The Washington Capitals plan to open the season with two young netminders in Semyon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth is one that’s getting plenty of attention around the league. Many feel that the Caps opting to go with young guys from within the organization on a team that’s seemingly very close to winning a Stanley Cup is a risky proposition. Others applaud the Caps for going with home grown talent.
Injuries can throw a wrench in the works and with Semyon Varlamov starting the season on injured reserve with a groin issue, it’s up to two-time Calder Cup winner Neuvirth to hold down the fort in the meantime and he could be seeing a lot of work early as Caps Insider’s Katie Carrera shares.
Since the start of training camp Boudreau has said he hopes to play both Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth regularly and give each ample time to prove themselves this season. But because of Varlamov’s injury Neuvirth will be the go-to netminder, for opening weekend at least.
Neuvirth will start against Atlanta Friday and Boudreau wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Neuvirth playing in each of these first three games in four days.
“I’ve done it a lot in my career,” Neuvirth said about the chance he might play in several games in a short period of time. “But I’m just focusing on tomorrow night. I want to be sharp tomorrow and that’s what I’m thinking right now is getting ready for Friday. I’m pretty excited. I can’t wait for the game and I’m going to get a little nervous before the game, but I think I can handle the pressure.”
It’s not an ideal situation for the Capitals and if things get especially scary, Braden Holtby is waiting in the wings to be an even younger home grown goalie for the potential Stanley Cup team. For Neuvirth, however, he was able to do a lot of heavy lifting for the Hershey Bears in the AHL leading the team to the Calder Cup the last two seasons.
Coming up to the Capitals was an eventuality for Neuvirth, but being the opening night starter has to be something even he didn’t envision. After all, with the amount of pressure on the Caps to go far in the playoffs, being the starting goalie for the team is no easy task even on opening night.
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