Change has come to D.C. …and I ain’t talkin’ about the Barack Obama kinda change here. Nope…I’m talkin’ about the change that’s been made over the course of the last week in Washington’s goal.
After the 4-3 opening game loss to the New York Rangers, Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau made a change ‘tween the pipes for game 2…turning to young Simeon Varlamov who had all of 6 regular season games and only 5 starts to his name. However, in those games he played well, compiling a record of 4-0-1 with a .918 SV% and 2.37 GAA.
Thrashers fans may remember this youngster…who was the 23rd overall pick in 2006 and turns 21 on Monday…from his outstanding game in Atlanta during the last week of the season. Washington won that game 4-2 behind Varlamov’s 29 saves on 31 shots performance.
Game two didn’t produce the outcome Boudreau had hoped for on the scoreboard, a 1-0 loss, but he saw enough from Varlamov to know he needed to stick with the young-un. Turns out to have been a good call.
In the third game of the series, played in Madison Square Garden, Varlamaov stopped all of the 33 shots he faced in Washington’s 4-0 shutout win. In game four he turned away all but two of the Rangers’ 21 attempts…but the Capitals fell 2-1 and sank into a three games to one deficit.
Young Varlamov had lost 2 of the 3 starts he had made in the playoffs going into Friday’s must-win game 5…but he had stopped 75 of the 78 shots he’d faced, (.962 SV%) and was sporting a 1.01 GAA in the post-season. The Caps weren’t facing a round-one upset because of him, that’s for sure.
However, thanks in great part to him, the Caps are still alive and heading back to Gotham for another must-win type of game. Varlamov turned aside 20 SOG in Washington’s 4-0 spanking of the Rangers. That’s right…the kid has two playoff shutouts in just four games and is sporting a nifty .969 SV%.
If Atlanta opens the season next fall against the Capitals…and if they do, it will be for the third straight year…we’ll see young Simeon Varlamov again ‘tween the pipes, just as we did the last time we faced the them. Because no matter what happens for the rest of the way against the Rangers…or later in the playoffs possibly…this kid has earned the job in D.C.
Holy %&#@!…Did You See That?
Speaking of Washington’s game-5 win Friday night…did you see the goal Alex Ovechkin scored just before the second intermission to make it 4-0 Caps at the break? “WOW” just doesn’t seem to pay it justice.
Ovie took the puck in center ice along the left boards…crosses the blueline…weaves between two defenders, passing the puck to himself between the legs of one Ranger…then beats Lundqvist with the backhand, while Aaron Voros is driving him to the ice while draped across his back.
What’s That You Say, Erik?
I missed this interview on XM the other day…but the Falconer is reporting that Erik Christensen made some sort of comment about how his poor showing in Thrasher-blue had to do mostly because of the ownership here. Reportedly, Christensen said that Atlanta was “a very difficult place to play due to the problems with ownership.”
Uh-huh…I guess that’s just a helluva lot more easy to say than, “I simply couldn’t find a way to take a nice pass and put it in the net on a regular basis”.
The Man With The Plan
TSN’s Scott Cullen has posted his off-season game plan for the Thrashers. Not surprisingly, job number one for Don Waddell is re-signing Kovy before the season starts.
Cullen writes, “General manager Don Waddell is also under pressure since he’s been presiding over this franchise since its inception and it would be a p.r. disaster to lose your franchise player because he’s not impressed with the supporting cast provided to him”.
Funny…I Don’t Feel Canadian
Hey, did you know that you just might be a Canadian citizen right now and not even know it? Yup…it’s true!
Now I’m Steamed!
It is with great sadness and a deep sense of regret that I have to report the loss of an Atlanta sports franchise. As I have learned recently from my good friend Mortimer Peacock of The Blueland Chronicle…the Atlanta Steam of the Lingerie Footbal League has shipped off to Charlotte, North Carolina…stripping from us their talent.
For those of you that chose to boycott the team in hopes that the Steam would get a new general manager…I hope you are all quite happy with yourselves!
Playoff Viewing At TJ’s
This past season, as you know, we held a few Thrashers Viewing Parties at TJ”s Bar & Grill and they were a big success. Mark and Tim are excellent hosts and ask me during the last one to make sure we return for the playoffs. Well, I spoke with Mark the other day and we are gonna shoot for next Sunday afternoon May 3rd. Don’t know who’ll be playing just yet as it’ll be the first weekend of the second round…but whoever it’ll be, I’m sure we’ll have a good time. It’ll be perfect if you’re suffering from any withdrawl symptoms since the season eneded!
As always, you can RSVP with Trixie if you plan on attending. Hope to see ya’ll there!