With Semyon Varlamov on IR, Michal Neuvirth gets the call to start for Washington

GYI0061847291-neuvirth-gregfiume-getty.jpgThe 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.

(Photo: Greg Fiume – Getty Images)

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    Max Talbot signs in KHL

    Calgary Flames v Boston Bruins
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    Earlier this week, we passed along word that veteran NHLer Max Talbot was contemplating a move to Europe.

    On Friday, that move was made official.

    KHL club Lokomotiv Yaroslavl announced that Talbot has agreed to a one-year contract. The deal comes after the 32-year-old split last season between Boston and its AHL affiliate in Providence, scoring seven points in 38 games at the NHL level.

    Over the course of his 10-year NHL career, Talbot appeared in over 700 games and established himself as a gritty, hardworking forward with decent touch around the net.

    He scored double-digit goals four times — including a career-high 19 in ’11-12 — and will always be remembered in Pittsburgh for scoring both goals in a 2-1 Game 7 win over Detroit at the 2009 Stanley Cup Final.

     

     

    Jets assistant Vincent named AHL Manitoba head coach

    DENVER, CO - APRIL 09:  (L-R) Assistant coach Pascal Vincent, head coach Paul Maurice and assistant coach Charlie Huddy and the Winnipeg Jets look from the bench against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on April 9, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. The Avalanche defeated the Jets 1-0 in an overtime shootout.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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    Winnipeg didn’t have to look far to find Keith McCambridge’s replacement for its AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

    Pascal Vincent, who’s served as an assistant coach with the Jets for the last five years, will become the eighth head coach in Moose history, the club announced on Friday.

    Vincent, 44, was one of the original hires when the franchise moved to Winnipeg from Atlanta in 2011. He’s worked under two different head coaches — Claude Noel and Paul Maurice — and is held in high regard by the organization.

    That said, he did face some critiques this year. Jets fans were displeased with the Vincent-led power play, which posted a league-worst 14.8 percent success rate, tying Ottawa for the fewest power play goals in the NHL (38).

    With today’s reshuffling, there appears to be a spot now open on Maurice’s staff. The Winnipeg Sun reports that Jeff Daniels — former head coach of the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers — could be one to keep an eye on.

    Daniels played for Maurice in Carolina, and the pair went to the Stanley Cup Final together in 2002.

    Sweden gets Pittsburgh flair as Hagelin, Hornqvist make World Cup roster

    PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 22:  Patric Hornqvist #72 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates with Sidney Crosby #87 and Carl Hagelin #62 after scoring a goal on Andrei Vasilevskiy #88 of the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on May 22, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Matt Kincaid/Getty Images)
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    Pretty good 24 hours for Carl Hagelin and Patric Hornqvist.

    Last night, the pair helped Pittsburgh advance to its first Stanley Cup Final in seven years.

    This morning, both made Team Sweden’s roster for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

    Hagelin and Hornqvist joined Buffalo’s Robin Lehner, Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm, Chicago’s Marcus Kruger, Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg and Colorado’s Carl Soderberg as the final seven players named to the Swedish roster on Friday.

    The updated 23-man list, in full:

    G Robin Lehner, Buffalo Sabres *
    G Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
    G Jacob Markstrom, Vancouver Canucks

    D Mattias Ekholm, Nashville Predators *
    D Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Arizona Coyotes
    D Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning
    D Niklas Hjalmarsson, Chicago Blackhawks
    D Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators
    D Niklas Kronwall, Detroit Red Wings
    D Anton Stralman, Tampa Bay Lightning

    F Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals
    F Loui Eriksson, Boston Bruins
    F Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators
    F Carl Hagelin, Pittsburgh Penguins *
    F Patric Hornqvist, Pittsburgh Penguins *
    F Marcus Kruger, Chicago Blackhawks *
    F Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche
    F Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
    F Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
    F Jakob Silfverberg, Anaheim Ducks *
    F Carl Soderberg, Colorado Avalanche *
    F Alexander Steen, St. Louis Blues
    F Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings

    * named to roster today

    As far as “snubs” go, the biggest is probably Dallas blueliner John Klingberg. Klingberg, second only to Karlsson among Swedish d-men scorers this year, was passed over in favor of Ekholm.

    Other notable omissions include Ottawa’s Mika Zibanejad, Detroit’s Gustav Nyquist, Washington’s Marcus Johansson, Carolina’s Victor Rask, Anaheim’s Rickard Rakell and Hampus Lindholm, Vancouver’s Alex Edler and Winnipeg’s Tobias Enstrom.

    In goal, Lehner beat out a host of competitors for the No. 3 gig behind Lundqvist and Markstrom. Jonas Gustavsson, Anders Nilsson, Jhonas Enroth and Eddie Lack — who used to play with Markstrom in Vancouver — were likely challengers for the spot.

    PHT Morning Skate: What superstition? Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz grab the Prince of Wales Trophy

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    PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

    Sidney Crosby decided to buck the trend and touch the Prince of Wales Trophy. (Top)

    –Former NHLers look back at their Game 7 battles. (Sports Illustrated)

    –A Q&A with the newest Panther Jared McCann. (NHL)

    –Watch the highlights from last night’s game between the Penguins and Lightning:

    Joe Pavelski went from not being able to skate and not being big enough to becoming a Conn Smythe Trophy favorite. (TSN)

    Bryan Rust accomplished something pretty rare this postseason:

    –Some teams still need to sign some of their prospects or risk losing them.