Friday, April 22, 2011

Two Rookies, One Oppo"net"

Michal Neuvirth has had a pretty decent series against the Rangers so far, and no doubt it is triggering in the minds of Caps fans the question, "which goalie do the Caps hitch their wagon to for the future?"  Yeah, it's much too early in this series for reasonable people to be having such conversations, but this being Washington, a city that seems at times to have invented the term "controversy," you know it's on Caps fans' minds. 

But let's step back a moment and think about these two fine young goalies, Neuvirth and Semyon Varlamov.  Each has tremendous promise, albeit refelcted in very different goaltending styles.  And neither has an extensive body of work just yet.  But they do have a common opponent played in similar (which not to say the same) circumstances. 

Both Neuvirth, in this series, and Varlamov, two seasons ago, faced the New York Rangers in the opening round of the playoffs.  And it seems both have taken a liking to playing the Blueshirts in this format.  Overall, the records of Neuvirth and Varlamov against the Rangers in their respective rookie playoff appearances look like this:

They had similar success in terms of being almost impenerable in the friendly confines of Verizon Center:

But even at Madison Square Garden, neither could be said to be a sieve:

The point here is that before folks start clammoring for Neuvirth to be named the once and future successor to the domain of Kolzig, remember that another rookie goaltender had quite a series for the Caps against this same opponent just a short time ago.  We don't point this out to jinx Neuvirth, but merely to highlight once more that the Caps have an embarrassment of riches at the position, and have the luxury of watching these youngsters (along with Braden Holtby) fight it out to see just who inherits the crease.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Varly was very sharp in that series against the Rangers, but I will still give Neuvy the edge because the Rangers are better offensively now than they were two yrs ago. I know that is not saying much, but they have more skilled guys in now (Gaborik, Prospal, Anisimov) then before. Our D has also improved since then, which could make it a wash. In the long run though, Neuvy's superb rebound control could make a huge difference in later rounds (hopefully).