Mar 27, 2011, 12:14 PM EDT
When discussing the Washington Capitals’ young, inexpensive and promising trio of goalies, many might fixate on their lack of a clear No. 1. If you ask me, though, having not two but three possible starters is up there with choosing between Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie on the list of “good problems to have.”
(Especially if you ask the options-challenged Detroit Red Wings, who face the disturbing possibility of resting their playoff hopes on the shoulders of Joey MacDonald if Jimmy Howard and Chris Osgood cannot get healthy. Yikes. Hopefully Howard is only day-to-day as the Red Wings claim … )
For those impatient types who want an immediate idea of which goalie might be the starter – or at least which two are most likely – there might be a temporary answer. The team announced that they sent Braden Holtby to the minors today, even though he just earned a shutout in the team’s 2-0 win against the Montreal Canadiens.
Holtby currently sports the team’s best numbers, although it appears that smaller sample sizes benefited the numbers of Holtby and Semyon Varlamov against Michal Neuvirth. Here’s a quick rundown of the goalies’ stats, beginning with Neuvirth.
Neuvirth: 24-11-4 in 44 games played with 41 starts, 2.46 Goals Against Average, 91.5 save percentage and four shutouts.
Varlamov: 10-9-4 in 25 games played with 23 starts, 2.26 GAA, 92.3 save percentage and two shutouts.
Holtby: 10-2-2 in 14 games played with 12 starts, 1.79 GAA, 93.4 save percentage and two shutouts.
Anyway you slice it, all three goalies have been getting the job done for Washington. Neuvirth’s numbers aren’t as sexy, but both Varlamov and Holtby likely benefit from those aforementioned smaller sample sizes. Varlamov’s record is a bit mediocre, but his individual stats indicate that he plays well when healthy. Holtby’s numbers are off the charts in every area, creating a dilemma – albeit a tantalizingly promising one – for the Capitals.
Ultimately, the Caps are probably wise in going with Neuvirth and Varlamov for now. Varlamov has some playoff experience and came into the season as the top guy while Neuvirth has been a rock for them while Varly dealt with injury problems. If one or both of those two look shaky, the Capitals can easily call up Holtby and feel comfortable giving him a shot.
Sure, it makes things more complicated to have three choices versus one, but would you rather take the injury and inconsistency risks of relying on one guy or would you rather worry about making the right choice between two or three? Looking at recent trends, there are only a few “sure things” in net so if you ask me, having plenty of options is the best way to go.
It might cause coach Bruce Boudreau to reach for the antacids, but considering his love of ice cream and other treats, he’s probably not afraid of such a fate. In all seriousness, this might be the perfect challenge for Boudreau, who is doing an excellent job teaching this team to have a narrow mind for one thing: playoff success.
Even if it’s unclear which goalie they’ll try to ride to such success just yet.
Apr 2, 2015, 1:20 AM EDT
Big win for San Jose.
Apr 2, 2015, 1:04 AM EDT
Apr 2, 2015, 12:46 AM EDT
Easily handled the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday.
Apr 2, 2015, 12:16 AM EDT
Looked like a sure goal.
Apr 1, 2015, 11:45 PM EDT
That’s bad defending.
Apr 1, 2015, 11:20 PM EDT
Pittsburgh lost to Philadelphia on Wednesday.
Apr 1, 2015, 10:50 PM EDT
Started off well for Pittsburgh, but got worse from there.
Apr 1, 2015, 10:12 PM EDT
Both desperately need wins to stay alive in playoff race.
Apr 1, 2015, 9:54 PM EDT
Apr 1, 2015, 9:23 PM EDT
It’s been a while.
Apr 1, 2015, 8:48 PM EDT
He’s having a “down year,” apparently.
Apr 1, 2015, 8:18 PM EDT
Red Wings forward reflects on Tuesday’s scary skate cut incident.
Apr 1, 2015, 7:49 PM EDT
Just 12 forwards, and five defensemen.
Apr 1, 2015, 7:39 PM EDT
“It was vicious, and it deserves to be penalized.”
Apr 1, 2015, 7:15 PM EDT
Kings defenseman also suffered a ruptured Achilles.
Apr 1, 2015, 6:38 PM EDT
Catch the game on NBCSN, or with NBCSports.com’s Live Extra.
Apr 1, 2015, 6:13 PM EDT
He’ll play on a line with Carl Hagelin and Kevin Hayes.
Apr 1, 2015, 5:26 PM EDT
Has been playing in Finland this season.
Apr 1, 2015, 4:48 PM EDT
Click for all the odds.
Apr 1, 2015, 4:24 PM EDT
Certainly better than they were in February.
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