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Caps goalie Neuvirth on handling criticism: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”

Mar 2, 2012, 11:21 AM EDT

Michal Neuvirth AP

It wasn’t long ago when Michal Neuvirth was mired Dale Hunter’s doghouse.

On Feb. 13, Hunter benched Neuvirth for an important game against San Jose in favor of Braden Holtby — who hadn’t played a game this season. When asked why, Hunter alluded to Neuvirth’s spotty play and said that if the 23-year-old “was standing on his head,” maybe the decision would’ve been different.

Say what you will about Hunter’s methods, but they worked.

Neuvirth has been on fire since the Sharks game — especially during Washington’s current three-game winning streak. He’s allowed just eight goals on 132 shots (.939 save percentage, 1.83 (GAA), a big reason why the Caps have stayed afloat in the Eastern Conference playoff chase.

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” Neuvirth told the Washington Post. “Obviously there are some ups and downs, but I always bounce back. The last three games I’ve been feeling pretty good. I had a good practice today and I’m excited about [Friday].”

Friday, of course, is another huge game for the Caps — though they all are at this stage. It’s a home date against the New Jersey Devils, who sit seventh in the Eastern Conference, and Wshington knows with their two chief Southeast Division rivals having the night off (Florida and Winnipeg), this is a huge chance to make up points.

That said, Caps goalie coach Dave Prior warns Neuvirth against putting too much emphasis on a single game.

“For him it’s a bigger adjustment to not put so much emphasis on one game when you do get to play, because it’s just got to be another game,”Dave Prior said. “But for you, it might mean whether you get to play again in the next month. He’s learning to deal with that more.”

Neuvirth’s teammates are doing all they can to help in his mental approach. Caps blueliner Karl Alzner has been especially supportive — he and Neuvirth go way back to their AHL Hershey days.

“He’s got this personality where he can just brush off anything, a bad game, bad goal, criticism, he seems to be able to forget about it,” Alzner said. “He doesn’t come into the dressing room throwing stuff or yelling and screaming, no matter what happens.

“It’s just not his personality. He’s calm.”

  1. bmoreredfury311 - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    All the players and couches time and time again have said they realize what this game means and blah blah blah, no more words need to be said, only ACTIONS need to be shown..Caps need to come out fast and furious like the Jets did against Fla..Neuvey keep being strong between the pipes,lets get two. C-A-P-S CAPS CAP CAPS!!!

  2. dipthatchip - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    I know it was a far fetched notion, but I was hoping that Vokoun would have been sent packing at the deadline. The Leafs sure could’ve use him…

    Hershy Holtby/Neuvrith tandem ftw.

  3. rsl22 - Mar 2, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    It’s nice that the Neuvy is playing well, but let’s not also forget that the Caps have scored goals in the last three games.

    2.66 goals scored over the course of the season prior to the three-game win streak. 3.66 goals scored during the win streak.

    Breaking news: Caps score goals and win games!

    • bmoreredfury311 - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:13 PM

      Very true..The first tally is the biggest goal, set the tempo from there, and keep putting them in the net..I’d like to see the stats on them winning games, when they actually score on the PP

      • rsl22 - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:30 PM

        Good question. I don’t know how to figure out win % when scoring on PP without going through all the box scores, but you’re right about getting a lead.

        Caps are 16-1-1 when leading after 1st period (2nd in league), and 19-0-0 when leading after 2nd (1st in league).

        Hopefully Caps can score early on Hedberg tonight.

      • bmoreredfury311 - Mar 2, 2012 at 3:26 PM

        Thanks for the numbers and insight but I’m not a big fan of stats. That’s because every time Joe Beninati and Craig Laughlin state them, it seems to jinks them…
        Yea i saw that Hedberg is getting the nod tonight, don’t really know how to feel bout that one. I think he was in the net last year when the Dev’s spanked the Cap’s 5-0 but we’ll see.

    • govtminion - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:26 PM

      You’re saying the team that scores the most goals… wins the game?

      Where has that advice been for the Caps the past year or so?!?!?!? ;)

  4. michiganhockey11 - Mar 2, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger-

    Stange he is paraphrasing Nietzsche, who said the quote, but yet also went crazy and died from a stroke and complications of pneumonia and syphilis….

    • rsl22 - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:22 PM

      Syphilis was a common diagnosis at the time, but the time wasn’t exactly the forefront of understanding of complex diseases. It’s been thought he had a heredity degenerative disease that lead to his dementia and strokes.

      In which case it could be said he struggled against a disease that may have actually created some strength in him.

      But obviously, who cares?

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