Monday, March 14, 2011

Go with Neuvirth as Tarik Says

I agree with everything Tarik El-Bashir says about committing to Michal Neuvirth now while the Caps have 12 games left in the regular season.  As Neuvy so often says, he's the type of goalie that plays better when he's in a groove and getting the majority of the starts.  So, please, play him.

Neuvirth has saved the Caps several times this season, particularly, when the rest of the team played awful.  Neuvy's record in 41 games is 22-10-4, a Caps rookie record, with a 2.47 GAA and .914 SV%.  His stats aren't going to wow anyone that watches the NHL this season, but his winning record has meant a lot of points for the Caps this season.  And, he'll continue to get better.

I'm not confident that Semyon Varlamov, the better goalie statistically & more acrobatic than Neuvirth, can stay healthy.  The acrobats may be exacerbating the groin injuries although he supposedly has something wrong with his knee now.  Varly's only played 24 games so far this year.  He also spent over two months in the minors last year recovering from an injury.  Yikes, the injury record is not encouraging and it started shortly before he left Russia.  He has the definite edge in NHL playoff experience since Neuvy has zero NHL playoff games to Varly's 19 NHL games over two seasons with a 10-9 record.

Neuvy, on the other hand, led the AHL Hershey Bears to two Calder Cup trophies.  Yes, I realize it's the minor league, but Neuvy played 22 playoff games in '08-'09 with a 16-6 record, .932 SV% and 1.92 GAA.  That 1.92 GAA is an AHL playoff record and certainly helped him win MVP honors that year.  In '09-'10, Neuvy played 18 games with a 14-4 record, .920 SV% and 2.07 GAA.

Finally, you've got the NHL number one star of the week, Braden Holtby, another rookie Caps net minder with a 8-2-2 record and a .931 SV% and an impressive 1.95 GAA.  He's going to be a very good  NHL net minder, especially, considering he's a fourth round draft pick, but I really don't want a goalie with 12 NHL games under his belt starting in the playoffs for the Caps this season.  I don't believe in playing the "hot hand" in this case as Coach Boudreau and others advocate because he's way too inexperienced.  It showed in his game yesterday against the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.  It'll show in the playoffs when the games are played at a whole new level of intensity.

Having goalie depth is a good problem to have, but I'm advocating for Michal Neuvirth.

Let's go Caps!

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At 4:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's Tarik, not Tarek.

At 4:26 PM, Blogger Caps Dreamer said...

Thanks for letting me know as I'm a lousy editor of my own work and it's been a while since I referenced Tarik.

At 8:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regardless of spelling, a good blog. Having 3 quality goalies to choose from doesn't happen often. I think Neuvy deserves to be top dog. He has carried this team this season withstanding a drought in offense and a new defensive system that finally seems to be working when it is consistently applied. Although he struggled a bit last night against the Flyers, his performance against NJ was extraordinary and, for the season, how many games has he saved for the Caps. He feels the pressure from Holtby and Varlamov in the background and it only makes him play with more determination. I totally agree that Varly's injury track record is more than alarming. Get rid of him now and give Holtby another year or so in Hershey and the Caps could have a tremendous 1-2 punch in net.

Let's go Caps


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