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Boudreau and his goalies

(By Toni L. Sandys - TWP)

Bruce Boudreau said several times last spring that he doesn't get into talking with his goalies, leaving that to his goaltending coach.

"The fact that he doesn't understand a word we're saying probably really helps him," Boudreau quipped at one point, when asked about starting Semyon Varlamov in Madison Square Garden. "I told Alex to tell him, so I don't know what he told him. I said just tell him he's playing. The only thing I could do is probably put pressure on him, if I go up and tell him we really need this one, win this one for the Gipper or something. So just tell him he's playing, and let him do his job."

And I wasn't the only one who conveyed such thoughts.

"Heck, he's hardly spoken to Varlamov, who has only become the key to the Capitals' playoff hopes," Dan Daly wrote late in the Rangers series. "The first few times he decided to start The Kid in goal, he had Ovechkin relay the message."

"If Varlamov is a mystery to the Rangers, who seem to have no clue to his tendencies or (since they presumably exist) his flaws, they shouldn't feel bad," Tom Boswell wrote at the same time. "He's a mystery to his own coach, Bruce Boudreau, who put this series on his shoulders, yet barely speaks to him. 'I don't want to get in his head,' Boudreau said. 'I don't want to talk to him and screw him up somehow.' "

With all the questions about Jose Theodore's recent play, Boudreau veered toward such talk again on Monday. This was his response to a question about goalie coach Arturs Irbe.

"I wouldn't know what a goalie feels like," Boudreau said. "All I want them to do is stop the puck. He can relate with them so much better than I can. It takes of effort in relating to them, and he puts a lot of effort into hanging out with them on the ice and being there for them when they need somebody to be there for them."

So this reminded me of all those "Boudreau not talking to Varly" stories from a year ago, and I asked if it wasn't odd for him hardly to communicate with such important pieces of his team.

"I just say that for you guys," Boudreau said, as everyone laughed at me. "I talk to [Varlamov] all the time. Gee. You think I'm actually gonna go three weeks without talking with somebody?"

So...I dunno. I guess forget all that stuff we wrote last Spring.

As for who the goalie will be for Boudreau to possibly or possibly not ignore in a few weeks, someone asked if Jose Theodore was taking the decision out of his hands.

"No, I'm still making the decisions," Boudreau said, drawing more laughs. "No, he's playing really well, and if you looked at it right now, the experience and everything -- taking nothing away from Varly -- you can see the character in him, that he wants to be the guy. And there's 10 games to go, and then the playoffs start, and we haven't made any decisions on anything yet, but he's certainly making a good case for himself."

Corey Masisak asked whether Boudreau has more confidence in Theodore for this year's playoff run than he did a year ago.

"Well, I don't now, that's three weeks from now," the coach said. "I'll tell you three weeks from now how much confidence I have in anybody."

By Dan Steinberg  |  March 22, 2010; 4:51 PM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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Boudreau is playing possum.

There is NO doubt that barring injury, Theodore is going to be the team's playoff goaltender.

Varlamov has looked rusty and slow in his starts after the Olympics. Even in the wins he has given up questionable goals that he didn't seem to back before his December injury.

Given what happened to Theodore in the offseason with his family, I think he has put a chip on his own shoulder that has raised his level of play to where it was when he was in Montreal.

Posted by: leopard09 | March 22, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

I don't care who plays as long as they stop the puck! Although, I guess I am rooting for Theo considering what he's had to go through over the past year.

Posted by: DisgustedinArlington | March 22, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

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