience for them to get.

Varly's injury history is disconcerting. I would imagine McPhee and the medical staff have an opinion on whether or not it's just bad luck so far or if he's prone to this sort of thing. The last thing we need is more players like Poti, sucking up cap space and budget but not playing.

(BTW, I realize Poti is now LTIR, but his salary for next year for instance will inhibit signing other players.)

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 11, 2011 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Chara does stuff on the ice that causes you to make a face. He may not be the dirtiest but he's no stand up guy on the ice. May be good but doesn't matter if you make bad plays..decisions. also I don't think anyone would look down on him (fan or not) if he would've apologized. He keeps saying its unfortunate but nothing more. I could get behind someone who admits a bad play.

Posted by: BKBK | March 11, 2011 10:12 AM | Report abuse

A

Posted by: PhilR | March 11, 2011 10:13 AM | Report abuse

sgm: BTW, the longer it goes like this with Varly, the more likely he earns less for next year. Had he played all year and put up good numbers, the original 2.5-3.0 I had projected would have been possible (also with deep Playoff run). As it is now, he's hard pressed to get more than Neuvy (although some team could offer him a deal that could be matched, who knows). I would expect then he'd want just one year and hope to perform well next year and then get the bigger contract.

That's when we will get the comment from McPhee, when asked why Neuvy got two years and Varly one, he'll say, "We offered more term, but the player only wanted one year."

I wonder if McPhee talks about his children like that?

To his wife: "I offered to pay for her computer, but the child chose the phone instead."

NHL GM-speak...a language unto only 30 people in the world.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 11, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse

A

Posted by: PhilR | March 11, 2011 10:13 AM

B

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 11, 2011 10:22 AM | Report abuse

@SoaringCaps

... two shutouts in the Playoffs isn't that bad ...

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | March 11, 2011 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I'm not seeing how this is a tought decision. If Varlamov comes back to health, he and Neuvirth are the roster goalies, and Neuvirth gets the nod until Varlamov can show he can last more than a half-dozen games without going on the shelf.

If Varlamov isn't healthy, then it's Neuvirth and Holtby, in that order.

As for Holtby, he is still a work in progress, and there are things he hasn't experienced in the AHL from which he might benefit. Neuvirth seems to have benefitted from two Calder Cup runs as the number one goalie. Holtby should experience that at the AHL level; he should get that chance to be the go-to goalie in that setting as part of his development. Throwing him in the furnace at this level seems to big a leap. The experience didn't seem to jurt Neuvirth.

Posted by: fjc33 | March 11, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

A

Posted by: PhilR | March 11, 2011 10:13 AM

B

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 11, 2011 10:22 AM

Potato

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | March 11, 2011 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I think everyone has read my dozen posts or so about how I think Holtby is the goalie that will win the #1 spot! But that wont be this season. It might be next, but I think it'll be 2 seasons from now when he wins it...

so let him start the next game, then give it back to Neuvirth when he's ready, have Holtby backup until Varly is ready to join the rotation and send Holtby back to Hershey for the PO run.

I'm going to see the Bears on saturday 3/18 and I will be miffed if Holtby is not in net by then.

Posted by: FrankM73 | March 11, 2011 10:29 AM | Report abuse

I would use varly in a sentence before ford. Anyone see the article where it stated nuevy was better conditioned (or something) then varly (so I guess in the long run a better pick) but varly makes those impossible saves other goalies can't... but at the risk of injury.

Posted by: BKBK | March 11, 2011 10:32 AM | Report abuse

@fanohock

yeah i watched tht sabres/bruins game last night and those announcers are freakin terrible. I always hated jack edwards, but last night he was on a whole new level

Posted by: _stevo | March 11, 2011 10:36 AM | Report abuse

sgm: BTW, the longer it goes like this with Varly, the more likely he earns less for next year. Had he played all year and put up good numbers, the original 2.5-3.0 I had projected would have been possible (also with deep Playoff run). As it is now, he's hard pressed to get more than Neuvy (although some team could offer him a deal that could be matched, who knows). I would expect then he'd want just one year and hope to perform well next year and then get the bigger contract.

Posted by: tominsocal1

I agree. The funny thing is that Varly's numbers this year are great. 2.27 GAA and a .923 sv% is outstanding. However, he doesn't play many games and isn't reliable due to his injury history.

In addition, with the play of Neuvy and Holtby that Caps do not NEED Varly. That can always come into play in negotiations also, especially with RFAs. If Varly knew that the Caps absolutely needed him, he could threaten to hold out or do whatever during negotiations. However, Varly can't do this because he knows it would give him much less of a chance of earning the starting spot.

I will say though, as a caveat to these contract projections, that if Varly leads the Caps to SCFs or even to win the SC, with great goaltending, that contract will raise considerably.

However, even if that did happen, I would be shocked if the deal was any longer than 2 years and would expect it to be a 1-year deal. Varly's injury history is too long to commit any type of term to his contract.

My guess, as of now would be a 1-year deal for Varly at around $1.5M, that swings up with great playoff play, but would not go higher than $2.25M.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 11, 2011 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Katie Carrera
Michal Neuvirth came off the ice first but it was unusually early even for an am skate. He appeared to be unhappy about something.

Don't like the sound of this.

Posted by: icehammer97 | March 11, 2011 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Mike Vogel
Holtby was getting the start tonight anyway. But Neuvirth went off early. #Caps


So it doesn't sound like he is unhappy because he was told he wasn't playing today. I just hope he isn't hurt too.

Posted by: icehammer97 | March 11, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse

You know when Varly wasn't awesome, against the Pens in game 7. Who has won back-to-back championships? I would argue that Neuvy is more battle tested for playoffs than Varly. I went to the Calder Cup finals in 09 and the atmosphere wasn't much different than the NHL Playoffs. I would argue the pressure is similar as well.

Posted by: Doom_and_Gloom | March 11, 2011 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I think it is pretty clear now that because of health reasons and the fact that Nuevy has looked good all season, he is our #1 goalie.

Varly is not as consistent. Holtby is definitely the goalie of the future. He has an exceptional work ethic and is great at puck handling.

Posted by: capscoach | March 11, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse

It's rare for Boudreau to switch goalies after a win, so Holtby starting is at least 80% odds.

I guess we'll have to wait for more info on "Neuvy's unhappiness."

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 11, 2011 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Just using the word "unhappiness" it is tough to distinguish anything. I think it is good if Neuvy is a little peeved that he isn't starting. You want all of your guys to want to start. Being a little aggravated is not a big deal. (My GUESS as to what likely happend. But it is only a guess).

Now if he was furious and throwing a temper tantrum, that would not be good as he would be overreacting too much.

Now he could be upset that he tweaked something also(worse case scenario, IMO).

Posted by: sgm3 | March 11, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

It's nice to see some more anti-Chara chatter today. I thought I was out there on my own the other day. Hessone was about the only one that was with me at first. Chara has been allowed to fly under the radar with his dirty tricks for quite some time.

Holtby must start tonight. How can you take the guy out until he at least gives up one goal? Just before the trade deadline there were rumblings from some scouts and pundits that Holtby may be the best goaltender the Capitals have.

Posted by: Cayugalaker | March 11, 2011 11:00 AM | Report abuse

we all know what is going to happen. BB is going to start neuvy and then pull him after he lets in 2 goals to go with varly

Posted by: _stevo | March 11, 2011 11:02 AM | Report abuse

we all know what is going to happen. BB is going to start neuvy and then pull him after he lets in 2 goals to go with varly

Posted by: _stevo

I'd say 1 goal.

Posted by: Doom_and_Gloom | March 11, 2011 11:06 AM | Report abuse

we all know what is going to happen. BB is going to start neuvy and then pull him after he lets in 2 goals to go with varly

Posted by: _stevo

When has BB ever done that? Unless the goalie is hurt and I think I saw BB pull varly after 2 or 3 once...but that was b/c it was goals on 3-4 shots in the first five minutes.

Posted by: capscoach | March 11, 2011 11:08 AM | Report abuse

You should realize Chara is happy to play with Campbell junior…

Posted by: bigcap | March 11, 2011 11:10 AM | Report abuse

@sgm3, from the sounds of it he left the ice early (earlier then he even would if he was starting) and was unhappy when coming off the ice. If it was becasue he was told he wasn't starting that sounds like a bit of a tempertantrium to me. Not saying that is what it was but if it was he was him being told he wasn't starting but if it was it isn't a good reaction.

Posted by: icehammer97 | March 11, 2011 11:14 AM | Report abuse

capscoach,
I believe they were talking about the playoffs when he pull Theo (the starter for the season).
I could actually see that happening as well. Should have gave Theo a few more chances the last two years in the playoffs - hope he doesn't do that to Neuvy, but maybe he won't have to.

Posted by: _828 | March 11, 2011 11:16 AM | Report abuse

@capscoach

I completely disagree. Varly has been way more consistent (unfortunately that includes getting injured) whereas Neuvy was up and down earlier in the season. Still too early to make a judgement on Holtby imo. If Varly could stay off the injury bench, he would be our number 1 hands down.

Also, stevo was referring to playoffs where BB has done that twice in as many years. So that's when he has done that.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | March 11, 2011 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Corey Masisak
#Caps coach Bruce Boudreau says Braden Holtby will start this evening against Carolina. No Nicklas Backstrom again.

Posted by: icehammer97 | March 11, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I really don't see how you can have a goalie surplus when you have 3 goalies in their early 20's. Two arguments:

First, injuries are the norm among young goalies in the NHL. You want to keep all 3 until you can figure out which goalies can overcome their injury problems, versus which goalies may have chronic problems throughout their career.

Second, on a season to season basis, goalies are the streakiest position in hockey. Think of Jim Carrey in as a Caps goalie, think of Tukka Rask last year vs this, look at the career of Pascal LeClaire. Just because all three are playing great this year, doesn't mean that will last a career.

Solution: as long as it is financially (in terms of salary cap) reasonable and you can keep guys signed, keep all three. Over the next year or two the above issues should get cleared up, someone should establish themselves as a career starter (hopefully), and contract extensions/trades/not-resigning a goalie can be made with the proper information (ie. a large sample size of games played over multiple seasons)

Posted by: bgsxygoalie | March 11, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Mike Vogel
To recap: Holtby starts, Neuvirth fine despite leaving early, Varly skated, Green practiced, Poti skated long and late, Backstrom too. #Caps

Posted by: icehammer97 | March 11, 2011 11:32 AM | Report abuse

icehammer: I don't think players in the NHL are simply allowed to leave practice early due to "temper tantrum." I think the coach would tell him to get back out there. Lots of speculation. This is what happens in the 21st century. Little bits of info and mucho speculation.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 11, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

@bigcap

... you are right! How could I forgot this ...

... Bruins will hoist the SC this year

... you heard it here first:

nostra... ;-)

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | March 11, 2011 11:34 AM | Report abuse

One thing to note this year is that the Caps are 4th in the league in goals allowed per game. Last year, they were 18th(I think). They have made this improvement with mostly the same players, with most of the players being rookies(Carlson, Alzner, MJ, MP, etc.) until the trade deadline.

Usually when this happens to a team, regardless of the team, the coach is credited with great coaching. I haven't seen much credit(on this board) being given to BB for this improvement.

In addition, the PK has gone from 25th in the league(I think) last year to 3rd. Again, with mostly the same players. Just like what was said for team defense, usually when this happens with a team the coach is given a lot credit for great coaching when this happens. Again, I haven't seen much credit(on this board) being given to BB for this improvement.

Everything depends on playoff success, and that remains to be seen, but I think BB deserves some credit for greatly improving the defense of the Caps.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 11, 2011 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I want to give a shout out to Arthurs Irbe for coaching these guys. He has done wonders.

Posted by: nicety251 | March 11, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I think Chara should've gotten something, since it looks to be almost as bad as the Bertuzzi incident, if not a little worse.

Posted by: jwash4472 | March 11, 2011 9:04 AM | Report abuse
-----------------------------------------
From somebody who lives in Colorado and remembers the Bertuzzi/Moore incident like it happened an hour ago I 100% disagree respectfully. I'm not gonna get into the Chara debate with anybody but I can tell you that these 2 incidents are completely different. Bertuzzi intentionally went after Steve Moore and delivered a violent punch that Moore NEVER saw coming. I don't think Bertuzzi meant to hurt Moore like he did but he meant to hurt him. He wanted to kick his @ss! Moore had run Naslund (one of their elite players at the time) in the prior meeting and gave him a concussion. Moore was challenged to several fights from several players prior and declined so Bertuzzi attacked him.

Sorry bro, 2 completely different thing.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | March 11, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

SeminAllOverTheIce

gotta disagree about Varly...to me Nuevy has been steadier...varly CAN BE more specatcualar at times, but he also gives up way to many rebounds. He is either really on or really off.

Nuevy on the other hand I think will turn into a consistent good goalie. He has better positioning and is not as injury prone.

He also thrives off of confidence and a lot of play...when BB switches him in and out he seems to loose confidence. When he plays a lot he gets better and better...Varly always starts off great and then simmers.

Posted by: capscoach | March 11, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

All three could be the playoff guy. Do not sell Holtby short. Varly is most acrobatic, Neuvy is very solid with mechanics. Holtby is a little of both and very smooth. He may just be the best of the 3.

We can win with any of them if we are good up front. Irbe and the staff in Hershey have done a great job with them. I like all three and am not worried one bit which one plays the Cup Clincher.

Posted by: ballgame21 | March 11, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

@sgm

Your are correct. However its been pretty hush about bb since they started winning--lots of credit going to new faces. But even before with the losses you had to credit him for the decision to change the system. But most have mouths bigger then their eyes. They wanted 9+ goal games or a new coach. It seemed many didnt pick up on how a solid d could be a good card to play especially since the caps never were out of the playoff running and better prepared than last year

Posted by: BKBK | March 11, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

@sgm/BKBK

I agree with you, I'll be the first one to admit I was a little concern with his ability to coach that style and that he had lost the team. Some of he game decisions have confounded me, but that's why I'm here and he's coaching. There were games where, except of one or two players, the team seemed disinterested. Don't know how often GMGM & BB talked, but it appears GMGM was able to give BB the missing pieces he needed to get the ship heading the right direction.

Still believe this upcoming road trip will be the biggest long haul test for the team.

Posted by: ttenner | March 11, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Billy Jaffey said it best that Holtby is the man. Next year he will be the number 1

You have to go with Neuvy then Holtby and Varly.
Varly just can't stay healthy.
Neuvy is the man this year and Holtby will be it next year and for the future.

Posted by: jotay131 | March 11, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

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