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Neuvirth wants Washington’s starting gig: “I will do whatever it takes to be the man”

May 24, 2012, 10:53 AM EDT

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 26: Michal Neuvirth #30 of the Washington Capitals warms-up before the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Verizon Center on September 26, 2011 in Washington, DC. Getty Images

Of all the questions facing the Washington Capitals this offseason, the goaltending position shouldn’t be one of them. Braden Holtby stepped in and played magnificently during the playoffs and, theoretically, should be the No. 1 heading into next season.

Just don’t tell Michal Neuvirth that.

The 24-year-old Czech told the Washington Times he’s not ready to relinquish the starting gig. It was his prior to getting hurt in early April and, according to Neuvirth, it can be his again.

“I know I can be the No. 1 in this league,” he said. “That’s my goal. I will do whatever it takes to be the man.”

After starring in both the OHL and AHL levels, Neuvirth has struggled to emerge as a bonafide NHL starter. His most complete season came while platooning with Holtby and Semyon Varlamov in 2010-11 (27-12-4, .914 save percentage, 2.45 GAA), a performance that had him pegged for the No. 1 gig this year.

But when Washington went out and signed Tomas Vokoun, that narrative was halted. Neuvirth appeared in 10 fewer games than the year prior and struggled through foot and hip injuries.

As such, next year promises to be a really interesting one in Washington’s goal. Neuvirth and Holtby will be gunning for the No. 1 spot, and they’ll also both be RFAs in 2013.

In essence, they could be battling not just for a position, but also their respective futures with the Capitals.

  1. ravenscaps48 - May 24, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Ha! Good Luck with that, Neuvy!

    • ravenscaps48 - May 24, 2012 at 11:18 AM

      And you can blame Marco Sturm for your exit plan

      • ravenscaps48 - May 24, 2012 at 5:33 PM

        Really? How can people give this a thumbs down? It was Marco Sturm who fell on Neuvirth’s leg and got Holtby into the Starting Gig

  2. dipthatchip - May 24, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    yeah…no offense Neuvy but you’re gonna have to pull a Tanya Harding on Braden in order to get the #1 gig.

  3. hiltonandastoria - May 24, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    Is this a joke?

    Ya I wanna play D and coach for the Wings
    Funny thing is my chances are not much worse than Michal’s

    I mean he’s saying the right thing, and good for him, but it won’t be in Washington

  4. rockthered1286 - May 24, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    Holtby will be the starter and I believe Neuvy should get traded while he still has some value (see Varly, 2011). He’s good just not great. Too many injuries, and seems to have a subpar glove between the pipes. Not to say he’s terrible, but Holtby is that much better AND younger. If they don’t start Holtby this year, you will see a ton of pissed Caps fans…

  5. bcjim - May 24, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    Neuvy, are you familiar with this classic? Possibly your only option here…

  6. wethog66 - May 24, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    Surprised to read some Caps fans with their negative comments towards Neuvy. Me personally, having Neuvy and Holtby battle it out for the starting gig is a good thing. Can’t imagine a true Caps fan wanting it any other way. Holtby played great in the playoffs, but he doesn’t have a very long track record at the NHL level. Having Neuvy around to push him is a positive situation, or at least it should be. 2 home grown Caps prospects battling it out to be the Caps goalie of the future.

    Its the way it should of been last offseason. Signing Vagkoun was a huge mistake.

  7. dsd3 - May 24, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    I think Holtby did an amazing job in his postseason run with the Caps. That said, he’s not necessarily prepared to step into a full-time starter role without some bumps in the road. As well as he played in the playoffs, there’s no guarantee he will come close to sustaining those kinds of numbers for an 82 game season and beyond. Not trying to knock him. I thought he was great.

    That said, it’s entirely possible Neuvirth could end up earning the starter job next year. Just depends what happens.

  8. ludacrish05 - May 24, 2012 at 10:42 PM

    Holtby deserves this, it sucks to be 2 young goalies competing for the no.1 spot but let’s get real. How many years are we going to continue doing this? Let’s have a no.1 already that’s here to stay. I’m with 100% and I’m ready to buy my jersey

  9. ludacrish05 - May 24, 2012 at 10:45 PM

    @rock… I would be one of those pissed off caps fans if they don’t put up Holtby lol

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