After a sloppy win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday, many probably wagered against Tomas Vokoun playing tonight. His chances of becoming the Washington Capitals’ starter for Thursday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins increased substantially once word surfaced that Michal Neuvirth is dealing with a lower body injury, though.
Chase Hughes of CSNWashington reports that Braden Holtby (pictured) has been recalled to suit up as one of the Caps’ two goalies tonight. One would assume that this situation opens the door for Vokoun to “redeem” himself against the Penguins, but you never know with head coach Bruce Boudreau.
Holtby played so well in limited work last season that people made some rather bold claims that Semyon Varlamov became the third best goalie on the Capitals. That was a bit hasty, but the young goalie certainly made the most of his opportunities in 2010-11.
The odds are still on Vokoun starting against the 3-0-1 Penguins, but we’ll keep an eye out for reports to the contrary. Either way, it looks like the Capitals’ goalie depth will be challenged for a second straight season.
It’s not safe to assume that opening night starter = number one goalie. That being said, it’s often a statement from teams, whether Bruce Boudreau admits it or not.
If you subscribe to that way of thinking, then you probably will believe that Devan Dubnyk is the Edmonton Oilers’ top option in net. Typical NHL practice procedures lead many to believe that Dubnyk will start in the Oilers’ season opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight.
The Oilers are making a sensible move with Dubnyk, even if they probably will stare sadly at the paychecks they’re going to hand Nikolai Khabibulin for the next two seasons. The Bulin Wall is quite broken down and obviously faced some embarrassing legal issues, but he owns a 35+ contract so the Oilers can’t just bury his cap hit in minor league shame.
Chances are high that the “lucky winner” of the starting job won’t look very glamorous in Edmonton. Their defense’s sad state is reflected in just how much they miss Ryan Whitney, a blueliner whose shortcomings in his own end take away from his point producing abilities.
If Dubnyk can manage to keep the dangerous Penguins from completing a sweep of Western Canada, the Oilers will feel great about this choice – and maybe even a lot of confidence for the future.
Here’s a dispatch from the Department of Expected Overreactions (OK, it’s actually from CSNWashington.com’s Chuck Gormley): the Washington Capitals will start Michal Neuvirth instead of Tomas Vokoun during their first game of the season against the Carolina Hurricanes on Oct 8.
Considering the very reasonable Vezina Trophy hype for Vokoun, this news might startle many people. Let’s calm that down right now with the same banter you should use after every season-opener: it’s just one game. My expectation is that Vokoun will make 55+ starts in 2011-12 and be an excellent contributor, while Neuvirth should get a healthy number of relief opportunities.
The word is that Neuvirth had a really good training camp and will get a reward for his hard work. Head coach Bruce Boudreau is justified in giving his former starter a nice treat since Neuvirth might not be extremely happy about getting usurped. Boudreau was coy about his decision, though.
Feel free to over-analyze that statement if you’d like, but again, I would expect Vokoun to be the number one goalie in Washington. Perhaps this indicates that it will be more of a “timeshare” situation than some expected, but it’s better to have two strong options in net than none.