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Who's between the pipes?

Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau has not yet named a No. 1 goaltender for the playoffs, and there's a chance he never will.

While Boudreau says he simply is "still evaluating," the prevailing sentiment is that he perhaps thinks Washington needs both Jose Theodore and Semyon Varlamov to win a Stanley Cup.

Do you agree? Or should Boudreau pick one goalie and avoid, as former netminder Kevin Weekes called it, "unnecessary controversy?" Read about the case for each goalie, and then weigh in below:

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By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 9, 2010; 9:49 AM ET
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Next: Theodore set to start vs. Atlanta


You got to ride the hot hand to win in the playoffs. That being said, if we were to drop 2 games stright with average goaltending, a switch could be made to try and shake it up.

It's a good problem to have...

Can we play them both at the same time?

Posted by: SA-Town | April 9, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

It appears to be the same as last year, it is Theo nets until something happens, the Varly will get a shot. The key stat for Theo is not goals against, it is save percentage with this team and it's offensive attack.

Posted by: RichC3 | April 9, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

The key for Theo is to avoid consecutive subpar outings. One is tolerable but two will force BB's hand. If Theo avoids consecutive bad outings then he deserves to be the man this postseason.

Posted by: croftonpost | April 9, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Definitely Varly lost it to Theo.

I also really question if Varly will ever be a solid #1 because he is too injury prone.

Time to groom Neivirth.

Posted by: CodePoetry | April 9, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

There is no need to mess with Theo right now, but I would be surprised if Varly doesn't get at least a couple games.

Posted by: capscoach | April 9, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Pretty much like last year - but I think Theo has earned a bit longer leash this time around; it would probably take more than one sub par game for him to loose the starting job.

As far as Weeks calling the absence of explicit #1 declaration a "controversy"... they have got to fill their hours and hours in that studio with something, right?

Speaking of that channel, Espo was a riot on his call in yesterday - "I want to know who was that idiot GM who handed out the first NTC clause!"... or something like that. They did not know the answer; anybody here has any idea?

Posted by: igor_k17 | April 9, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I forget - are there any back-to-back games (e.g., Tuesday game, then a Wednesday game) in the playoffs? Given Theo's age, I can't see Boudreau using him in back-to-back games (I could see it with Varly).

It's too bad they can't just tie them together and put them both in goal. Like a 3-legged race at a picnic...

Posted by: blackjack65 | April 9, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

In two years, one word, HOLTBY

Posted by: joshekurtz | April 9, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

"I also really question if Varly will ever be a solid #1 because he is too injury prone."

I kinda wonder if his psyche isn't rattled right now also. He was playing spectacular before he got hurt, then he came back too soon and gave up a ton of goals.

It might be more between the ears then anything else.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | April 9, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I concur with rmcazz - Varly's problem is between the ears. That's why I think Theo should be the main horse for this push. Let's not rattle Varly any more. He's great, and will be great, so let's not set him up to fail.

Posted by: EricinReston | April 9, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I'm surprised that the poll is so strongly in favor of Theodore. It's so tempting to do both together, but I agree that his record speaks for himself.

Posted by: nicko | April 9, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Not too many months ago, I would have gone with the two primaries option. Now, I think you have to ride Theo and have faith that he will get it done.

Face it, we need Theo to perform well, and he needs to assert himself in order to win that big paycheck in the off season.

Posted by: aybee27 | April 9, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Theo will be the #1 in game 1. However, he must play well to keep it.

I agree that he will have a longer leash than last year. But two consecutive poor games would lead to Varlamov. Even if the Caps where able to win one of the games in which Theo performed poorly.

Hopefully Theo will do great. I think a lot will ride on game 1. If Theo plays well in game 1 I could see him keep on rolling with his confidence high knowing that he can do great in the playoffs and last year was an aberration. Playing a poor offensive team like Boston or the Rangers could help with that also.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 9, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

if that were the case, the Caps would have won the Cup in the 80's because NOBODY had a better group of d-men than the Caps

Posted by: joek443 | April 8, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

esp after they got rid of Murphy and brought in Rouse.

I think Montreal had a better defense with Chelios, Robinson, Ludwig, Svoboda, Green supporting a kid named Roy

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 9, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Theo has earned a longer leash than last year. He won a lot of games down the stretch last year but he wasn't nearly as consistently good as he has been this year. He has been damn good since the beginning of January.

Posted by: ouvan59 | April 9, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Pierre Lebrun, it doesn't matter who the Capitals draw in the 1st Round. They are better than all of them and will defeat any one of their possible opponents. This is not arrogance, they are just far more talented than the teams in question

and the most talented teams always advance. Right? That's why Calgary made it to the finals a few yrs ago, with ONE true scoring forward. That's why Carolina made it to the Conf finals last year.

Nothing is guaranteed. The Caps have to adjust their reckless style and tighten up defensively as much as their personnel will allow them to. Otherwise they'll get a rude awakening and early tee time. They're better off going into every game thinking like an underdog and feeling like they have to outwork everyone else.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 9, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

What I find encouraging is that the Caps have really brought it (sans the Chicago game which we still won) for the big games...I am optimistic that they will really step it up for the playoffs.

Posted by: capscoach | April 9, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Theo's in for as long as Theo performs. No question.

No controversy here; move along.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 9, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

i think 18-0-3 or whatever it is now gets Theo the job

Posted by: _stevo | April 9, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

The key for the Caps is to not let up when they have a lead, score a goal, take the lead in a series etc. Thats what they haven't demonstrated to me. They don't like to keep their foot on an opponent's neck. Its playing with that extra chip on their shoulders or having an attitude on the ice that I'm going to look for. Are they content to let opponents hang around? Or will there be a single-minded focus to get the job done and keep moving forward.

I don't mind if it takes them 6 games to put away an opponent, as long as they didn't mail in an effort in 2 of those games. Because I've seen that over the past 2 playoff seasons from this team. If you can't get motivated to play whistle-to-whistle in a playoff game, it means your mind isn't quite right.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 9, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

"I also really question if Varly will ever be a solid #1 because he is too injury prone."

How many times has Neuvi been injured this season? Twice. Not to turn this into a Varly vs. Neuvi argument, but by that same logic Neuvi is injury prone and cannot be a #1 goalie in this league.

I don't see a problem with the two goalie system. If MAF could win a Cup I see no reason why Theo or Varly couldn't carry this team to a Cup. It's good to have both guys prepared in case of injury. Most teams don't have that luxury. Besides, defensive zone break downs and errant passes at the blue line are the Caps weaknesses, not the goalies.

Posted by: ablake70 | April 9, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse


I agree with that. I actually think that is much more important than chaning the system to be more defensive. The Caps actually play pretty good defensively when it's 5 on 5 and they're putting forth the effort.

The problem defensively has always seemed to be effort. But from reading what the players are saying they seemed to be more focused and now know that they can't let up thinking they will win. They are realizing you need to win the series as quickly as possible and not let a team get back in.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 9, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Theo should get the start with Varly standing by...

Posted by: didnik | April 9, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Note from the Caps:

Presidents' Trophy Ceremony
Get to tonight's game early to see the pre-game presentation of the Presidents' Trophy on the ice. The trophy will also be on display outside section 108 tonight and section 119 at Sunday's game. Bring your camera to take pictures of the Caps' first-ever Presidents' Trophy!

Posted by: Sonyask | April 9, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

GMGM is going to be on the jim rome radio show today (although it is hosted by someone else today)

Posted by: _stevo | April 9, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

This shouldnt even be a question. Theo should be the goalie. Varly has been very average, i'm not sure how that earns him a start? +1 vote for Theo.

Posted by: Grape8 | April 9, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

BB should play the one he thinks has the best chance to help win the game. It is BS that someone deserves anything, every game is a new game and BB should analyze the opposition, evaluate his goalies for that particular game and make his decision.
As the song goes: You can't please everybody so you must please yourself.
Whatever you decide, I am with you BB.

Posted by: nimes1 | April 9, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

"I also really question if Varly will ever be a solid #1 because he is too injury prone."

What is injury prone?
Have the "solid #1" goalies not ever been injured? I am not a stat person, but I would take the odds that most "solid" professional players have suffered some kind of injury during his/her career. If I am wrong, we better start looking for goalies, because Neuvi has had his share of injuries too.

Posted by: nimes1 | April 9, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

this is basically just like last year... Theo will probably start the playoffs but may not be between the pipes when the playoffs end.

Posted by: joek443 | April 9, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Jose has earned Game 1 of the 1st round. If he stinks it up? Then BB has a decision to make but right now Jose has earned the right to start.

Posted by: TrabZ | April 9, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

theo should be #1 throughout the playoffs, end of story......if varly were having the season theo did, BB would've already named him the starter....BB did Kolzing wrong a couple years ago, and he did Theo wrong last year

Posted by: vermontcaps | April 9, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I suspect we're putting a lot more energy into finding a controversy than it deserves. Thinking back to training camp -- Theo's comments on being named number one were that it was nice to have the confidence of the coaches, but he'd been in the business long enough to know that it doesn't mean anything unless you can back it up with your play.

Posted by: miseaujeu | April 9, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

@ vermontcaps

why do you take every decision that BB ever makes so personally anyway? what did he ever do to you?


Posted by: joek443 | April 9, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

I think Varly still has the chance to pull a 08-09 and usurp Theo in the playoffs. I also think if Varly didn't get injured or had more time post injury the discussion would be much less one sided. That being said I think he will be a great back up for JT60 who has definitely earned his right as starter.

Posted by: breaklance | April 9, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

It's Jose's time to shine. He will make the difference.

Posted by: sorry2say | April 9, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

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