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Varlamov to Start in Philly

Here are some quick observations from Wachovia Center, where the Caps just hit the ice for the morning skate:

*Semyon Varlamov will make his second consecutive start tonight against the Flyers. Coach Bruce Boudreau said he's looking forward to seeing how the 21-year-old reacts to playing in front of a hostile Philly crowd.

*Varlamov will be opposed by Ray Emery, who is off to a hot start for the Flyers. Boudreau called Flyers GM Paul Holmgren's decision to sign Emery "astute."

*Brian Pothier and Tyler Sloan will be the healthy scratches on defense. That means Jeff Schultz will see his first action of the regular season. It also means Sloan could make his season debut against the Rangers on Thursday.

*The Caps aren't wearing color-coded jerseys, but based on their alignment in the line rushes, it appears that the forward combos will remain unchanged from Saturday.

*Boudreau also said he expects Eric Fehr to be game-ready by Thursday. But Boudreau also said that doesn't automatically mean Fehr will face the Rangers. The Caps might opt to send Fehr to Hershey for a game or two.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  October 6, 2009; 11:46 AM ET
 
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Next: Big Night For Knuble, Schultz

Comments

Whoo. Never let it be said that Bruce isn't willing to throw his boys into the fire. I hope it doesn't come back and bite him, but past history would seem to suggest that it might be okay.

I did expect Theodore, though.

Big game tonight, boys. Come out with the W.

Posted by: kittypawz | October 6, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

"Coach Bruce Boudreau said he's looking forward to seeing how the 21-year-old reacts to playing in front of a hostile Philly crowd."

No doubt he'll be unruffled as ever. VAR-LY!

Schultz against Philly makes me very nervous...I hope he surprises me.

Posted by: CapsChick | October 6, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

good choice of words BB, Astute is definately SAT material. I'm hoping Fehr gets to spend a couple games in Hershey to knock off the rust.

Posted by: superpaqman | October 6, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

There should be some interesting responses to this decision...

Posted by: tmac2yao | October 6, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I think we all figured it to be Theodore, but I don't think anyone will be complaining.

I think Fehr should get some A seasoning, especially if we keep playing as well as we have. Don't fix what ain't broke.

Posted by: richmondphil | October 6, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Do Philly fans even know what astute means?

Posted by: Fro_ | October 6, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Not surprised its Varly. Come back with Theo on Thursday to get him a home game and if he plays well Thursday he will get the nod in Detroit, otherwise Varly gets it.

Posted by: ThePat | October 6, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

"The winner of this game is going to win the Cup," deadpanned Flyers' defenseman Chris Pronger, tongue firmly planted in cheek.

Left winger Scott Hartnell:
"We did our job on the road, and here in front of our fans, we need to set a precedent early and not start off on the wrong foot, especially against Washington. They're a high-powered team. Obviously, Ovechkin is a great player, but they've got other players, too. So we're going to have to roll four lines and stay out of the box [because] they have a power play that is going to be right up there among the tops in the league. [Knuble]'s got a big body in front of the net and is hard to move off the puck. We'll definitely try to get him off his game and hit him every chance."

Flyers coach John Stevens wasn't sure which defensive pairings would be matched against left winger Ovechkin. Pronger will sometimes face him, and Stevens is contemplating moving Kimmo Timonen (who is paired with Braydon Coburn) from the left side to the right so he can be matched against Ovechkin.

The Pronger-Ovechkin matchup intrigues even some of the players.

"That's why he's here, to stop the big boys from scoring," Hartnell said with a laugh.

Pronger was asked if he had played against Ovechkin enough to call him the best player he had ever faced.

"No," he said, noting he had been matched against Steve Yzerman, Joe Sakic, and Peter Forsberg in their primes and that he had faced Ovechkin only a handful of times.

"He's going to try to be creative and make plays," Pronger said of Ovechkin. "You need to understand that and know where he is on the ice. You've got to make sure you're positioned well at all times.

"You've got to have that constant pressure on him. He's got to feel guys coming in from behind trying to strip the puck. He can shoot in traffic - you've got to be in shooting lanes."

Hartnell said the Capitals are "so fun to play against; they're go-go-go. They're very offensive, and if you check well and come back hard, you're going to get opportunities the other way."

Posted by: richmondphil | October 6, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

I expected BB would throw Varly in there tonight--the kid has ice water in his veins and won't get intimidated by the crowd or the Flyers. I suspect BB wants to go with Theo against the Rangers to give him a chance to redeem himself after his Game 1 fiasco last year. Good call.

Posted by: redrocker2 | October 6, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

is anyone going to this game tonight? i am going but am a little afraid to rock my red.. first game in enemy territory!

Posted by: beckymayyy | October 6, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

are there any caps fans going to this game tonight? i am stranded up here in flyer country and will be attending, but am a little nervous to rock my red.
first game in enemy territory!

Posted by: beckymayyy | October 6, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Don't be afraid to rock the red in Philly. I've worn my Caps gear there and other arenas. It's all good and you shouldn't let the opposing team's fans intimidate you. Just be prepared to take some crap and it's fine to dish some out, too. As long as you also take it.

Posted by: CapsChick | October 6, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

No, but a bunch of my Philly Flyers friends will be going. I'll tell them to be nice.

Posted by: richmondphil | October 6, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Be careful :( There was a stabbing incident after the last game where one fan ended up stabbing another. Rock your red, but be careful.

Posted by: kittypawz | October 6, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

So I'm heading to Philly for a couple concerts Halloween weekend. Flyers/Canes play at 1 pm, and the show is next door at The Spectrum. Apprently a bunch of bands are doing shows this year for a farewell of sorts. Anyway- I wanted to hit up the game before heading to tailgate for the show. Should I hop on Craigslist now and get tix, or does anyone know if it's fairly easy to get a pair in the cheap seats from a scalper? Never been to Philly before.

Posted by: Fro_ | October 6, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Everytime I've went to games in Philly, we just got tickets from a scalper. Like DC, they seem to be everywhere.

But if I can always get tix ahead of time, I usually do. Might as well take care of it now for sure, you know?

Posted by: richmondphil | October 6, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Ph Philty!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | October 6, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

@Fro
You going to the Pearl Jam concert too? I dunno about scalpers and stuff but it should be a good show. Maybe I'll Rock the Red there too.

Posted by: Andoy | October 6, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

@ Caps Chick- You might get stabbed...be careful! Neanderthals still walk the sidewalks of Philthy...too much inbredding with cheesesteaks.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | October 6, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Cheesesteaks are so good though.

Posted by: richmondphil | October 6, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

im rockin the red for life and takin philly phans with me...if i get stabbed, shot whatever...oh yeah there will be many mike vick references tonight, lets shove cheesesteak down they're throat!!

Posted by: nikoraterman22 | October 6, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

The cheesesteaks are definitely good until they put cheesewiz on them. Up to that point, I'm on board.

Posted by: Moose33 | October 6, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Always be very careful wearing other colors in Philly. They take it way to personally. And do not wear to Bathroom if possible. I did wear a caps jersey there(in the stands) a long time ago and someone did try to jump me after the caps won. From behind of course but my buddy stopped them before they reached me. And I was in the 2nd row with the high end seats, could not imagine what would have happened in the cheap seats up stairs at the old Spectrum.

Posted by: RichC3 | October 6, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

When I was younger, I watched a group of Caps fans beat the living hell out of two Pens fans after a home loss in the 2000 playoffs. Just sayin.

Posted by: richmondphil | October 6, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

The stabbing was between Flyers fans, so no one is safe.

Posted by: koalatek | October 6, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Schultz over Pothier - yikes!?! BB, you're a puck-genius, but this one is baffling.

Posted by: govtimbo | October 6, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

You going to the Pearl Jam concert too? I dunno about scalpers and stuff but it should be a good show. Maybe I'll Rock the Red there too.

Posted by: Andoy | October 6, 2009 12:52 PM

Ya I'm heading for up PJ. Figure it's gonna work out well, since we won't have to move the car at all for tailgating for the show (I think everything is all in the same complex?). I doubt I'll be rocking any Caps gear though. And I most certainly will be having a cheesesteak. I may even get a couple for the drive back to DC on Sunday.

Posted by: Fro_ | October 6, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

why is the game not being aired on 106.7?? Caps web site shows AM 1500???? This does not make for very good listening....

Posted by: maryjane2 | October 6, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I found it interesting how Pronger gave Forsberg his props - whenever he played the Avs, Pronger was invariably matched up against Forsberg, NOT Sakic [unless of course they were put on the same line] - a fact which Melrose and others tend to conveniently gloss over.

You need to be a bull to go against Pronger - which OV most definitely is!

Posted by: govtimbo | October 6, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I've been to Wachovia to support the Caps- not that scarey. The old buildings were a lot worse. Bark is much worse than their bite. I hope we spank em and ruin the home opener. God, i hate those guys.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | October 6, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I guess BB has to stretch his luck sometimes. I will have my defibrillator on standby with Varly starting aginst Philly.

Posted by: rovingbandit | October 6, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Always be very careful wearing other colors in Philly. They take it way to personally. And do not wear to Bathroom if possible. I did wear a caps jersey there(in the stands) a long time ago and someone did try to jump me after the caps won. From behind of course but my buddy stopped them before they reached me. And I was in the 2nd row with the high end seats, could not imagine what would have happened in the cheap seats up stairs at the old Spectrum.

Posted by: RichC3 | October 6, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I took my daughter to Philly to see Caps games in the late 1990's when she was in high school. We both wore our Caps colors but surprisingly, the Flyers fans did not give us a hard time. Probably because the Caps were so bad, they lost every game to the Flyers in Philly and we were just "two girls."

Watch out now - this is a very different Caps team so those fans - who even fight each other as they did Saturday night - well we might just give them a reason to be mad later tonight!

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | October 6, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Interesting choices. Why is he opting for Jeff Schultz and scratching Brian Pothier and Tyler Sloan who, I think, are much better players?

I am very surprised about using Varlamov. It couldn't be because he did better than Theo because he didn't. And if he just wants to test him, I would think that he would also want to test Theo's turning over a new leaf. I guess he must be more interested in developing Varly for obvious reasons.

Soooo nervous about tonight. It will be a test, at least of consistency.

Posted by: caraveli | October 6, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Ya I hear ya about getting tix ahead of time. Admittedly, I love bartering with the scalpers though. When I head into Verizon before games, I sometimes ask one or 2 scalpers how much seats are going for. Chat a little bit, see what I can get them down to- with no intention of actually purchasing them. All the while, my season tix are in my front pocket. Strange- I know, but it's hilarious to see them at work.

Posted by: Fro_ | October 6, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

@ Caps Chick- You might get stabbed...be careful! Neanderthals still walk the sidewalks of Philthy...too much inbredding with cheesesteaks.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | October 6, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm not actually going, I was just replying to the person who is. Admittedly I haven't been to a game in Philly in several years, but I didn't have a problem.

Posted by: CapsChick | October 6, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

@ caraveli

Agreed! Why change a line up that worked, and why start a goalie who was inconsistent over one who played great?

Posted by: rovingbandit | October 6, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I love this coach! He is definitely confident enough to look at the bigger picture instead of just over his shoulder. What better opportunity to confirm if this rookie goaltender is the real deal against a good Flyers team at their building. If Varlomov is the future for this franchise, he will have to get used to this type of pressure day in and day out. Go Caps!

Posted by: JohnWWW | October 6, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

maryjane2- The Caps' radio station is 1500. The only reason why the first two games were on 106.7 was because the Nats were on 1500. Now the Caps go back on 1500 and yes, it does suck very much.

Soon Wizards games will be on 106.7...

Posted by: rachel216 | October 6, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Is Bruce sending a message to Theodore and Pothier. If they lose, I've got a message for Bruce.

Posted by: chillwill1 | October 6, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

As much as I love the Caps and their offense, this team isn't going to win a Stanley Cup and they will be lucky to get to the Finals. They don't play defense. At least not enough defense. Why is it the Flyers add guys like Pronger...we needed him. It's gotta burn a guy like Ovie that Richards has a hat trick. Maybe its not goaltending totally just lousy defense. Their best defense is a good offense. That doesn't work in the playoffs.

Posted by: oneft2dice | October 6, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

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