Today the Caps signed veteran goalie Tomas Vokoun to a one-year contract. Now, you knew something like this was gonna happen, didn’t you? Here’s my take on this whole goalie “situation”.
1. Varly traded to Colorado for a 1st and 2nd round draft pick. Aw, dear Cleek on Me. What an athletic goaltender. He was great for us when the chips were down in 2010. But, if you believe the press conference reports, Varly asked for more money and a guarantee of the #1 position. Sounds kinda Diva-ish, doesn’t it? Guess he trusted his agent when it came to negotiations, right? I will say one thing in Varly’s defense: as much as I like Neuvy, I think if BB had put Varly in for one game of the second round of the playoffs, something might have shaken loose and we “might” not have been swept. Now, hear me out, I am not blaming Neuvy for the 2nd round sweep. Not by a long shot. All I’m saying is I think if Boudreau HAD put Varly in for just one game, it might have changed the course just enough to keep us in the series longer. He was ready and it might have made a difference. But, that being said, I would like to quote the all-knowing Justin Goldman from the The Goalie Guild:
“Although Varlamov has terrific talent and awesome potential, he is still a raw-skilled goalie that has to prove he can stay healthy and perform at a consistent and competitive level on a nightly basis. Without a full-time goalie coach in Colorado, Varlamov’s mental toughness and focus will be tested right away.”
“Now he has to prove he can play 55-60 without getting hurt, and with no luxury of struggling for more than a few games.”
2. Holtby as backup for 2011-2012? I love Holtby; I think he is an awesome goalie. I also think he needs just one more year in the AHL for a touch more maturity. I am not blaming the Hershey Bears not winning the Calder Cup on Holtby, far from it. But the NHL is not the AHL, and while Holts impressed us the games he did play, let’s consider what he might have done if he had to play longer. Possible break down after 10+ more games? Possible loss of concentration when it was needed most? Who knows? Well, Holtby certainly had the hot hand then, but maybe Irbe knew. He was kinda intuitive that way. Think he had something to say about it? Yeah, I do. But now that Olie Kolzig will be working with him up in Hershey (for the most part), I really think 2012-2013 will be a great season in the NHL for Holtby. Looking forward to that!
3. Signing Tomas Vokoun to a one year contract. Ok, so now we have signed a veteran goalie for one year. The same one year we need for Holts to mature. The same year we need somebody to backup (?) Neuvy now that Varly is gone. Ok, I know Vokoun is 35 and has played 13 seasons, but we how does a veteran hurt right now? Think about it…let’s say we get to the playoffs again in 2012, and Neuvy needs help, gets hurt, or heaven forbid, needs to be relieved in a playoff game. Wouldn’t you feel just a tad more confident with a veteran backing him up? (Now I am assuming Vokoun is gonna be the backup, and you know what they say when you assume…) Besides that, think about having 2 Czech goalies on the roster. I’ve always said Neuvy is “money like a Czechbook”, and now he has a countryman to mentor him and help him mature. Being the goalie fan girl that I am, the more I think about this, the more I’m kinda digging it. The personal dynamics of this could be awesome.
(Picture to follow *as soon as I can get to Kettler or Verizon Center and capture Vokoun in a Caps jersey!)
4. Neuvy. Ah, Neuvy. As it stands right now, I consider you the future of the Caps goaltending. Such a cool head in net for one so young. Just thinking about where he could be in few years in regards to his ability is mind boggling. Is he the next Olaf Kolzig for the Caps? Could be! Especially with the possible opportunity to have some mentoring from Olie, I think we should try to be happy with Neuvy and give this whole situation a chance to play out.
So, because I really have no say in the matter, I’m going to have to put my faith in Dave Prior when it comes to the goalies. Fingers crossed this whole thing makes for a total winning season for the Caps. But I will never forget this: