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Jose Theodore's Game 2 benching

The Caps were down a game in this series, and down 2-0 in Game 2 after Jose Theodore yielded two first-period goals on two first-period shots Saturday night. Neither involved traffic, or bad bounces, or an other excuse to bail Theo out. The smell of panic was in the air, and it smelled like rotten poutine. Thus, Jose Theodore was immediately beckoned to the bench, where he went, unhappily, and Semyon Varlamov skated onto the ice.

Theodore slapped catching gloves with Varlamov to wish him good luck, but the veteran was obviously peeved. And while you won't find many fans who would complain about the move -- everything was cold, clammy and morgue-like at the time -- you couldn't help but flash back to Bruce Boudreau's press gathering on Tuesday morning.

The first question Boudreau faced was about Tomas Plekanec's assertion that at least the Canadiens weren't facing a Ryan Miller or Martin Brodeur. Boudreau used this as occasion to announce his postseason starter, and to strongly back Theodore.

"They're not [facing Miller or Brodeur]," Boudreau agreed. "They're facing Jose. And I'll take Jose's record the last 23 games over those two guys. It's no secret. The reason quite frankly that I wasn't saying anything [about a starter] was just to keep everybody on their toes, but I told Jose last week, and he knew he was gonna be the starter, and he earned it.

"And it's quite a different situation than it was from this year to last year. I mean, he's been our guy. I mean, his last loss was was early January. Obviously he could lose again, but what people don't realize last year is his 10 previous games before going into the playoffs weren't anywhere near what his 10 previous games are here, so there is no short leash. He's the guy we're gonna go with, and see how he goes."

Well, he went a bit more than four periods. Last postseason, Theodore was yanked after 58:58 of ice time. This year, he lasted 81:08 before being benched.

By Dan Steinberg  |  April 17, 2010; 8:40 PM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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Next: Tom Poti fights Scott Gomez: the video


Dan - He may be back. Jose may very well be the starter for game 3. A lot will depend on the results of Game 2 and how Varly plays. This is a different situation than last year.

Posted by: DisgustedinArlington | April 17, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

It was a move that had to be made. If Varly had started and given up 2 goals on 2 shots, he'd have been yanked too.

Also, that's poutine reference #3 this week. The series moves to Montreal, so Dan you're well on pace to go over of my 4.5 poutine reference prediction.

Posted by: ThisGuy | April 17, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

yeah, the move had to be made. you have a problem with it theo? stop the shots.

i think you have to go with varly-claus in game 3 now too

Posted by: CF11555 | April 17, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Theodore will start again in this series. He'll want to redeem himself even more in Montreal. And it wasn't as if Varly was Patrick Roy in net tonight.

Posted by: Route1 | April 18, 2010 1:30 AM | Report abuse

If there was panic -- it should have been because the D wasn't showing up, more than on Theo. The first shot was a knuckleball, and the second was the same shot that won Game 1 for MTL in OT. Varly didn't exactly put on a goal tending clinic, so Theo deserves another shot.

Posted by: miseaujeu | April 18, 2010 8:00 AM | Report abuse

I totally feel for Jose, but it's what had to be done. New fans might think those goals were his fault, but neither was. In both cases there were huge defensive mistakes.

Goal 1: Carlson (whom I think is going to be Awesome) pinched in the neutral zone AND left his side of the ice to do so. This created about 40 feet of open space for TWO Canadians to use. Also, the shot was a knuckle ball and dipped about 8 inches while going about 20 mph slower than a normal shot. Goalies don't see that may shots going less than 60 mph and even fewer that go that slow but also wobble and dip mid-flight to the net. You damn sure don't expect it in the first minute of a game.

Goal 2: Both Defenders skated AWAY from Plekanec because it was a 4 on 2. The only way that situation can occur is if offensive players are not being smart in the neutral zone AND if the defense then tries to force a play with a reckless pass, instead of skating back and regrouping. Anyway, in a typical odd man rush defenders are supposed to take away the passes. The problem is that by skating away from the center it gave Plekanec a lane you could fit the Zamboni (okay, Olympia Rider happy?) in, from only about 15 feet out. Basically it was a penalty shot in terms of time and space, and in that situation things favor the shooter-heavily.

But you still can't leave a goalie in under those circumstances. Confidence is a huge part of big games for goalies, and you can't be confident if 2 shots result in 2 goals. So the change had to be made.

Hopefully, Jose gets the next game in Montreal. I would understand Gabby going either way on it, but given the year Theo has had off the ice, the number of games he stole for the Caps during the streak, and how well he played in Game 1, I think the Caps (and us fans) owe #60 a chance to stick it to his old team in their barn.

Posted by: Kdarienzo | April 18, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Jose played very well in game one but had little offensive (or defensive) help to propel the Caps to victory. His poor start to Game 2 required that he be pulled but I fully expect him to start in Montreal on Monday night. If he plays to his full ability AND the top line shows up, the Caps will be in an excellent position to take this series. I thought Varly played well last night and that the goals that he yielded were more the result of defensive breakdowns (Green was a liability last night) than poor goaltending.

Go Caps.

Posted by: phknlwyr | April 18, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Last night was Theo's last game as a Cap.

Posted by: rj2357 | April 18, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

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