Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Two Goaltender Rotation

The Capitals had the luxury (and the unfortunate circumstance) of having a number one goaltender going on close to a decade. It was always Olaf Kolzig's net. Except for the occasional injury or a day or two of rest (especially later in his career), Caps fans could depend Kolzig would be in net no matter the foe.

Now that has changed. Since the trade for Cristobal Huet last season, that net has belong to someone other than a jersey with the number 37 on the back. It was Huet that helped the Capitals to a playoff berth since a 5 year drought, not Kolzig. While many teams through out the league don't really see this as a big deal, but for a team to always have that kind of goaltender stability is rare. Just ask New Jersey, whose fans may wither and die the day they trade or let go of Martin Brodeur (except for the fact that Brodeur has won several champoinships).

But now the Capitals have a rare competition for number one. While Jose Theodore may have the upper hand due to his play of late and his history, don't count out Brent Johnson who seems ready to stand on his own two feet between the pipes. This could be a true two goaltender rotation if Brude Boudreau wishes it. It's obvious too that Boudreau will always go with the hot hand, no matter of contract status.

Both goaltenders have something to prove as well. Johnson is in his last year of his contract, it would be smart to make an effort to earn the number one spot after spending a couple of years as full time back up. Theodore will want to impress and prove he is back in tip top shape. It should bring the competition to a healthy level for the Caps who want to taste the post season in April again.

Don't forget that the Caps have a couple of good prospects starting to fill the development pipeline as well. Simeon Varlamov has to potential to compete for work in next couple of years. And goaltenders Daren Machensey and Micheal Neuvirth are not far behind. That depth will keep goalies sharp for the upcoming season. And it will give the Caps a chance to see some different looks to the team through out the year. Someone other than Godzilla.


Anonymous said...

Psssst... Daren Machesney. Or just Cheezer.

Garrett said...

I knew I was going to get either his or Neuvirth's name screwed up. That is what happens when you rush, thanks for the heads up.

Anonymous said...

Johnny has had plenty of chances to take the goal away from Kolzig the same way Kolzig got it, by winning games. As you said BB is not reticent to go with the hot hand and if Johnny had ripped off a couple of shutouts and a big win or two, he would have been in the net. You think he was just waiting for JT to get here? Why wait?

Garrett said...

I think if Johnny hadn't busted his knee in Pittsburgh, we may have seen more of him through out the year. But I wouldn't be surprised that Kolzig and Gabby didn't have the "I am entitled" talk.