Last night, Michal Neuvirth reached another career milestone, his first NHL home opener. And what a game it was! Our baby Bear goalie is no longer, he is a sharp NHL goalie and I for one am damned proud of him.
After the game the night before, I think we all went into Verizon Center with very high hopes and very high expectations, and we were duly rewarded. But for me personally, I was most eager to see this:
And also get my first ever chance to watch another great goalie in action, (but sadly for him, it just wasn’t Mar-tay’s night; thank goodness):
You all should know by now, I am a fan of the man behind the mask, (yes, this applies to baseball catchers as well as hockey goalies). These are the guys who most often endure the entire game, getting 100 mph pucks bulleted at them, players crashing into them; often more than one at a time, taunts from the home crowd, and the agony of having a puck get past them and into the net. These are the players who have to shake off all of those things, keep their head together and in my book, they deserve one of the three stars of the game in any win.
I was extremely pleased to read Tracee Hamilton’s article in the Washington Post this morning about our Caps goalies. My favorite line from that article:
Neuvirth is a technician in goal and a mood ring would be wasted on him.
10/10/10 7pm- Update- This is in the works, faithful readers, in the works. Will post link asap.)
Looking back at last night’s game, truer words were never spoken. Neuvy was composed, sharp and totally focused. He showed a new maturity that went above what he had displayed in the past. Nothing seemed to rattle him, even the fact that he had two goals scored against him and had a loss the night before. Going into this 2nd game in just 24 hours, he proved to the team and the fans that he had what it takes to be in that net. In that span of 24 hours, Neuvy played 119 minutes and stopped 64 shots on goal. And even though he had 6 goals against him overall, you should be impressed with his .906 save percentage. Not so bad for the start of his NHL career.
Two other goalie notes here: Please don’t think I am anti-Varly, I’m not. Hopefully, Varly is back on the ice and gets into the game soon, maybe by Wednesday? Since I love the fact that the Caps are going with both of these young netminders this year, they will both have my support 100%. I would like to post a Team Varly article soon. Secondly, even though Dany Sabourin didn’t do anything more then keep the bench warm last night, I would like to commend him on his choice of goalie mask. Nice, clean, classic Caps Weagle on a white background. Loved it for its simplicity of design:
Game pics are now up on Flickr, see them here.