Thursday, April 02, 2009

Quietly, Theodore Hits 30 Wins

A 100+ point season for a forward, 30 goals for a defenseman. It's pretty impressive, but another number jumps out: 30 wins. Jose Theodore has quietly been the hard working, go-to goalie for the Capitals while the attention has been focused on Alex Ovechkin's highlight reel goals and Mike Green shattering the record books.

While it's a few games shorter than the league leading 43 wins, or his save percentage is a few spots shy of the league average, Theodore has been coming up with game saving stops at the right times for the Caps. The injury to Brent Johnson gave more than enough starts for Theo and while he has only two shutouts, his goaltending has been solid enough for the Caps.

It's not easy being a goaltender for the Washington Capitals. With their high powered offense and improvised 4 on 1's can turn into a lot of odd man rushes the other way. It is a Caps' system that gave Olie Kolzig fits, where Christobal Huet thrived and Theodore has learned to cope with.

Theodore is tracking the puck better, reading the play faster. He is also getting some help from his defenders as they try to keep a majority of shots against him to the outside. It was a shaky start for JT60, as he didn't seem to fit in as well as Huet. But that has changed as communication between defenders and Theo has improved.

The Caps have brought up some pretty good talent in the farm system like Simeon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth, but Bruce Boudreau always went back to reliable Jose Theodore. Johnson's injury played a big part of that, but it has also been Theodore's play and his athletic saves have at the very least kept the Capitals in it.

Caps Notes:
  • The Capitals took an optional practice today. They play a game every other day for the remainder of the season which should be good conditioning for the playoffs. Rest should be top priority for some of these days off.
  • The Caps signed prospect Joe Finley to a entry level contract. A few days ago they also signed Stephan Della Rovere.
  • There is some talk of bringing 19 year-old Braden Holtby to the Hershey Bears with Neuvirth out with an injury. Holtby's season ended with a 4-3 loss to Lethbridge in Game 7 in the final.

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